Bored no more: Dunphy students to perform musical ‘The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.’

View Photo Gallery
  • Anne T. Dunphy School fourth grader Lovena Durazo leans into a rendition of “Hail, Digitopolis” with musical director Josh Chaplin, right, during a rehearsal earlier this spring for the Williamsburg elementary school’s production of “The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.” Above, fifth graders Julian Harder, left, Hazel Scully-Henry and Juniper McElligott rehearse a scene. STAFF PHOTOS/KEVIN GUTTING

  • ">

    Anna Seren, an Anne T. Dunphy School parent and director for the Williamsburg elementary's production of "The Phantom Tollbooth", offers some tips to sixth graders Griffin Darling, left, Olivia McAvoy and Roosi Isupov during a rehearsal on Monday, March 7, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • ">

    Anne T. Dunphy School fifth graders Julian Harder, left, Hazel Scully-Henry and Juniper McElligott rehearse a scene from "The Phantom Tollbooth" on Monday, March 7, 2022, in Williamsburg. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • ">

    Anne T. Dunphy School fourth grader Rhys Craig, second from left, and fellow students rehearse musical selections on Monday, March 7, 2022, for the Williamsburg elementary's production of "The Phantom Tollbooth", by Norton Juster. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Anne T. Dunphy School fourth grader Caleb Falkowski, right, and fellow set crew members, sixth graders Hobbes O’Sullivan, left, and Colton Shadrick, paint one of the props for “The Phantom Tollbooth” on Monday, March 7, 2022, in Williamsburg. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • Anne T. Dunphy School fourth grader Caleb Falkowski paints one of the props for “The Phantom Tollbooth” with other members of the set crew on Monday, March 7, 2022, in Williamsburg. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

  • ">

    Anna Seren, director for the Anne T. Dunphy School's production of "The Phantom Tollbooth", offers some acting tips to sixth grader Olivia McAvoy on stage at the Williamsburg elementary during a rehearsal on Monday, March 7, 2022. —STAFF PHOTO/KEVIN GUTTING

Staff Writer
Published: 5/13/2022 5:37:23 PM
Modified: 5/13/2022 5:35:45 PM

WILLIAMSBURG — The students participating in the upcoming musical at the Anne T. Dunphy School might just be able to relate to the main character in “The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.,” a boy who in a fit of boredom visits the Kingdom of Wisdom.

In real life, Dunphy students, like those everywhere, endured their own form of pandemic-induced boredom that included cancellation of its annual musical for the last two years. Next weekend, however, musical theater returns to the Burgy elementary school, when the students perform “The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.”

“Students are excited, families are supportive,” said Monica Bhowmik, the play’s producer and a Dunphy School parent.

The play is very much a mass effort, drawing on the talents of students for acting, singing and set design and utilizing multiple parent volunteers. “I think the musical’s going great and we’re going to have a great production,” Bhowmik said.

“The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.,” is scheduled to be performed on May 20 at 7 p.m. and on May 21 at 1 p.m. Tickets will be $8 for adults and $5 for children 12 and under.

Anna Seren, a Dunphy School parent and the play’s director, said that the production has 26 kids who are actors and another 18 for the set crew. She said that this is a little less than the school’s last production, “The Grunch,” and about the same as its production of “Alice In Wonderland Jr.,” both of which she directed.

“We have a really good turnout with kids,” Seren said. “They love doing it.”

“The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.” is an adaptation of the 1961 book “The Phantom Tollbooth,” where a bored child is taken to the Kingdom of Wisdom and discovers the importance of learning.

In the book the child is a boy named Milo, but in the Dunphy School production the child is named Maya and is being played by sixth grader Roosi Isupov.

“It’s really fun,” said Isupov, on how she’s liking the production so far.

Isupov was in the school’s production of the “The Grunch” in fourth grade, which was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was really shocked,” said Isupov, on her reaction to being selected as the play’s lead. “I wasn’t planning on that.”

And Isupov said that her favorite part of the story of “The Phantom Tollbooth” is when she gets to save the princesses.

Sixth grader Griffin Darling is playing Tock the Watchdog in the play, a role he said he was “highly amused” that he got because he thought others would sign up for it. Seren also confirmed that a lot of kids had wanted to be Tock.

“Who doesn’t want to be a big fluffy dog?” Darling said.

Owen Barrios-Wright, on the other hand, is playing The Terrible Trivium, a demon who serves as a villain in the play.

“I would like to learn what The Terrible Trivium likes and dislikes,” said Barrios-Wright. “How he would talk to people.”

Trish LaFreniere is the adult volunteer in charge of supervising the kids making sets and props. LaFreniere said that the sixth graders will become the stage crew for the show, and others will be given other jobs.

“We find a job for each of them,” LaFreniere said.

Fourth grader Claire Pickard is one of the students doing prop work. “I love it,” Pickard said. “I really like art.”

Caleb Falkowski, another fourth grader, also expressed his appreciation for doing prop work. “It’s really fun,” he said.

Nella Lynn, a sixth grader, said that she wanted to be involved in the play for her last year at the school, but her dance classes meant that she couldn’t take on an acting role.

“I like to paint and draw,” she said.

Josh Chaplin is a parent at the Dunphy School who is in charge of the music. He’s been involved with previous musicals at the school as well. “It feels good to be back,” he said.

He also described the music of the show as “very rhythmic,” with “a lot of funny twists and turns.”

Marissa Nye is a Dunphy School parent who is in charge of choreography for the production. She said that she’s happy for the musical to come back, particularly for the sixth graders, as those who were involved in “The Grunch” in fourth grade saw that production canceled at the last minute.

“It’s really exciting for them to get on stage this year,” Nye said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

Jobs



Support Local Journalism


Subscribe to the Daily Hampshire Gazette, your leading source for news in the Pioneer Valley.


Daily Hampshire Gazette Office

115 Conz Street
Northampton, MA 01061
413-584-5000

 

Copyright © 2021 by H.S. Gere & Sons, Inc.
Terms & Conditions - Privacy Policy