WESTFIELD, NJ — It’s not your average school play.
Washington Elementary School parents are in rehearsal for a PTO-led play in which they act out the main roles.
Written by Anthony Tessitore, the father of daughters, ages 7 and 11, “Happily Ever After” details the efforts of two junior librarians, who join forces with icons from children’s literature to save fairy tale stories from elimination during a renovation at Westfield’s library.
“With a little magic, our characters are transported to the library where they join forces with Jacob Grimm and Beverly Clearly,” Tessitore said. Grimm and Cleary, the two junior librarians named after the children’s book authors, join forces with familiar fairy tale heroes to stop the head librarian’s “evil plot.”
Tessitore, who also stars in the show, said that with two daughters at home, the classic storyline was a natural one for him to put together.
“Living in a house with two girls very much focused on the princesses and the fairy tales and those themes, that is something that’s in my head,” Tessitore said.
All the characters help teach classic lessons, such as the characters from “Beauty and the Beast,” who show the importance of inner beauty, he said.
“All those stories have a message that the kids can connect with,” Tessitore said. “I’m hoping that we’re going to put this production on, and it resonates with the kids.”
The play, he said, has been an ongoing tradition, a fundraiser for the Washington Elementary School PTO for about 70 years. Tessitore, whose older daughter is a fifth-grader at Washington School, joined in the cast four years ago.
Although he’s had acting experience, this is Tessitore’s playwriting debut.
“I haven’t been a playwright in the past but I acted and sang in high school and college,” he said.
The play is also directed, choreographed, produced and performed by parents, with the exception of the ever-popular teachers’ dance number.
The musical is the PTO’s largest annual fundraiser, raising monies for resources in the classrooms, teacher grants, school enhancements and additional programs to enrich the educational environment for Washington Elementary School’s estimated 300 students, organizers said.
If You Go
Performances will be Friday, Jan. 25, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 26, at 1:30 and 7 p.m., at Roosevelt Intermediate School, 301 Clark St. in Westfield. Tickets are $14.50 and can be purchased at https://wes.booktix.com/
Email Staff Writer Matt Kadosh at email@example.com; Follow him on Twitter: @MattKadosh