Tag Archives: miller elementary theater arts

Miller Elementary Presents “Rebel With A Kickstand”

Fourth-graders at Joaquin Miller Elementary School presented Rebel With A Kickstand on Thursday evening, March 14, in the school auditorium. The musical was also performed for fellow students in two performances on Friday, March 15.

“In this play Grandma Jackie goes backyard camping with her grandchildren Bobby and Susie,” explained volunteer and retired teacher John Ossiff, who co-wrote and co-directed the musical with fifth-grade teacher Melissa Pamperin. “When she tells them that she was and still is a rebel, they don’t believe her.”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

“So she takes them back in time to when she was a girl, to the day she got her bike. Not just any bike, a bike that could travel to other dimensions. She and her pet sloth, Nutin, used the bike, and ended up in a very different place.”

“There they found a kingdom in crisis, with a king being tricked by an evil new advisor.  They helped the king see what was going on, and helped save the kingdom… [and] the treasures of the kingdom, including a magic mirror, a magic harp and a goose that laid golden eggs.”

(Photo By Ross Benson)

The play include seven musical numbers and Pamperin made all of the costumes for the actors. The students worked for months to prepare the musical.

In January, 57 students tried out for the 27 parts in the play. Another eight students operated lights and sound and worked as backstage crew, added Ossiff. Two students played keyboards for the performance.

The students in the cast and crew rehearsed during lunch time and many mornings before school to prepare the production.

“The cast and crew all agreed that the experience of putting on this performance helped them learn and gain self-confidence,” Ossiff also said. “They  wish to extend their thanks to the entire Miller community who helped make this production possible.”

“One Bad Apple” Asks: What If Snow White Was The Bad One?

Joaquin Miller Elementary School fifth-graders presented the play One Bad Apple in the school auditorium on Thursday evening, December 6. The students, mainly from teacher Melissa Pamperin’s class, also performed the play for their fellow school-mates in two performances on Friday, December 7.

“Imagine a world in which the Cinderella, Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel, but most especially Snow White are not the innocent victims of horrific pain and suffering, but are, in fact, the instigators of their mother and step-mothers’ pain,” explained Pamperin, who wrote the play and co-directed with retired teacher John Ossiff.

Photo By Ross Benson

“In this version of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Snow is a spoiled, snotty princess who is often sent off to stay with the long-suffering dwarves as a consequence of her sneaky, snarky behavior. Her poor step-mother, Eva White, (it’s a play on Evil) owns an apple orchard that was left to her by Snow’s father.”

“It has been a profitable business until Snow began telling everyone that the apples were poisoned with pesticides. With no other recourse, Eva hires a lawyer and they take Snow to court for slander where the judge, Madame Mirror, proves to be the fairest in the land and sentences Snow to a nap deep in the forest where she won’t be able to bother anyone for a long time.”

Photo By Ross Benson

Approximately 40 students got involved with the production as actors, lighting and sound crew and backstage crew. Play performance has been used by many educators throughout Burbank Unified and the entire country to engage and teach students of varying English reading and speaking abilities.

“The kids began work in September on the show and put on a truly fabulous play,” commented Pamperin. “They are an incredibly talented and dedicated group of kids!”

Classic Fairy Tale Characters Demand Rewrites In Miller Elementary Play

Fifth-graders in Melissa Pamperin’s class at Joaquin Miller Elementary School performed Unhappily Ever After? in several performances for their fellow students, their parents and the community. In the play, classic fairy tale characters are unhappy with their story lines and demand rewrites.

“Several of the classic characters including Snow White, Little Red Riding Hood, and Cinderella (and more) decide they are unhappy with elements of their stories, so they demand edits from their Pages,” explained Pamperin, who wrote the play in August for her class. “When the authors refuse their suggestions they take it upon themselves to rewrite their pages in a giant battle.”

Miller Play UnHappily Ever after  (© Ross A. Benson)

Students began rehearsing in September, during their lunch recesses.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them for their efforts,” commented Pamperin, who calls the play a “fun show with some crazy scenarios and songs.”

“I wanted to do the play because I personally LOVE acting and singing,” said Sydney Brakely. “The best part about being in the show is working with my friends and people I enjoy.”

