TEWKSBURY — New Tra­han principal Jay Harding was so proud of his triumphant third and fourth graders last week. More than 80 students signed up to join the drama club when Harding launched the idea in the fall of 2018.

“We had so many kids, we had to break the group into two performances,” he said. “With the large number of students, we created two casts. Almost all of the main characters were double cast (Pan, Wendy, Hook, etc.) and the ensembles were in both shows (pirates, lost boys, mermaids, etc).”

The production was held at the Wynn Middle School au­ditorium.

Harding was overjoyed with enthusiasm and could not get over the participation and support from parents and faculty. They had "tryouts" in December.  Any­one who came to tryouts was offered a part. The original plan was to start in January with the show in April, but Harding was in a terrible accident, hit by a motor ve­hicle as he crossed a street.

“Unfortunately, my accident occurred Jan. 2. We of­ficially started Feb. 6 and re­scheduled the show for May.”

Harding, still on crutches, just kept right on going.

Harding credits the staff for keeping the show on track.

“From the beginning the entire staff was eagerly in­terested in helping, with teams set up to assist in the production (production, sets, props, costumes, etc). We tru­ly had village effort,” he said.

The set team involved staff, art teacher Jen Bar­bati, and parents to help with construction of the larger pieces, including a giant pirate ship. The costume team worked with parents to create and adjust costumes for the actors/ac­tresses, and choreography and music was managed by music teacher Steve Nahlik.

“I was determined to come back and continue with the show. So many staff and students were so excited, I didn't want that level of interest wane. As they say, the show must go on! Working with the production team during practices, everyone stepped up to assist,” he said.

The students gave their performances over two nights and played to packed houses. From the crocodile who ate the clock to the mer­maids and their tails, from Peter Pan’s shadow to the bells for Tink, no detail was overlooked and it was easy to forget that the actors were elementary school students. The performance was of high quality and, the staff, with no theater experience according to Harding, did an outstanding job backstage as well as preparing for the show. 

The Trahan is already talking about which show to consider for next year.

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