Posted: Jan 24, 2023 8:00 AM

Newtown High School’s Unified Theater program presented its original show titled Forward to the past January 14 and 15, in the high school auditorium. The show was based on donations instead of having tickets to sell.

Before Sunday matinee, as guests began to fill the audience seats, the students rehearsed in the music room with Unified Theater teacher Janice Gabriel.

gabriel said The Newtown Bee“They’ve worked so hard. If they’re having fun, that’s what matters.”

Students could be seen around the room eagerly practicing their lines and dance moves in groups, as well as individually.

At 2 p.m. sharp, Gabriel stood in front of the stage’s red curtain to greet everyone attending the afternoon show.

She explained how students of all levels worked together to organize, write and direct the play themselves.

“It’s my best time of year to see the students perform on stage…I can promise you’ll leave here smiling,” Gabriel said.

Production began with a group from the future visiting a museum. They lived in a society where music was not allowed and decided to enter a time machine to collect music from different time periods.

“We have to save the music,” a student announced during the play before entering the time machine.

The group dates back to the Stone Age, where the musical theme of The Flintstones could be heard playing.

Then they went to the 1960s where they discovered vinyl records. At that time, they were listening to The Beach Boys while eating ice cream.

While exploring the music of the 1970s, they listened to the Bee Gees and did some disco dancing.

The cast also did a choreographed dance number to Michael Jackson’s hit song “Thriller” while on a trip to the 1980s.

Then, in the 1990s, the band encouraged the band Ace of Base to record and release their song “The Sign”.

Forward to the past also featured Britney Spears’ 2000s single “Oops!…I Did It Again” and Miley Cyrus’ song “Party in the USA” representing the 2010s.

The band even traveled to 2022 and heard OneRepublic’s song “I Ain’t Worried” while playing basketball on stage.

By the end of the play, the music had been saved thanks to time travelers and people encountered along the way.

The performers curtseyed as the crowd cheered and applauded.

Journalist Alissa Silber can be reached at

Newtown High School’s Unified Theater program performs a choreographed dance to Michael Jackson’s song “Thriller” during the production of Forward To The Past on Sunday, January 15. —Bee Photos, Silber

Students in the Newtown High School Unified Theater performance of Forward To The Past travel to the 1970s and disco at the Bee Gees.

In Forward To The Past, a group of people from the future use a time machine to visit different eras to save music.

Newtown High School Unified Theater teacher Janice Gabriel walks through the script with students before the performance of Forward To The Past on Sunday, January 15.

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