From May 17 until May 19, the Holy Family School Players performed their production of Pippi Longstocking. Students from kindergarten through eighth grade brought the classic children’s tale to life with colorful costumes and upbeat musical numbers, several of which were written especially for this production by Liz Pensack.
Seventh grade student Kayleigh Lauten played the adventurous and kindhearted Pippi, left to her own devices after her mother dies and her father is lost at sea. In her red wig and bright clothing, she cartwheeled across the stage and brought plenty of laughs to the audience with her energetic antics.
Her love for fun quickly wins her the admiration of the neighborhood children, Isabella (Kristen Dalessio), Annika (Haidyn Searls), and Victoria (Charlie Wyke).
Meanwhile, her disregard for the rules also makes her the target of the snobby Mrs. Pressillius (Tess Gunning) and her teacher (Keegan Ramsay). With a chest of gold coins left to her by her pirate father, two robbers, Theodora (also played by Gunning) and Bernadette (Madilyn McLouth), also keep their eye on Pippi and plot to steal her fortune.
With the help of her friends’ mother, Mrs. Settigrin (Katherine Dalessio), Pippi learns how to live in her “town of many rules.” Meanwhile, thanks to Pippi, town residents learn how to treat one another with more kindness, no matter their differences.
The production was directed by Annalyse Tanzos. Tanzos previously served as assistant director under Catherine Little, her mother, who directed Holy Family School productions for over 15 years.
Tanzos chose the tale of Pippi Longstocking because the “adventurous and kind hearted character was exactly what I needed to help me navigate the journey ahead of me.”
However, Tanzos acknowledges that she did not have to go the journey alone.
“It takes a lot of hard work and passionate people to make the drama program what it is today,” she said.
Choreographers, musicians, lyricists, and parent volunteers helped make the show a success, putting together new music, costumes, and a set that included a large pirate ship.
Like the characters in the play, it took an entire village of people working together, learning, and growing, to bring the goals and dreams to life.