Miller Play UnHappily Ever after  (© Ross A. Benson)

“The two main reasons I wanted to be in the play is because I have stage fright and wanted to terminate it and I really liked the creative plot,” added classmate Quint Bastian.

“The best part about being in Unhappily Ever After? is that you can have fun and be silly with it,” he went on to say. “The play isn’t serious, and it’s very funny.”

“I have learned that even though the play may be short time-wise, it takes a lot of time and effort from everybody who is in it,” said Brakely.

Miller Play UnHappily Ever after  (© Ross A. Benson)

Bastian also learned something from participating in the play.

“There is nothing to be scared of, and that lots of things can happen so if you or someone else messes up, the show must go on!” he said.

“When I was little and my dad read me the real Grimm Brothers’ stories I always thought it was odd that Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, and Cinderella all had a prince named Prince Charming,” added Pamperin. “I wondered if he was the same guy. In our play he is, and naturally that’s a huge problem for the princesses!”

Miller Elementary Theater Arts Presents “Alice In Wonderland”

Joaquin Miller Elementary Theater Arts Department presented the fourth-grade play Alice in Wonderland on Wednesday evening, December 3. They also put on two shows for the whole school on Thursday, December 4.

Supported by a grant from Burbank Arts For All Foundation and adapted by fourth grade teachers John Ossiff and Melissa Pamperin, Alice in Wonderland involved the entire fourth grade class in the production.

A cast of 29 students were chosen after tryouts in September. An orchestra of seven students and a stage crew of 15 students, who operated lights, sound and video and moved sets, were also created. An additional 40 students painted the scenery used in the play.

Julie Damaryan has something clever to say, as the Mad Hatter in Miller Elementary's "Alice in Wonderland." (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Julie Damaryan has something clever to say, as the Mad Hatter in Miller Elementary’s “Alice in Wonderland.” (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Pamperin and Ossiff combined elements of both Lewis Carroll books, Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass, and added some songs and other elements, according to Ossiff.

“In this story, Alice and her friends are being bullied by her older sister,” explained Ossiff. “Alice follows the White Rabbit into Wonderland. There she meets some unique characters, defeats a Jabberwock and stands up to a Queen who bullies everyone around her into not singing.”

“When Alice returns, she has the strength to stand up to her sister and to inspire her friends to do the same,” he added.

The cast and crew rehearsed the play during lunch time since September, according to Ossiff who also said, “The cast and crew have been very dedicated in giving up their free time at lunch for this work.”

“Over the past few years we have been trying to develop and expand the Miller Theater Arts Program,” commented Ossiff. “For the past three or four years we have presented performances by both fourth and fifth grade classes.”

The cards enact a scene in Miller Elementary's "Alice in Wonderland." (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

The cards enact a scene in Miller Elementary’s “Alice in Wonderland.” (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Last year, the school presented The Year Santa Took a Vacation and The Mystery of the Mysterious Missing Thing. In previous years, they have put on Robin Hood The Musical, M.A.D.D. Respect, So . . . You Wanna Be a Fairy Godmother?, A Christmas Carol, Peter Pan and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

“We have been fortunate to have parents with theater training and experience who have come in and provided voice, movement and acting training to the students,” said Ossiff.

“Our future goals are to expand the number of performances, including more performances by third grade classes, and to improve and permanently install lighting and sound equipment in our auditorium,” he continued. “Grants last year and this year from the Burbank Arts for All Program have been a great help.”

Porter Rodriguez, who played Alice, said, “The caterpillar was really cool. I especially liked my scene with the gnat in the train car. I liked talking with giant bugs.”

Joaquin Miller Elementary fourth-graders present "Alice in Wonderland." (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

Joaquin Miller Elementary fourth-graders present “Alice in Wonderland.” (Photo by Ross A. Benson)

“Overall the cast did a great job in learning their lines,” he also said. “Both the cast and crew demonstrated great responsibility in presenting the play. All of the teachers here are very proud of them.”

Principal Judy Hession was also proud of the production. She pointed to Miller Elementary Theater Arts Department as a contributing element in the school’s recent California Distinguished School Exemplary Art recognition.