Akiva Performs Pinocchio

Akiva School students perform Pinocchio to a full house.

The Akiva School fifth and sixth grade students performed Pinocchio to a full house of family, friends, and students last month. Based on the famed story by Carlo Collodi, this adaptation brought to life the enchanting story of old woodcarver Geppetto and his marionette son, Pinocchio. Curiosity and temptation lead Pinocchio astray, but with gentle guidance from friends, he learns the importance of respect and honesty and finds a way to help save Geppetto from demise.

The 15-person cast began rehearsing in the fall, mastering their lines, music, and choreography under the direction of Akiva’s Theater Director, Annie Douthit. Douthit has been directing musicals at Akiva for over ten years and says, “Every single production is inspiring. To see students challenging themselves beyond their comfort zone and developing their artistic skills and confidence is incredible.” Douthit adds that, “The opportunity for students to take part in musical productions fosters incredible cooperative skills, respect, and community.”

Akiva School students perform Pinocchio to a full house.

Sixth grader Lyla Banish was cast as Pinocchio in this year’s production. Lyla says that the experience was, “Amazing, exhilarating, and brilliant, and even those words are an understatement.” Lyla explains that she, “Loves the thrill of performing on stage. It was a great adventure and a great challenge; learning and reciting our lines, practicing, and finally performing in front of our parents and friends.”

Akiva School students perform Pinocchio to a full house.

Lyla’s parents, Jeff and Jessica Banish, were thrilled to see students get an opportunity to showcase their artistic side, saying that, “It brought us so much joy to witness Lyla and the rest of the cast beam with pride after the performance.” The Banishes added, “We have watched Lyla’s self-confidence surge throughout every Akiva musical she has participated in. The musical theater program truly exceeded our expectations.”

Stay tuned for Akiva’s upcoming productions of Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, coming this spring.


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