'Tell Me Why, Tell Me How' to be staged

Sarah Noble Intermediate School in New Milford will present an original musical theater production, "Tell Me Why, Tell Me How," April 27.

The production will be staged at 7 p.m. at the Sunny Valley Road school.

The play, written by a group of student writers with the help of sixth-grade language arts teacher Samantha Gati, is based on six "pour quoi" tales, folktales that explain why animals look and act the way they do.

The stories consist of two of the famous "Just So Stories," written by Rudyard Kipling, two African tales and two Native American tales.

This play is part of an extensive after-school arts enrichment program directed by Susan Hackel, reading specialist at SNIS, with the assistance of Christy Keefe, a reading tutor.

In addition to the playwriting program, about 30 students participated in an after-school songwriting workshop this past fall, when they created original lyrics and melodies for the play.

With the help of Tom Neilson, an award-winning folk singer and songwriter from Massachusetts, students wrote seven original songs, each highlighting an important lesson from each of the six stories.

Another component of the after-school arts enrichment program is the use of technology to enhance the scenery.

Carol Allison, a sixth-grade science and reading teacher at SNIS, is working with students to create digital background scenes for the play.

Ms. Hackel selected "partner classes" to be involved during in-school hours, with the goal of extending the theme of the after-school program into regular classrooms.

Several fourth-grade classes are writing their own "pour quoi" stories to be displayed before the production dates.

A fifth-grade reading class is working on research projects about the animals in the play, and some fifth grade students are researching the life of Rudyard Kipling as part of their biography literacy unit.

All of these presentations will be on display in the school.

In addition to the April 27 performance, students will perform the play for the school's student body the mornings of April 26-27.

Tickets to the April 27 show are $5 per person and $20 for families of more than four people.

Proceeds benefit the SNIS PTO.

For information, call Ms. Hackel, 860-355-5553.