Alaska Highway News Story on The Phantom Toolbooth Jr. Musical

Bert Bowes Middle School students performed The Phantom Tollbooth Jr. for students from across the district on Thursday.   Photo By Bronwyn Scott

Bert Bowes Middle School students are gearing up for their public performance of The Phantom Tollbooth Jr.on Friday night at the North Peace Cultural Centre.

The 1961 adventure novel by Norton Juster is a “super fun” story about a boy who is bored of everything in his life, and something magical happens to give him a fresh perspective on life, according to Irene Hayward, the play’s director.

“His room is transformed, he gets a car, and tollbooth that take him through some magical lands,” she explained.

“He goes to a land of numbers, and a land of letters. He goes on all sorts of different adventures. He has to save princesses and fight off demons, and he learns a very important lesson: that ‘what you can do is often simply a matter of what you will do,’ so if you’re willing try, you can do amazing things, is the moral of our story.”

The Grade 7, 8, 9 and 10 students – there are a few high school kids helping out – overcame their nerves and jitters by performing for students from across the region on Thursday.

“That moment of going on stage for the first time and having about 200 people from their own school watching them is probably the hardest thing they go through,” Hayward said.

Grade 9 student Jordan Bourgeois plays the lead character Milo.

“I’m 10, pretty much nothing is exciting, nothing interests me until this phantom tollbooth takes me on an adventure to teach me that everything has meaning,” she said in interview with the Alaska Highwa News.

“Then I learn that everything is cool.”

It’s her first lead role, and so far she’s loved the experience of practicing and rehearsing with her peers.

“It’s been so much fun, after a while we all become like a little family,” she said.

Grade 7 student Morgan Wigglesworth, who plays a handful of roles, including a vendor, and an advisor to the king, has also enjoyed every aspect of practicing for their big show.

“You do get pretty nervous before a show … but it is really fun to be in musical theatre,” he said. “I just love the whole thing.”

The Phantom Tollbooth Jr. takes the stage at the North Peace Cultural Centre Friday night at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at the North Peace Cultural Centre.

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