Gretna Middle School students performed their eighth grade musical Oct. 15.

The presentation of “Once on This Island, Jr.” was directed by Kyle Avery and Kate Widhalm with Suzanne Cooley as accompanist and Neil Gilsdorf running sound.

Originally based on a mid 90s novel, the one-act musical centers on Ti Moune, a peasant girl on a tropical island who uses the power of love to bring together people from different social classes.

Put on each year through participation in an elective class open to eighth graders, students began working on the show on the first day of school. The class met daily to learn songs, lines, choreography and blocking. A few after school rehearsals were followed by a dress rehearsal for fellow students Oct. 14.

“The kids did a phenomenal job! This is not necessarily a well known musical such as ‘The Music Man’ or ‘The Sound of Music’ but it has some amazing songs and it is a wonderful story,” Widhalm said. “Even though the students were not familiar with this show, they worked very hard from the beginning to get the whole show learned in a relatively short amount of time.”

Avery and Widhalm offered thanks to school staff, students, parents families and friends for the help and support that make these shows possible.

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