Blessed Sacrament middle school present ‘Disney’s Jungle Book’ on April 26; the set design and costumes also were done by the students.

By Alex Harrington Intermountain Catholic

SANDY — Middle school students dressed as monkeys, tigers, snakes, bears and elephants sat underneath twinkling Christmas lights, draped with green cloth to resemble vines, ready to put on Blessed Sacrament Catholic School’s first musical: Disney’s Jungle Book.
Their audience, elementary school students, chatted as they filed into the bleachers, but as the lights dimmed and the music swelled, they fell silent and watched as the actors danced and sang.
The students created every aspect of the play, said Laura Thomas, director of the musical and a teacher at Blessed Sacrament. All of the scenery was painted, decorated or assembled by Blessed Sacrament’s middle school students.
“Not every kid wants to be center stage,” she said, and those who felt more comfortable behind the scenes had plenty to do in order to bring the Jungle Book to life.
Every middle school student participated in the musical in some way, Thomas said. Each of the actors was in middle school, but to put on a play, more than actors are needed, Thomas said. A student could choose to be an actor, a background dancer, on the stage crew, a set designer, in advertising and programming, lighting and audio, video or choreography.
Producing Blessed Sacrament’s first musical was intimidating, said Thomas. After the performance for the parents concluded on April 27, only one feeling was on her mind: “Relief!” she said, laughing. “It was a lot of work, definitely!” But, with the students all pitching in, the musical ended up being a huge success, Thomas said.
“I was very, very happy with the performance our students put on,” she said. “Everyone did their jobs to the best of their ability.”
The students each had their own reasons why they wanted to do the play. Sam Trujillo, an 8th grader who played Baloo the Bear, said his favorite part was the dancing.
“It’s just extravagant,” he said, smiling.
“(The musical) has just been amazing from the start,” said Hayley Thomas, a 7th grader who played King Louie. Her favorite part of helping to put on the Jungle Book was “getting out of my comfort zone,” she said.
The musical not only entertained parents and students alike, it was “a community building event,” Thomas said. Each student was able to find out that no matter what their skill sets, there’s a place where they can help out everyone else, she said. Parents and students both told her how impressed they were with the musical, Thomas said.
Perhaps most importantly, the musical kept everyone in high spirits, she said. “Usually at the end of the year, everyone’s pretty grumpy,” but the Jungle Book made the last six weeks a blast for the students who put it on and those who got to see it, Thomas said.