Shirland's cast and crew set sail on a course of adventure in Disney's Moana Jr.


Maui (Billy Hoff) and Moana (Kira Quillen) go on an adventure together in Shirland School's musical Moana, Jr.

Based on the 2016 Disney film, a cast of 48 students in third through eighth grade worked under the direction of Ms. Dawn Heavilin to bring the story of Moana Jr. to the Shirland School stage, joined by a full crew who set sail on a course of adventure on March 14 and 15, 2024.

The book was adapted for young performers by Susan Soon He Stanton.

Moana Jr. told the story of her adventures, and self discovery.

Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Tony, Grammy, Emmy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, created the fun and catchy musical pieces, along with Opetaia Foa'i and Mark Mancina. Music and orchestrations were adapted and arranged by Ian Weinberger.

Colorful costumes and amazing vocals enhanced the characters' personas.

The use of blue ribbons in dance numbers created a peaceful feeling. One actress in the chorus did flips on stage.

Moana is the daughter of the chief of her island. She associates with farmers and fishers, who are content to be in a world unto themselves.

Being an adventurer, Moana is curious and desperate to see what lies beyond their reef. She receives pushback from her father and the community, who remind her that no one leaves.

The ultra talented Kira Quillen transformed into the princess Moana. Jordan Pal played her father Chief Tui, and was very convincing in his role. Moana ignored Chief Tui. Instead, Moana listens to her Grandma Tala (the brilliant Maddie Pals) who gives her advice prior to her death.

Unknown to her father, when Moana was a little girl, the Ocean chose her to be the one who would save all of the islands from destruction, in an attempt to reverse the actions of Maui, a Polynesian demigod, played by Billy Hoff who brought great comedic prowess and pizzazz to the role.

Moana and Maui embark on an epic journey of self-discovery where they meet the shiny crab Tamatoa in his lair. Nick Sprigler's artistry shone brightly in this role.

After the curtain opened, action moved swiftly from scene to scene, The Ancestors, and the Ocean (a supporting character in the show), told the story of how things were in the Beginning, featuring the opening song, Tulou Tagaloa.

Next, characters spent time on the shore and the village. Chief Tui, Moana and Hei Hei (Gus Stromberg), Pua (Emma Faherty), Sina (Maggie Van), Grandma Tala and the Villagers laid out a location for Moana in Where You Are.

Moana looked ahead to her travel plans, in How Far I'll Go with Pua, Hei Hei and Ocean.

Maui led the ensemble in the very uplifting and fun song You're Welcome.

Grandma Tala, (Maddie Pals) and the main protagonist, Ta Ka, played by Drexel Michalsen.

Maui and Moana face each other with the song Warrior Face before they enter Lalotai, home of the Gate Monster and a group of other monsters.

Drexel Michalsen stood out as the main antagonist, Te Ka.

Tamatoa the Shiny Crab had the company of Left Claw (Lucas Riihl) and Right Claw (Peter Hoff), with Maui and Moana entering the scene in the show-stopping number, Shiny.

Tamatoa the Shiny Crab had the company of Left Claw (Lucas Riihl) and Right Claw (Peter Hoff) in Shirland School's musical Moana in the show-stopping number, “Shiny.”

Grandma Tala's spirit reappeared in the number Song of the Ancestors along with Moana and the ancestors.

Moana and Ocean looked at the importance of Know Who You Are.

Ocean gave Te Fiti, (Ciara O' Hearcain) one of two goddesses of the earth, her heart back.

In the final scene, the full ensemble gave reassurance in We Know the Way.

Throughout her journey, Moana learns to harness the power that lies within. The overall message of Moana Jr. is to embrace your own empowerment.

Ancestors and Villagers used the forbidden isles to draw extra interest.

The cast of Ancestors were led by Henry Kovanda as the Chief, with Mackenzie Bragg, and Bayleigh Dewart.

The Ocean Ensemble: Audrianna Serns, Aleena Lange, Vera Van, Estelle Stromberg, Aubrey Hurn, and Annie Lange.

Mountain Volcano People: Kashvi Bhatt, Isabelle Scott-Nimmer, Savanha Meyers, Nora Nygren, Amelia Williams, Ashley Kempin, and Emma Sallinger.

Fisherpeople: Knox Beyer, Lillian Crosby, Easton Gunnick, and Logan Riihl.

Farmers: Jayden Rogers, Calvin Duron, Zac Sibigtroth, Reed Miller, Colton Jobson, and Leah Serns.

Carter Fern became the Gate Monster. Other monsters were Daxton Hawkins, Jack Hall, Jaylen Paul, Grace Williams, Gilberto Rodriguez, and Emmalynn Kempin.

Behind the scenes, Heavilin received assistance from Mrs. Heather Dobnick, alumni, Ms. Maddy Dobnick, Mrs. Ciara Fischer-James (alumni), all stage managers. These ladies also joined Mrs. Rebecca Clinite and Mrs. Hannah Pals who worked on perfectly synchronous choreography.

Aleena Lange served as the student choreographer.

Costumes, props, scenery work was taken care of by Mrs. Beverly Velmers, Mrs. Fischer-James, Mrs. Pals, Miss Buhck, Miss Emily Morrow (alumni), and Mrs. Amber Miller.

Alia Johnson, Etta Lewis, and Evie McLevige made up the stage crew.

Hair and makeup was overseen by Mrs. Jackie Serns, alumni Miss Kylie Eberley, Maddy Dobnick, and Miss Ashley Edwards.

A detailed boat designed by Mr. Ron Dobnick, adding extra flair to the show.

Mrs. Pals also helped with technology. Mr. Jamie Wilson was the sound engineer.

Alumna Aubrey Carlson handled the spotlight.

Special thanks were given to specific staff members at Shirland School. Paint for the sets was donated by Rockton Hardware plus many others, including the Prosser and Quillen families, who donated from an Amazon Wish List

Rousing applause accompanied the final curtain call.

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