An Elementary Operetta?
Daday, Eileen O., Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Eileen O. Daday Daily Herald correspondent
Take 80 students dressed in toy soldier and rag doll costumes,choreograph them in 15 musical dance numbers, and you have the stuff of a modern day operetta.
But if the term conjures up Gilbert & Sullivan and HMS Pinafore from the late 19th century, think again.
Over at St. Peter Lutheran School in Arlington Heights, they have brought back the art form, and its first, second and third grade actors can't stop tapping their toes and singing the songs long after they've left the stage.
Take third-grader Kyle Orton of Arlington Heights. He loves to play soccer, basketball and baseball, but he now ranks dancing right up there.
"It's awesome," he declared.
Orton and his classmate, Cade Milligan of Arlington Heights, portrayed head toy soldiers in an original operetta called "The Toy Shop." Together they rescued the ballerina, Katrina, from robots who threatened to add her to a stuffy toy collection.
"My favorite part was learning how to dance," said Jasmine Laethy of Prospect Heights. Jasmine played the ballerina who learned to dance only after all of the other toys built up her confidence and inner strength.
Sybil Kramer, a second grade teacher in her 30th year at St. Peter, first wrote the script for the toy story caper in 1965 as a creative writing assignment in high school.
"I always wanted to do more with it," Kramer said. …