On Tuesday, May 17th, the El Monte CARES after-school program (MDUSD), presented their Spring Musical Extravaganza which included the production ‘Munchkin Mediation: Conflict Resolution in Oz,’ featuring 4th and 5th graders. This was the second such event held during the school year. The Spring Musical Extravaganza also included ‘Aesop’s Fables Deluxe,’ performed by students in grade K-3, as well as the 4-5 music club performances, featuring Top 40 hits.
The Munchkinland drama is a take-off of the classic ‘Wizard of Oz’ story. In this version, the story takes place 1 year later, and characters are returning with problems they didn’t have at the end of the movie. The Munchkins are the world’s leaders in conflict resolution. Various life-skills are presented within the story, as each problem is revealed. For example, when the monkeys have trouble getting along, they learn to use ‘I statements.’ The Witch of the North and the Witch of the West learn that even though they have their differences, they can see ‘eye to eye.’ This very cute and original musical production is published by Bad Wolf Press, which has a whole series of similar plays labeled ‘Character Matters,’ for grades K-9.
This phenomenal production would not have been possible without lots of volunteer hours on the part of the staff. Carissa Sugden was the director, not only casting parts, but personally constructing the costumes, and much of the backdrop. She also cheered and guided students through the 7 weeks of pre-production work. She emphatically states, “Even though it’s a lot of work and it’s a big challenge for the kids learning their parts, I feel that by the time we perform it, it’s a really worthwhile experience that they get a lot out of and will always remember.”
Carissa acknowledges that she had lots of support from staff including Laura Hindes, Debbie Ogle, and Kelly Samami. Miss Laura assisted with drawing and painting the mural, along with 4 other students. Laura, Debbie and Kelly all helped with managing kids, running the music, and all the other things involved which helped things to run smoothly. Maria Sajjad, music club teacher, wowed us with her guitar playing and leading role with the Top 40 Choir performance and soloists (see video attached).
For those who participated in the audience, it was unanimous, ‘This was not just any production. It was something you definitely did not want to miss!’ For those that did miss out, it sounds like there will be even bigger and better productions next year. Stay tuned!