The cast of “Peter Pan Jr.” was at Cornwall High School on Saturday morning. There were kids in the aisles, waiting to march down to the front of the auditorium. On stage, a few performers were listening to the director. The kids were attentive. But as they listened, one reached down to pet the dog. Another messed with the animal’s fur.
The dog curled up in delight, but didn’t bark. Of course, he didn’t bark, because he was a student in a canine outfit.
The Lee Road School Drama Club has gotten a lot of mileage out of that costume. They used it in “Dr. Doolittle” and “Annie.” Kids love playing dogs. They crawl around the stage, get plenty of laughs, and have no lines to memorize — although they do have to remember several directions.
The dog, “Nana,” is just one of 108 cast members in “Peter Pan.” Most of the others are human. Lee Road Elementary has been presenting shows for 17 years. Music teacher Karen Snider started the tradition. But she attributes the success of the program to the PTO volunteers, including some with professional experience in theater, choreography and costumes.
Ann O’Connor is directing this year’s show, and Denise Carter, Susan King and Brandi McLendon are helping her. Rehearsals started in October, and have taken place during evenings or Saturdays. The kids haven’t missed any school because of the show. They practiced twice a week, and brought a parent with them. It’s part of the deal. If your kid’s in the show, you have to find a way to help.
Denise Carter, one of the PTO leaders, has been looking forward to doing Peter Pan. The music is catchy. The story is famous. The costumes are clever. And the script includes a dog.
NOTE: Performances are at 4 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14 at Cornwall Central High School, 10 Dragon Drive. Tickets can be purchased at the door. There’s an open dress rehearsal on Friday at 7 p.m.