Story and Photos By Kendall Patterson
Chester County Youth Theater put on another spectacular show for their audience in the production of “Disney Moana Jr.” this past weekend.
The audience cheered them on before, during and after the show.
According to CCYT Director Becky Hartle, this year’s cast put a lot of hard work and time into making Moana Jr. a great production.
“Every year they try harder and harder to do their best and it seems like this crew really grew together, worked hard and encouraged each other to do the same. It shows on the stage that they worked hard in practice, and they practiced outside of practice and had so much fun doing the choreography just for fun anyway and it shows,” she said.
An aspect of the show many loved was the singing. Disney’s Moana Jr. requires a cast of a variety of singing roles and CCYT’s actors and actresses filled the roles wonderfully.
“Moana Jr. has a lot of difficult, strong solos, and it’s not easy for the typical singer,” Hartle stated. “The fact that we had the rare opportunity, with the voices we had, to really showcase the show and songs as well as they did is a blessing I will never fully appreciate.”
Furthermore, she believed that the cast and her theater staff really portrayed the Pacific Island culture of Moana well.
“I think the proudest thing I am about this show is we really dove into the Pacific Island culture, and we were able to learn about it and find ways to honor Moana and the story of Moana along with the Pacific Island culture to the best of our ability,” Hartle said. “I really feel as if we done that. It’s something I’m really proud of. It was an educational opportunity as well as a fun, growing show.”
She thanks her staff of Lauren Malecha – Music Director, Ashlyn Chandler – Choreographer, and Jaclyn Leek – Stage Manager in putting their effort, talent and time into the production.
“Lauren Malecha is phenomenal. She has been with me since 2016 and kills it every single time. She pushes the kids to the best of their musical ability. We had harmonies in here we’ve never had before because of her.”
“Ashlyn Chandler, who researched and studied Pacific Island culture and the dances they would do, integrated it into our show so that it actually was an accurate, storytelling portrayal which really brought our story to life.”
“Jaclyn Leek is just an incredible stage manager. She was very organized and proactive and did everything I needed before I even realized it.”