OXFORD — The Oxford Primary School third and fourth graders will perform Finding Nemo, Jr. at 6 p.m. on June 1 in the Oxford High School auditorium located at 50 South Washington Avenue. Admission is free.
“The cast has 34 third and fourth grade students who, under Kate Cirello’s direction, have been working extremely hard over the last five weeks to bring this production to the stage. The kids are very excited and have been doing an excellent job,” said Oxford Academy Drama Club Advisor and English teacher Chris Rovente.
Primary school teacher and Drama Club Director Kate Cirello said, “This production is a great opportunity for children to have exposure to the theater and the different skills involved with that. It is great for the community to come together to witness what they have learned. I’m so excited for everyone to see this and am so proud of all the kids and how far they’ve come.”
Rovente explained they chose Finding Nemo, Jr. as their first primary school musical under the Drama Club banner because it is a new show available to schools and has name recognition.
Finding Nemo, Jr. is a musical adaption of the Disney movie Finding Nemo. Marlin is an over-protective clownfish that lives in the Great Barrier Reef with his kid Nemo. Nemo loves to explore the world beyond home and on one outing, he is captured and taken away.
Marlin must face his fears and set off on an adventure to find Nemo. With the help of optimistic Dory, a laid back sea turtle Crush, and the supportive Tank Gang, Marlin and Nemo overcome challenges on their way to finding each other and themselves.
“This is my first year teaching at Oxford but my second year teaching overall. In the winter I was the assistant director on the Oxford High School’s production of Little Shop of Horrors with Chris Rovente and Sara Leach,” Cirello said.
Rovente explained, “My theatrical partner in crime, Sarah Leach (High School/Middle School Chorus teacher), and I are trying to grow the program. This year we added a very successful middle school play that opened for the high school musical. We also decided to add a primary school musical to our season in order to help grow the program further,”
“Once we finish with this show, we begin preparing for next season and our summer Theatre, Media, and Music Production Camp, which is a free summer camp for any Oxford Academy student in 7th to 12th grade,” he added.
Over the next few years, they plan to expand the summer camp to include more grade levels.
Cirello has been in musicals when she attended high school in Oxford and was led by former Drama Club Director Micheal Moran. She also grew up dancing at Perkins School of the Arts and currently teaches dance there as well. Her favorite part about working with the students is seeing them having fun and one of her goals was to come back to Oxford and direct a musical.
Rovente studied acting and directing at Binghamton University, received his MFA in acting and directing from the University of Florida and ended up working in NYC for several years. His passion for the arts allows him to give the students of Oxford Academy the opportunities in theatre and musicals that he cherished as a student.