Darkness engulfs the whole space. The anticipation is palpable in the air as the lights dance toward the centre of the stage. A single tune plays that sets off roars of excitement, weeping children and rainbows of colour. The curtains draw open, and the show begins — lights, camera, applause!
Waves and waves of youthful energy sweep over the audience as the toddler-dominated cast from Three H Preschool performs in A Whole New World: The Musical at the Yukon Arts Centre on Aug. 2.
In a world where musicals have long been a realm of seasoned performers and voices, this troupe of budding talents decided to turn the spotlight on themselves, showcasing that age is not a hindrance to a striking (and ridiculously cute) performance.
Combining fan-favourite movies like The Little Mermaid, Moana, The Lion King, Frozen, and Aladdin — this entertaining musical medley showed youngsters dressed in costumes for every sort of animal or inanimate object you can think of.
From playground to centre stage: Mini Stars are born
“We wanted to stage [the production] as a whole new world — a space for the kids to manifest their talents,” said Dominic Pelayo, head stage director, in an Aug. 5 interview.
Pelayo said that the main drive for the entire ensemble is a trinity of things: a culminating activity for the children as they transition to kindergarten, a celebration of preschool founder Ma. Vida Pelayo-Guiao’s birthday, and a thanksgiving to God.
Behind the scenes: Uniting parents, teachers and directors
Working with young talents is not the easiest job in the world, but the parents are another layer to all of this. According to Pelayo, the idea of a musical was initially met with doubt.
“The parents were all asking the same question at first, ‘Can my kid do this?’ It was a teaching moment for all of us.”
Pelayo and his herd of dedicated teaching staff were able to convince the parents that there was nothing to worry about. With everyone onboard, the wheels quickly turned in favour of the kids to do what they do best: have fun.
A message for all ages: Believe, achieve, succeed
Beyond the dazzling lights, adorable costumes and iconic tunes, Pelayo believes that A Whole New World: The Musical conveys a powerful message for young and old audiences alike.
“Whatever we do, no matter how old we are, we must do with excellence. Our performance is a reminder that age is [never a hindrance] to achieve great things. Childlike wonder can take you to places you once dreamed of.”
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