Young actors visit 'Neverland' with Elvis, Swift and friends

Children's theater company running three shows this weekend in Warren

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Close to 40 young actors from across Warren and beyond will sing and dance their hearts out this weekend as the Neverland Children’s Theatre stages its production of “Neverland Rocks” at the Kickemuit Middle School.

The production is the Bristol and Warren-based theatre company’s fourth since its founding three years ago. “Neverland Rocks” is loosely based on Schoolhouse Rock, the classic series of shorts that taught youngsters all about the functions of conjunctions, how to make a wagon wheel and what was going on with that bill sitting there on Capital Hill.

But its adaptation for Neverland by Tiverton script writer Mark Bettencourt expands the story, adding in classic rock n’ roll, current hits and more. Songs include Queen’s “We Will Rock You,” Meghan Trainor’s “No,” classics by Neil Diamond, Elvis Presley and more. Jace Goldstein plays Elvis, Cate Merriam plays Taylor Swift and Siena Silvia plays Interplanet Janet.

“The kids had so much fun working on it,” musical director Missy Labonte said. “There’s a lot of dancing, a lot of music. It’s really fun.”

Amidst all the song and dance, the story has a message, following Principal Mullins, Miss Finn and her students as she makes learning fun.

Who’s acting?

There are close to three dozens of students from Warren, Bristol, Barrington, Swansea and Portmsouth in “Neverland Rocks.” They include Sydney DiChiappari as Miss Finn, Kendal Bazerman as Principal Rosa Mullins, Haley Lee as Summer Hathaway, Skyla Silvia as Zoe Morris, Emilie Burns as Frannie Jones, James Faulkner as Lawrence, Olivia Labonte as Katie, Lizzie DaCosta as Billie, Katalina Burns as Marta, Talia Cicilline as Alicia and Tyler Holden as Max.

Other cast members include Tamblyn Andrade, Kendal Bazerman, Desmond Blackbeard, Emillie Burns, Jack Clarke, Madelyne Devine, Jack Devine, Reese Duchesne, Thomas and James Faulkner, Jace Goldstein, Finn Kindness, Haley Lee, Natacia Lima, Ilana Lima, Ailyse Looney, McNamara “Mac” Marston, Cate Merriam, Millie Pipe Kasey Quinn, Avery Santos, Alexandra Shoppell, Alexa Sousa and Siena Silvia.

Neverland Children’s Theatre grew out of the Guiteras Performing Arts Committee in Bristol. While the committee still works at Guiteras, organizers Cheryl Burns and Shael Norris branched off in 2014 to found Neverland, hoping to reach a wider audience. Later, Bristol Warren Regional School Superintendent Mario Andrade offered the Kickemuit Middle School auditorium as the company’s home base. “Neverland Rocks” will be the second production held at Kickemuit. Sherry Winn is the choreographer, and sound comes courtesy of Studio A Technologies in Bristol.

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday. Tickets frange from $5 for students to $10 for adults and $20 for VIP “Golden Circle” tickets, the best in the house. For more information or to buy tickets, check out the company’s Facebook page or go to www.neverlandchildrenstheatreri.org.

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