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  • Arts
  • Curriculum
  • Division: Lower School
  • Student Life
Earning Their Spots
Dean DeChiaro

Lower School students collaborated across grade levels on costumes, set design and choreography to bring the musical production of 101 Dalmatians to life.

Throughout the winter and spring, it was all hands on deck to set the stage for our 3rd and 4th grade musical. After two years of virtual performances, this year’s production of 101 Dalmatians Kids provided an exciting opportunity for our students to explore musical theater and collaborate across grade levels.

Each year, the 3rd graders act as the ensemble cast, while the 4th graders have the opportunity to audition for larger roles. “The kids are loving it,” explained music director Holly Hampton. “The music is nice, there are a lot of lead speaking roles, and all of the 3rd graders are playing Dalmatian puppies.”

While Lower School students were busy learning their lines and lyrics, several veteran performers in 6th grade applied to help direct and stage-manage the production. The students assisted with every rehearsal and helped design the show’s set.

When thinking through the various production elements, Stevens art teachers contributed in distinct ways. Scott Fairchild ran a costume-making elective for middle school students at the Jersey City campus, while Hoboken art teacher Ed Lu oversaw set design in Hoboken.

Ed described the challenges involved with creating portable and collapsible set pieces that are easily transported between campuses. Creatively solved by using three bi-fold panels, the crew created six unique backdrops that are supported by 3D props created from recycled materials.

They also created a television, a central prop for this production, but instead of simply painting a scene on its screen, the crew chose to run lights through the prop like a real television. The set design team also created some Easter eggs from other Disney stories to weave into the set, helping further develop the story and its characters.

“The students partner really well with each other across grade levels,” Ed shared. “There is always a side project different students can focus on. Everyone just feels so happy with the work they’re doing when they leave... it’s a really nice extra element on top of the normal curriculum.”

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2022 issue of SCOOP.