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NHS Unified Theater Saves Music In ‘Forward To The Past’ Performance



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Newtown High School’s Unified Theater program performed its original show called Forward To The Past on January 14 and 15, in the high school’s auditorium. The show was donation-based instead of having tickets for sale.

Prior to the Sunday matinee, as guests began to fill the audience seats, students rehearsed in the music room with Unified Theater teacher Janice Gabriel.

Gabriel told The Newtown Bee, “They worked so hard. If they are having fun, that is what counts.”

Students could be seen around the room eagerly practicing their lines and dance moves in groups, as well as individually.

At exactly 2 o’clock, Gabriel stood in front of the red stage curtain to welcome everyone attending the afternoon performance.

She explained how students of all abilities worked together to organize, write, and direct the play themselves.

“It is my happiest time of year to see the students on stage performing … I can promise that you will leave here smiling,” Gabriel said.

The production began with a group from the future visiting a museum. They lived in a society where music was not allowed and decided to enter a time machine to collect music from different time periods.

“We have to save music,” a student announced during the play before entering the time machine.

The group travels back as far as the stone age, where the theme music to The Flintstones could be heard playing.

Next, they went to the 1960s where they learned about vinyl records. During that era, they listened to The Beach Boys while eating ice cream.

When exploring the music of the 1970s they listened to the Bee Gees and did some disco dancing.

The cast also did a choreographed dance number to Michael Jackson’s hit song “Thriller” when time traveling to the 1980s.

Then, in the 1990s, the group encouraged the band Ace of Base to record and release their song “The Sign.”

Forward To The Past also featured Britney Spears’ 2000s single “Oops!…I Did It Again,” and Miley Cyrus’ song “Party in the USA” represented the 2010s.

The group even visited 2022 and heard the song “I Ain’t Worried,” by OneRepublic while playing basketball on stage.

At the end of the play, music had been saved thanks to the time travelers and the people they met along the way.

The performers took a celebratory bow as the crowd cheered and applauded them.

Reporter Alissa Silber can be reached at alissa@thebee.com.

Newtown High School’s Unified Theater program performs a choreographed dance to Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller” during the production of Forward To The Past on Sunday, January 15. —Bee Photos, Silber
Students in the Newtown High School Unified Theater performance of Forward To The Past travel to the 1970s and disco to the Bee Gees.
In Forward To The Past, a group of people from the future use a time machine to visit different eras to save music.
Newtown High School Unified Theater teacher Janice Gabriel, right, goes over the script with students prior to the Sunday, January 15, performance of Forward To The Past.
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