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Fime Arts magnet schools debut first combined musical stage production
by Bill Baldowski
February 07, 2013 10:20 AM | 2616 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Studying their lines for the upcoming play, "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr." with director Molly Knowles are, from left, Jordan Thrasher, 9, daughter of Tim and Shielda Thrasher, and Jada Farmer, 6, daughter of Tiffany Farmer.
Studying their lines for the upcoming play, "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr." with director Molly Knowles are, from left, Jordan Thrasher, 9, daughter of Tim and Shielda Thrasher, and Jada Farmer, 6, daughter of Tiffany Farmer.
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Cast members in the play, "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr." from left, Jordan Thrasher, 9, daughter of Tim and Shielda Thrasher, Javone Hicks, 9, son of Shenva Hicks, and Hadassah Smart, daughter of Charlene Smart, await their ques as they take part in a dress rehearsal for the play, which will be presented at the Performing Arts Center this Friday and Saturday.
Cast members in the play, "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr." from left, Jordan Thrasher, 9, daughter of Tim and Shielda Thrasher, Javone Hicks, 9, son of Shenva Hicks, and Hadassah Smart, daughter of Charlene Smart, await their ques as they take part in a dress rehearsal for the play, which will be presented at the Performing Arts Center this Friday and Saturday.
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Cast members for the play, from left, Jada Farmer, 10, daughter of Tiffany Farmer, Mason Jean-Louis, 7, son of Angela Jean-Louis, Amir Ali, 10, son of Evelyn Ali, and, in the rear, Kem Kimbrough, Jr., son of former Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, Sr., are ready for the stage production of, "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr." to debut this Friday at the Performing Arts Center with another performance that Saturday.
Cast members for the play, from left, Jada Farmer, 10, daughter of Tiffany Farmer, Mason Jean-Louis, 7, son of Angela Jean-Louis, Amir Ali, 10, son of Evelyn Ali, and, in the rear, Kem Kimbrough, Jr., son of former Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, Sr., are ready for the stage production of, "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr." to debut this Friday at the Performing Arts Center with another performance that Saturday.
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Kyle Ward, faculty choreographer for the play, "The Phanton Tollbooth, Jr," works with cast member Jordan Thrasher, 9, daughter of Tim and Shielda Thrasher, on a dance routine.
Kyle Ward, faculty choreographer for the play, "The Phanton Tollbooth, Jr," works with cast member Jordan Thrasher, 9, daughter of Tim and Shielda Thrasher, on a dance routine.
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Molly Knowles, Kemp Primary School drama teacher, Fine Arts Department chairwoman and director of the play, "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr.," makes a costume adjustment for cast member Amir Ali, 10, son of Evelyn Ali, before a dress rehearsal last week.
Molly Knowles, Kemp Primary School drama teacher, Fine Arts Department chairwoman and director of the play, "The Phantom Tollbooth, Jr.," makes a costume adjustment for cast member Amir Ali, 10, son of Evelyn Ali, before a dress rehearsal last week.
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Noah Allen, 10, son of Paul Allen and Marlene Mitchell, and Tiffany Phan, 9, daughter of Phuong Nguyen and Tran Phan, rehearse for their part in the play, "The Phanton Tollbooth, Jr." which will be presented this Friday and Saturday at the Performing Arts Center.
Noah Allen, 10, son of Paul Allen and Marlene Mitchell, and Tiffany Phan, 9, daughter of Phuong Nguyen and Tran Phan, rehearse for their part in the play, "The Phanton Tollbooth, Jr." which will be presented this Friday and Saturday at the Performing Arts Center.
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Register yet another milestone for Clayton County Public Schools.

For the first time, children in the Fine Arts Magnet Program at a county elementary and middle school will combine their singing, dancing and acting talents to present their combined musical stage production of, “The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.” at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center.

Molly Knowles, drama teacher at James A. Jackson Elementary School in Jonesboro and chairwoman of the county’s Fine Arts League, announced that students from Jackson Elementary and Roberts Middle School will present the musical Friday and Saturday at the Performing Arts Center, 2530 Mt. Zion Parkway in Jonesboro. Curtain time each night is 7 p.m.

More than 100 students combined from the schools, including children from kindergarten through the sixth grade, auditioned for roles in the production with 50 actually making the cast.

Knowles is directing the production along with choreographer Kyle Ward and musical director Michael James.

The play features Kem Kimbrough, Jr., son of former Clayton County Sheriff Kem Kimbrough, Sr., in the lead role.

“The musical production is about a boy named Milo who is bored with everything and all he wants to do is lie on his bed and stare at the wall,” Knowles said.

However, in a surprising turn of fate, Milo’s wardrobe closet transforms into a tollbooth that transports him to the “Castle in the Air.”

As Milo journeys to the castle, Knowles explained, he meets many interesting math and language arts-related characters along the way and discovers that his true purpose for being there is to rescue the “Princesses of Rhyme and Reason.”

“This is a wonderful musical about the importance of imagination and the need to use both numbers and words correctly,” Knowles said.

Ward emphasized that parents of the children in the production chose to enroll them in an arts-based magnet programs so as to highlight their individual talents.

“Molly, Michael and I wanted these young students to experience being in an actual Hollywood-style musical stage production which includes musical numbers and choreography,” Ward said.

Jones explained that the play incorporates fine arts and language, “and we hope they learn from this experience and continue to sharpen their singing, dancing and acting talents.”

The three agreed they wanted the young students to take something from this performance and not only learn from it but build upon it, Jones said.

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