7th-grade teacher, Mrs. Dietz, and 8th-grade teacher, Ms. Tucker knew they were taking on a big project when they first began discussions of a combined 7th and 8th-grade performance of Into the Woods Jr. They knew it would take a village! This is why they asked their colleagues at the Back to School meetings in August if they were prepared and interested to help. They said yes and preparations began! 

Class plays are a tradition within Waldorf education. Each class, from 1st through 8th, performs a play for their peers and families every school year. Class plays strengthen what students are learning in their curriculum, build camaraderie and cohesion among classmates, and increase self-confidence. So the 7th and 8th-grade students were no strangers to learning lines and performing. But an hour-long musical? It was a whole new endeavor!

“I wish…

more than anything…

more than the moon…”

As auditions approached, the hallways were filled with students and teachers singing the songs of the fun and lively musical. Students excitedly prepared. They wondered who would be cast as the familiar fairytale characters like Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, and the Prince. Casting the musical was no easy task with such a talented group! The cast was announced. There was excitement. There was disappointment. As is the case in all Waldorf school plays, all students were included in the cast. Rehearsals began!

7th and 8th-grade students gathered every day to rehearse the performance. In addition to the vision and support of Mrs. Dietz & Ms. Tucker, they were fortunate to have SWS music teacher, Mrs. Radanovic, professional choreographer, Cody Smith, and pianist (and SWS parent), Justin Badgerow to help bring the creative vision to life. Students learned the music, their lines, cues, and choreography. They helped build sets and brainstormed on special effects. They created beautiful handmade posters. There were good days, which were celebrated. There were bad days, which students persisted through.

Waldorf teacher, Lawrence Joseph Glatt, explains the importance of performing a musical in middle school in the recent Performing Arts edition of School Renewal Magazine, “teaching middle school students that they are being seen, what they do matters, and that they can choose what they present to the world.” He goes on to explain that musicals offer, “students at this age glimpses of what they can become.”

One could feel the nervous excitement in the air as students prepared for their first performance. Students warmed up their voices, received the finishing touches on their makeup and costumes, and the show was ready to begin! This was a very special performance as it was for their fellow Waldorf students. 1st through 6th-grade students eagerly filled the seats and soon the gym was filled with song, laughter, and amazement. Standing ovation! A 2nd grader was overheard saying, “that was better than any movie I’ve ever seen!!” as the show came to a close. The 7th and 8th graders were treated as celebrities as students gathered at the back of the gym to collect autographs. The 7th and 8th graders went on to perform three more times to sold-out houses!

“And it came to pass, all that seemed wrong

was now right, and those who deserved to

were certain to live a long and happy life.

Ever after…”

Congratulations to all involved!! Special thanks to teachers extraordinaire Mrs. Dietz and Ms. Tucker for their hearts and vision; Mrs. Radanovic for all of her support along the way; Cody Smith for his expert choreography; Justin Badgerow for his excellent piano skills; Liz Pargament for her brilliant organizational support; and Andrea Huber for her skilled make-up and hair styling!

Works Cited: Glatt, Lawrence Joseph. “Why a Musical in Middle School?” School Renewal, Fall 20222, pp. 11.