And, they lived happily ever after

The Baltimore Sun

At Linton Springs Elementary School, students rolled out the red carpet for a bunch of storybook characters.

Snow White and Cinderella, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Little Red Riding Hood and, of course, her grandmother, made appearances, smiling and camera-ready. The fairy-tale legends arrived at the 2007 Granny Awards - named for the Little Red Riding Hood character impersonated by the infamous Wolf - to sing, dance, and, of course, take home one of those coveted gold statues.

The ceremony, presented by the South Carroll school's fourth- and fifth-grade chorus Wednesday, served as their spring music program.

"It's like an awards show for the Oscars, only it's for fairy-tale characters," said Allison Croft, the vocal music teacher at Linton Springs. "The kids enjoy it more than just straight singing songs. There's more built-in entertainment."

The fairy-tale performers are members of the chorus of nearly 100 students, Croft said, and they audition for their roles. The group had been rehearsing since mid-March, Croft added, with additional, after-school practice for the cast.

Their production covered all the awards-show staples: the winners' thrilled looks of surprise; the messages from sponsors (Hickory Dickory Dock Clocks and Jack and Jill Spring Water); and even a gold-gilded statue, featuring a Popsicle-stick rocking chair - a miniature of Granny's - on top.

But amid the glamour of fairy-tale royalty, the snores of Snoozy, guardian of the awards table, and Granny's rhythmic rocking, the students showed off their voices.

Re-enacting the "best dramatic scene," fifth-graders Megan Austin, 11, and Emily Kendall, 10, portrayed Cinderella's wicked stepsisters as they bickered over a slipper that wouldn't fit snugly on their feet.

"Drat, if it weren't for that stupid corn on my toe, the slipper would fit," Emily said, as the prince, played by Derek Galvin, 11, looked on with horror. Emily started singing, lamenting that corn impediment, while her sister wrested the slipper from her hands to try it on herself.

"Oh, all the heat in here's making my foot swell," Megan said as she too struggled with the shoe. Then, in a brief moment of triumph, she exclaimed, "Look, it fits! I'm your princess. It fits me."

Derek, clad in tights, turned toward his audience for a solo. "Either one would be bad news," he sang. "Show me to the nearest door, and I'll remain a bachelor."

Accepting the award for "best rap," Red Riding Hood, played by Nikki Federkeil, performed "Big Bad Wolf" with the three pigs - decked in pink sweats and silver and gold "bling" - Ben Maderi's Wolf and Lillie Cimmerer's Granny.

"You're a big, bad wolf," the group and chorus sang, as they described his exploits involving Granny and the troubled pigs.

"I'm just an actor through and through, the director tells me what to do," the Wolf rapped in response, explaining his villainy to his co-stars.

Yet even the bad guy had his time in the spotlight, garnering the "best villain" award, after spending most of the ceremony trying to steal a statue for himself.

Beyond entertaining their parents, however, the musicals give Croft's students theatrical experience - something she had during her school years.

"I want to give them a taste of how exciting it is," Croft said, adding that she hopes they would later have the confidence to participate in such activities when they move on to high school. "You really have to work as a group, and you really have to give more than your all."

Many of her students said they enjoyed the chance to slip into fairy-tale roles.

"It's really fun," Megan said. "I really like it because it gives us a chance to act and to sing."

Emily added that she enjoyed acting mean, something she and Megan had the chance to do a lot as Cinderella's stepsisters.

Austin Haspert and Melanie Lanni - part of the trio behind the Three Pigs, along with Sarah Keenan, all 10 - agreed.

"We don't just get to go up there and sing," Melanie said. "We actually get to express how we feel about this song."

For John Mead, who played Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk, this year in the chorus was his first. John said he'd once thought being part of the group wasn't cool, but decided to go for it anyway - a decision he didn't seem to regret.

"I like being able to do acting because I can move around and be all ... fun," John, 11, said, adding that he can sometimes be shy. "I'm coming out of the box."

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