By Rachel Shirey
JONESBORO — Jackson Elementary and Roberts Middle school students put on their dancing shoes and warm up their voices for the first kindergarten-through-sixth grade Magnet School Musical — “The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.,” which opens today at the Performing Arts Center.
More than 50 students were selected through auditions that took place in November to perform in the production. They have been rehearsing an average of three times a week after school since.
Molly Knowles, drama teacher at Jackson Elementary, said she believes the students have rehearsed no less than 70 hours for the production.
According to a press release, “The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.” is a musical about a boy name Milo, who is bored with everything. All he wants to do is lie on his bed and stare at the wall.
In a surprising turn of fate, his wardrobe turns into a tollbooth that offers to transport him to the Castle in the Air.
While heading to the Castle in the Air, Milo stops at two towns. One town is run by King Azaz, and its residents believe that only words are important.
Residents of the other town, run by the Mathmagician, believe that only numbers matter.
As Milo journeys to the castle, he meets some very interesting characters and discovers his true purpose is rescuing the princesses of Rhyme and Reason.
Knowles said people can expect to encounter unique characters, exciting musical numbers, major dance performance and wonderful costumes, but most importantly, talented students.
“This is a wonderful musical about the importance of imagination and the need to use both numbers and words correctly,” said Knowles.
“The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.” will run at the Performing Arts Center today and Saturday at 7 p.m.
“Since these students are enrolled in a performing arts magnet program, we already know that they love to perform,” Knowles said. “Students have had a wonderful attitude at rehearsals and performances. They are very focused and determined to learn the new choreography and musical numbers. Students at this age love learning and they have enjoyed working on this new experience.”
Tickets for the performances are $5 in advance and $7 at the door.