The Auburn Middle School Drama Club will present ‘Tundalao and Prince Key’, and original musical created by Auburn native, Chris Graves, son of Drama Club director, Karin Graves.
There will be a second performance tonight, at 7pm at the Auburn High School. Tickets are $10 for adults and $7 for students and senior citizens, available at the door.
‘Tundalao and Prince Key’ was conceived by Chris Graves, a 2004 AHS grad, based on bedtime stories told by his grandfather, Norman Sommerhoff.
“My grandfather would take us up to the roof of his home in Florida and tell stories at night. He would totally make them up as he went, and we kids would help make them up,” said Graves. The stories were set around the tropics, and focused on the ocean, fishing, and islands, all things Sommerhoff loved. Two of the main characters were Tundalao and Prince Key who lived on a mythical island of Magea, where there were no adults.
“My mother [Karin Graves] long talked about writing a book based on the stories. But it was one of those things that never quite happened,” said Graves.
Instead, during college, Graves began working on a play based on the stories. In 2007, ‘Tundalao and Prince Key’ made its debut at this very same Auburn High School Auditorium. Those who remember that original production will be pleasantly surprised by the reprised version.
“The show has grown a lot since then,” said Graves. “I rewrote the script almost entirely. There are now 12 original songs and dances. Today, 10 years later, technology is better, software is better, I was able to create a full score instead of just piano accompaniment. It’s really an all-new show.”
Graves is now a copywriter in New York City, so he has not been able to spend a lot of time hands-on with the young performers at AMS. But again, technology has bridged the divide. Chris has been able to send his mother the music electronically as he completes it. He will also be traveling up to Auburn for tech week, which begins May 8.
Graves notes that there are challenges to staging an original production.
“The kids aren’t familiar with the stories or the music like they would be with a more traditional school production like ‘Wizard of Oz or something.” he said. But, there are also benefits such as getting the kids involved in the creative process.
Says Graves, “It’s special, too, because no one has ever seen this before. It’s exciting to be part of that.”
What: Tundalao and Prince Key
When: May 12 and 13
Where: Auburn High School Auditorium, 99 Auburn St., Auburn.
Tickets: $10 Adults, $7 students and senior citizens. Available at the door.
Chris/Prince Key…..Josh Zaleski
Karin/Tundalao…..Sarah Kramer Lee
Petey the Pelican…..Jason Roberts
Query the Owl…..Audrey Johnson
Mahmo the Turtle…..Erin Hynes
Wolves Extras: Jen Amlaw, Kevin Duong, Rachel Hisman, Finn O’Donnell, Maria Misenti, Michael Scanlon
Little Fireflies Extras: Abby Duchesneau, AJ Duchesneau, Abby Graves, Lucy Reid, Sophia Reid
The Singing Trees
Flamingo girls…..Izabella Coughlin, Claudia Symonick
Crab Extras: Marta Brzoska,, Declan Kennedy, Anna Roycewicz
Shadows Extras: Saira Chandry, Mallory Graves, Lana Rodrequez,