Lincoln Elementary actors ‘Press Start’

Staff Writer
Since 2013, I have primarily covered the Anoka-Hennepin and Spring Lake Park school districts as well as the city of Spring Lake Park for ABC Newspapers.

The Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts gymnasium was filled with 8-bit music March 2 and 3, setting the stage for a production featuring video game characters from audience members’ youth, as well as more modern characters.

Fourth- and fifth-graders starred in the new children’s musical “Press Start,” playing familiar characters with names slightly altered to avoid copyright infringement. Marco the Plumber, Spikey Turtle and Little Mushroom were all easily recognizable. Princess Pomegranate stepped in for her cousin Princess Peach because she was tied up for the evening, according to Young Adventurer, who bore a strong resemblance to Link from “The Legend of Zelda.”

The show took the form of a musical fundraiser. Characters had run out of lives and had a goal of collecting 5,000 gold rings so that heroes, villains and sidekicks could all play on.

Young Adventurer, played by Rayna Kuehn, and Princess Pomegranate, played by Emily Farrell, hosted the fundraiser, which featured a number of musical performances.

In the end, Little Mushroom, played by Malayah Williams, transcended her role as a sidekick and became a hero by tap dancing to inspire donations. Adrian Peterson, played by Pierre Hendry-Thomas, gave her the encouragement she needed.

The entire Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts student body filed into the gym to see the show during the school day March 2. The community was invited to the Anoka school for performances the evenings of March 2 and 3.

“This show came together really last minute,” director Rachel Gaspar said.

As an arts magnet school, Lincoln puts on two productions annually.

“It just gives them so much confidence,” which often translates to the classroom, said Gaspar, a fourth-grade teacher at Lincoln.

Gaspar said more students auditioned for the production this year.

“I got a lot of actors because of the video games,” she said.

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Though they are rivals in video game story lines, Marco the Plumber, played by Kassie Welsh, and Spikey Turtle, played by Lizzie Waters, are old friends in “Press Start” a new children’s musical. The show played March 2 and 3 at Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts. Photos by Olivia Alveshere Young Adventurer, played by Rayna Kuehn, and Princess Pomegranate (Princess Peach was tied up), played by Emily Farrell, serve as hosts for video game characters’ musical fundraiser. Little Mushroom, played by Malayah Williams, yearns to be more than just a sidekick. The villains get together for a kick line. Pac Ann, played by Lizzy Grabau, cuts the feed on the musical fundraiser when fellow video game characters try to push her into retirement.
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Though they are rivals in video game story lines, Marco the Plumber, played by Kassie Welsh, and Spikey Turtle, played by Lizzie Waters, are old friends in “Press Start” a new children’s musical. The show played March 2 and 3 at Lincoln Elementary School for the Arts. Photos by Olivia Alveshere