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Heigh-ho! Heigh-ho!

Para’s version of ‘Snow White’ a hit
New York Teacher

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Appearing relaxed before the show are (from left) teacher Mary McGinnis as Queen

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Paraprofessional Omar Moore takes the stage after the performance to congratulat
Bashful, Bubbly, Happy, Grumpy, Doc, Sleepy and Sneezy danced to Pharrell Williams’ upbeat tune “Happy” in a memorable scene that depicted pure joy. And that pretty much describes the feelings of all who experienced the debut performance of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” by students and staff at P 37 in Great Kills, Staten Island, on Feb. 14.

“The kids especially had a ball,” said paraprofessional Anthony Ennab, who played Prince Charming. The version of the story done at the District 75 school was written and directed by paraprofessional Omar Moore, who is active in off-Broadway theater.

“I know the joy the students have in accomplishing things and being seen,” said Moore, whose version of the Disney classic was modernized to make it more relatable to the children.

For sure, it’s the only version in which the prince dons a fedora and dances to Frank Sinatra singing “The Way You Look Tonight” in an attempt to win the heart of Snow White, played by teacher Kristina Shapani.

While staff took on the main roles, the special needs students played the adorable dwarfs and the forest animals. Work on the production began in September and was a total team effort.

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Paraprofessionals, including Francesca Ferrannini (left), guide students who are
Occupational therapist David Clarke sewed all the costumes and teacher Catherine Guardi’s Kids Care Club students made the scenery and decorated the auditorium with magic mirrors and other art. Para ToniAnn Palomba expertly applied the actors’ makeup.

The result of everyone’s effort was a show with all the glitz and glamor of a Broadway opening, complete with a red-carpet walk and interviews by paraprofessional Joyce Monti.

“The play really showcases what District 75 is capable of,” said Analia Gerard, the UFT District 75 representative, who was in the audience.

As in the Disney production, the dwarfs were the heroes as they chased away the wicked queen before she could finish off Snow White. Unlike the original, however, the young actors then chanted, “Kiss her! Kiss her!”

Prince Charming obliged, Snow White awakened, and, Moore concluded, “I hope you all live happily ever after.”

NY Teacher