by Larry Austin
Kaegebein Elementary School will soon present a holiday play sure to make glad the heart of childhood.
Students in grades 2 through 5 will perform "Macy's Yes Virginia The Musical" at 7 p.m. Dec. 18 and 19 in the newly refurbished school auditorium.
This is not your typical classroom play, said director Renee Michki. The all-school musical show will run 45 minutes with 43 performers in grades 2 through 5, plus some college and high school students to help with lights and sound.
"And all of our parents made the sets and everything for us," Michki said.
Michki said the plot involves a little girl named Virginia who with a friend is trying to figure out if there really is a Santa Claus. Another girl in town calls them babies because they still believe in Santa, so she writes a letter to the daily newspaper, The New York Sun, asking if Santa is real.
"She remembers that her daddy always says that when you see it in the New York Sun, it's so," Michki said.
The plot is based on the famous letter written by Virginia O'Hanlon to the New York Sun headlined "Is There a Santa Claus?" appearing in the Sept. 21, 1897, edition of The Sun and responded to in an editorial by editor Francis Pharcellus Church. The editorial featured the line "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus."
Though classrooms perform shows during the year, a show of this scale hasn't been done at Kaegebein previously. "This is a bigger production," Michki said.
"We don't think there's ever been a school-wide musical before at Kaegebein, so this is their first one," Michki added.
She added that the music is "adorable. It's Broadway style, but cute for kids. You can leave humming the tunes."
In addition, the show will take place in the auditorium that was refurbished as part of the school district's $50 million capital improvement project. The venue boasts new lighting and sound system. Michki said the thought of having a new auditorium prompted her to contact Macy's because she was trying to think of "something nice to do at our school this fall to show off our new auditorium when it opened."
"And, sure enough, they gave me the royalties and I won the $1,000 grant and we were on our way," Michki said.