Arts & Entertainment

Westfield's McKinley School Community Performs in Kapers Musical

Principal Marc Biunno questions the Riddler about the missing answers to his students' questions. Credits: Jill D'Ambrosio
Students open Friday night's annual show at McKinley Elementary School. Credits: Jill D'Ambrosio
Moms group the Blues Mothers perform Mothers Rhapsody, adapted from music and lyrics by Queen. Credits: Jill D'Ambrosio
Fourth grade boys groove onstage. Credits: Jill D'Ambrosio

WESTFIELD, NJ – McKinley Elementary School students, staff and parents reveled in the school’s annual McKinley Kapers musical with song, dance and a rollicking good time Friday night.

The show was held in the school’s gym at 500 First Street and will be performed again Saturday night at 5 p.m.

“It’s a 16-year tradition that has become almost a cornerstone of what it means to be a part of the McKinley community,” said Principal Marc Biunno, who had a main role in the production.

Sign Up for E-News

Many area schools use a yearly show to help supplement their budgets while also building community and developing student confidence. Kapers, however, is not a fundraiser but mainly a vehicle to introduce students to performing. Students in grades three through five have the option to perform if they choose. Some children had speaking roles.

“It really is a great way to bring the theater to the kids,” said McKinley parent Jenny Tananbaum, who serves as director, producer and writer of the show with Jackie Weiner.

A live band led by musical director Don Tipton accompanied the performers, and McKinley alums returned to help work backstage, aid with lights and shepherd the current students.  

Making his debut in Kapers this year, third grader Nathan Welsh said he learned “don’t be shy” from the experience of singing and dancing on stage. He enjoyed being part of a smaller ensemble of third grade boys.

“There’s just a little bit of us, and we each get our own lines,” Nathan said.

Each year the production offers a moral, and this year’s centered on the students’ search to recover the answers to their many questions that were taken by a bright green-clad Riddler. In the end, the pupils discover that it’s okay to not to have the answers and that they can still grow just by asking questions.

Kapers also features routines for McKinley moms, dads and faculty. Principal Biunno believes it’s important to show the kids that the parents can have fun onstage and not take themselves too seriously.

“It’s certainly not my comfort zone, but we show the kids we get up there and have fun,” he said.

Nathan’s father, Ken Welsh, was among nine fathers who made up the Daddy Ohs. He heard about Kapers from his son’s friends' parents and decided to give it a try.

“I have no problem making a fool of myself, so it was an easy sell,” Welsh said, laughing.

One of the most humorous numbers was the Blues Mothers rendition “Mother’s Rhapsody,” adapted from music and lyrics by Queen and a spoof on a mother’s seemingly endless responsibilities.

All performers have spent months practicing for the big night. Under Tipton’s leadership, students practiced during their lunchtime beginning shortly after winter break.

Tipton began by playing tuba in the Kapers band when his son, now a junior in high school, was in fifth grade at McKinley. He has seen several alums go on to take part in theater in later grades.

“Some of them go on to … middle school and they get into these productions. This was probably their first experience,” he said.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


17-Year-Old Academy for Information Technology Student Dies; GoFundMe Page Established to Help Family

July 21, 2018

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — Seventeen -year-old Fenov Pierre-Louis, a Roselle resident and student at Union County's Academy for Information Technology, lost his battle with stage 4 Nueroblastoma cancer this week.

Friends have set up a GoFundMe page to help his family. 

Diagnosed when he was a second grader, Fenov fought the disease for about half of his lifetime, ...

Corruption Has No Place in Union County

July 19, 2018

The Union County Freeholders’ decision to appoint State Senator and newly-elected Union County Democratic Chairman Nick Scutari’s chief of staff, Ed Oatman, as county manager smelled of corruption from the start. To place a political consultant like Oatman in the role of overseeing 2,800 employees and running the day-to-day operations of the $500 million county budget suggests ...

Upcoming Events


Sat, July 21, 9:00 AM

Westfield Community Center , Westfield

Rummage Sale


Mon, July 23, 7:00 PM

TD Bank Ballpark, Bridgewater

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs vs. Somerset Patriots

Arts & Entertainment Sports

Westfield Police Blotter: Multiple Businesses Report Thefts & More

July 18, 2018

July 11,2018 3:50 p.m.

A business located on the 100 block of Central Avenue reports being the victim of a theft. Unknown actor came into the business and removed $2,200.00 worth of property.

