Riverside students take on Pinocchio


The Riverside Elementary School Drama Club performed a unique interpretation of the Disney classic Pinocchio in front of a packed audiences in the auditorium on Feb. 7.

“The Pinocchio Show” is based off Patrick Rainville Dorn’s book of the same name. The original story of the famous puppet underwent a makeover in this shortened version of the drama musical, “No Strings Attached.” The fourth and fifth-grade students, who began rehearsing in November, performed two shows that day, one for their classmates and an evening performance for family and friends, which had a standing room-only crowd.

“I thought the characters were adorable,” said STELLAR teacher Anne DeFranza, who directed and produced the show. “It was the right fit for the students.”

When Carl (played by Sebastian Olivares) wants to run away from home, he tries to get a job with the mysterious Professor Pinecone (Michael DeSena) and his traveling magical marionette puppet show.  But he quickly discovers that the position comes with all kinds of “strings” attached. 

Once he feels the magical jolt of the professor’s handshake, he begins the audition of his life.  Carl becomes Pinocchio (Sophia Bracco) and improvises his way through the story, meeting a cricket with an attitude (Jude Taran), the devious fox (Kiernan Souto) and cat (Maeve Ferrick) and the sassy Blues Fairy (Maya Bharratt).  

Pinocchio encounters some of life’s lessons as he learns, through some humorous mishaps, that his actions have consequences.  He even makes a donkey of himself...  literally.  With a little help from Tina Tuna (Jacqueline Kearns), Pinocchio makes a selfless choice by saving Geppetto (Cole DiPietro) from the mouth of a giant shark.

DeFranza was assisted by Riverside faculty members and the PTA, who helped with the sound, lighting, scenery and costumes. But despite that, the show almost didn’t go on as scheduled.

“We were very lucky because half the cast was sick with the flu [the week before],” said DeFranza. “It was also the Tuesday before the blizzard struck. But we did not have one sick kid that day. They did a marvelous job.”

DeFranza said the show will soon be available on the school’s cable channel.