Students show off their broadway talents in “The Grunch”

Disgruntled six grader, Rudy Grunch, is determined to ruin the school play in the upcoming Family Theatre performance, “The Grunch”.

“It has great music and a fun story,” said director Penelope Haskew.

“The Grunch,” featuring a kindergarten through sixth grade cast and crew will be showing at the San Juan Island Community Theatre Nov. 17 – 19 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets can be bought at the theatre’s box office, and are $15 for adults, $8 for students, and $5 student rush at the door. Opening Thursday night is “pay what you can Thursday,” a program started to make the arts affordable for all.

Haskew has been a part of the theatre for the last seven years and has been working to create a strong youth program there.

“I love all aspects of theater but watching kids discover their talents on and off the stage through theater is my real passion,” said Haskew.

This musical even utilizes students for the behind the scenes tech crew are students. There are a few parents to help keep the action quiet and assist in emergencies, according to Haskew, but the main crew, from changing the lights and sound, to running props and calling the shots, are mostly kids, which is no small feat. People often underestimate the work that goes into backstage, according to Haskew. “The Grunch” illustrates the sweat behind the scenes, which was one of the reasons Haskew chose it. For example, there is one particular song that stood out to Haskew.

“I was particularly drawn to the song in the show that highlights the backstage crew and how important their contributions are to making a successful production,” Haskew said.

The musical is not holiday-themed, despite the title similarity to the Dr. Seuss classic “The Grinch.” Instead, it follows Rudy Grunch, who feels like an outsider in her school, and devises a plan to sabotage the school play. She decides to steal all the costumes and set designs of the school play the eve of opening night, thus ruining it.

“I think Rudy is self-conscious and unsure,” Haskew said, adding that Rudy, the Grunch, also resents her fellow classmates who have discovered the freedom of creating a character, and is jealous of the bonds made between cast members and crew. Haskew said she believes that deep down, what the Grunch wants most is to be part of something and she doesn’t know how to go about it.

Haskew is proud of her cast and crew, saying the students have been quick, enthusiastic learners, adding that the cast has labored to put together a strong show that all ages will love.

“They really work together well. I think it’s because they love being part of the theater too, and want to create the best show they can,” said Haskew.