July 12, 2018 2:40 a.m.

Danny Burke, age 32, of Edison, NJ was arrested for driving while intoxicated pursuant a motor vehicle stop. Subject was arrested, processed and released to a ...

Kid Make Their Own Pizza

July 21, 2018

Parents, looking for something special and fun for your kids on the weekend?

Emma's now hosting kids make their own pizza on the weekends. Also we are now booking kid parties!

IRS Working on a New Form 1040 for 2019 Tax Season

The IRS plans to streamline the Form 1040 into a shorter, simpler form for the 2019 tax season. The new 1040 – about half the size of the current version – would replace the current Form 1040 as well as the Form 1040A and the Form 1040EZ. 


This new approach will simplify the 1040 so that all 150 million taxpayers can use the same form. The new form ...


AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.



Picking up the Pieces – The Benefits of Account Consolidation

Over a lifetime of investing we often have numerous accounts located at different financial firms.  Rarely are these accounts managed with a grand plan that takes into account all the individual pieces.   Account proliferation can be detrimental to your investment performance, increase your risk profile, and lighten your pocketbook.  

Account consolidation offers the ...

Big Changes in Store for New Jersey’s Employers and Employees

Big changes are in store for New Jersey’s workplaces, with dramatic legislation aimed at improving conditions for New Jersey’s workers. These changes include the enactment of New Jersey’s Equal Pay Act, a new law to help the unemployed, and passage of New Jersey’s Paid Sick Leave Act. Most likely one or all these laws will impact you or someone in your family.

New ...

5 Simple Ways to Save Water this Summer

According to the L.A. Times, the average American uses an estimated 98 gallons of water EACH day.  

Here are five simple ways you can save water, to help you conserve water this summer and take some pressure off of your drains.

1. Unless you are using it, turn the faucet off. How many of us still leave the water running while we shave or brush our teeth?According to ...

26 Homes Sold July 8-15 in Westfield and Surrounding Towns

There were 26 homes sold between July 8 and July 15 in Westfield, Scotch Plains, Fanwood, Cranford and Mountainside`

TOWN          ADDRESS    STYLE            RMS   BRS BTH   GAR   Sale Price

Cranford  115  Bryant Ave ...

Dog Found in Garwood

UPDATE: Reunited with owner.

ORIGINAL POST: Dog found on Pine Avenue in Garwood. He was given food and water. Garwood police now has him. Sweet and friendly. Contact the Garwood Police Department.

It's Not What You Are Eating, It's What's Eating You


Emotional eating can be described as episodes of binge-eating, grazing and/or eating when not hungry to soothe feelings. Emotional eaters have a pattern of eating to cope with stress, emotional conflicts and problems of daily life.

Emotional eating is eating for reasons other than hunger. Instead of physical symptoms initiating the eating, ...

ELL Summer Experience at Westfield Public Schools

Westfield students representing six different languages recently enjoyed a weeklong summer camp focused on providing meaningful enrichment activities for students to continue their English language acquisition while having fun.

The ELL (English Language Learners) Summer Experience ran from July 9-13 at Wilson School, welcoming students in grades 1-4 whose native languages are Russian, ...

Westfield Area YMCA: Take Swim Lessions This Summer

The Westfield Area YMCA is providing a free one-week guest pass to non-members which will also enable access to purchase a week of swim lessons at full member rates during the summer.  The one-week guest pass includes use of the Y’s fitness facilities, land and water group exercise classes and open gym/swim.

“Our goal is to have people of all ages and skill levels grow to ...

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper Welcomes Stephen A. Timoni to Firm

Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper P.C., announced that Stephen A. Timoni has joined the firm in its Westfield office. Stephen will focus his practice in the areas of Corporate and Health Care Law.

“Stephen brings additional depth and experience to our firm. He has tremendous experience in complex corporate, M&A and health care areas of practice. We anticipate that Stephen ...

Livingston Council Votes on Ordinance to Prohibit Vape Shops

July 19, 2018

LIVINGSTON, NJ — Concern about the increased use of electronic cigarettes and other vapor products were among the reasons why the Livingston Township Council adopted an ordinance prohibiting “vape shops,” or any establishment that primarily sells “electronic devices, liquid nicotine or vapor products,” in the township’s retail commercial ...


Eric Lieberman, 47, of Scotch Plains, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Tuesday, May 22, 2018 ...
Read more