Middlesex School Summer Arts (MSSA) presents the original anti-bullying musical The Love Note, supporting positive parenting and inspiring independent youth, on Thursday, July 28, 7:30 pm, at 1400 Lowell Rd., Concord. The Love Note Musical, written by Boston playwright/composer Gail Phaneuf and orchestrations by Chris Cho, is directed by JulieAnn Govang, with music direction by Caleb Smith, choreography by Spencer Evett.
The Love Note musical follows young Jessie on a spirited journey at a new school, where she attempts to navigate lunchroom bullies, a new crush and having the courage to stand up for herself. With a lively cast of characters and a rousing score, The Love Note explores the trials of being ‘the new kid’, learning the ropes of self-reliance and survival techniques that carry into adulthood.
Wacky bookworms, menacing bullies and up-and-coming ‘tween fashionistas drive a fast-paced narrative, all under the watchful eye of a soup-ladle wielding lunch lady. Jessie’s lonely school lunches are heartened by the tiny pink love note her mother packs into her brown paper bag each day, but once chief-bully Brittany bites into her snatched sandwich, Jessie knows she’s in trouble. Tackling challenges with her magical friend Airy, together they concoct a spicy strategy to help Jessie stand up for her lunch.
“Everyone remembers the fear of sitting alone in the lunchroom,” says Phaneuf, “or feeling too insecure to sit with the popular kids.” Director JulieAnn Govang comments “This production has been a wonderful experience for this cast – the first I’ve had where the kids were in the actual age group of the characters they’re portraying. It has been a great opportunity to work with kids artistically, but also to touch on topics and feelings they’re actually living through right now in their lives. It didn’t hurt that they are all having a great time with the material itself!”
The Love Note Project, an affiliation of the musical, redefines the power of a lunch “packed with love”, by allowing parents to share their own love notes on the show’s website. The messages spread their support and help stomp out bullying. The Love Note curriculum specialist Kelly Schell shares, “A love note provides a simple example of parental love and support through the tiny written gesture in a child’s lunch, but the impact is so powerful … not only for the character Jessie, who is reaffirmed in the knowledge that she is loved and cared for, but also for Brittany and the ‘mean girls’ who desperately want that supportive love and family attention to be present in their own lives.”
Tickets for MSSA’s production of The Love Note are a suggestion donation of $10, available at the door. Students in the MSSA program attend for free. Ticket proceeds support the MSSA camp scholarship fund. For more information about MSSA programs, visit www.mxschoolsummerarts.org.
The Love Note is the creation of playwright, composer and Curry College Playwright-in-Residence Gail Phaneuf. She is an award-winning writer and director of many plays and musicals, including the comedic Monsters! A Midlife Musical Meltdown.
For further information, music and images from The Love Note, or to learn more about The Love Note Project, visit www.thelovenote.com, or follow The Love Note on Facebook or Twitter.
For more information about playwright Gail Phaneuf, please visit www.gailphaneuf.com