QU students bring the story of Pinocchio to life

Cast members Wolf, Pinocchio and Cat rehearsing their scene.

By Jessica Abrego

QU students teamed up with John Wood Community College students to bring the well known fairytale of Pinocchio to life.

Auditions began in the fall semester to determine which students would tell the well known story of a puppet that comes to life.

Pinocchio is the story of a wooden puppet boy who was made by a carpenter, Gepetto. Gepetto wished that the little wooden puppet he made would one day become a real boy. Gepetto’s wish was heard by a magical Fairy, the Fairy made the wish come true. Pinocchio was turned into a real boy! Pinocchio could be a real boy under one condition, that he must always tell the truth. It is no surprise that Pinocchio could not honor that wish and began to tell lies. With each lie that was told Pinocchio’s nose would grow longer.

This is a picture of students sitting on a stage listening to the show's director.
Cast members gather for notes from Director, Connie Phillips

“I really love the stories, I love working with the students, and I love seeing them really progress into their characters and singing abilities,” Connie Phillips said.

Phillips was the former theater director at Quincy University before her retirement in 2015. She loves the theater so much that she has directed every children’s opera since her retirement.

This is a picture of the director of the show, Connie Phillips, watching a rehearsal.
Phillips watching rehearsal

Amy Stollberg, director of QU choirs, is responsible for preparing her students for the show and adding the performance opportunity to QU students.

“I am trying to keep performing interest alive through the children’s opera. The funding comes from Muddy River Opera Company our local opera company. They are the granting organization so they write the grants to various organizations and provide the funds for the show. Absolutely no Quincy University funds are used for this children’s opera,” Stollberg said.

Each performer has a different take on what this performance means to them.

“It’s very hard and very long hours, but it really does make it worth it when you go to the schools and you see the kids faces and they just light up. They love it so much,” Rachel Reinbeck said.

This is Reinbeck’s fourth children’s opera. Reinbeck has been a part of the opera as a previous student at John Wood and now at Quincy University.

“It’s been super fun! I’ve enjoyed getting to play the role of Pinocchio and bringing him to life. Getting to perform for children is a lot of fun,” Makayla Briggs said.

This is Brigg’s third show but her first opera as a QU student.

Austin Owen is a sophomore at John Wood Community College and has been in the past two children’s opera’s.

“Collaborating with QU is a lot of fun because you meet new people, blend your voices, see how the performance is going to be,” Owen said.

This is a picture of students holding up puppets for Pinocchio.
The cast does a dance with their string puppets

The show will be performed on Sunday, March 1, 2020 at 5:30 p.m. at the Connie Niemann Center for Music. The performance is free and open to the public.

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