Middle School Musical Finding Nemo Jr.: A Fish Story with Heart and Humor

Even before the opening curtain, it was clear that the Middle School musical, Finding Nemo Jr., would transport viewers to an undersea world. The Black Box theater had been transformed into a colorful coral reef, and Beach Boys tunes filled the air as the audience took their seats.

Based on the 2003 Pixar film, Finding Nemo Jr. tells a tale of overcoming fears and taking risks—themes likely to resonate with the Middle School students on the stage and in the audience. The movie has been reimagined as a tuneful treat full of big numbers, and the clever script compresses all the original’s humor and heart into a fast-moving 60 minutes.

Nemo (Leighton Giangrasso ’30) is a young clownfish being raised on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef by an anxious widowed father, Marlin (Patrick Minogue ’28). Nemo longs for adventure, but Marlin is determined that the youngster stay safe and close to home. (Perhaps another relatable theme for tweens.) When Nemo is captured and transported to the Sydney Aquarium—more adventure than they bargained for—Marlin must summon the courage to find his child, accompanied by the helpful but easily confused Dory (Julia Poe ’29). 

Along the way, all sorts of colorful characters are encountered, from Nemo’s schoolmates to a school of deeply conflicted sharks to the fellow denizens of the Aquarium, played by Paige Lyons ’30, James Ge ’30, RJ Francois ’28, Suzy Jolig ’30, Grace Mitrokostas ’30, and Ann Gloria Jean ’30, all in multiple roles. Special appearances by Upper School student Ceci Giebutowski ’25 and performing arts faculty member Zoe Iacovelli rounded out the cast. Head of Middle School John Bower made a cameo appearance as a beach bum in a bucket hat, eating goldfish (the Pepperidge Farm kind) on the shore. Director Diane DeVore, as always, displayed impressive creativity and inventiveness in bringing the undersea world to life. 

Colorful sets and props repurposed familiar materials in new ways, with shredded pool noodles forming stands of kelp and clear umbrellas festooned with lights serving as stinging jellyfish. 

The show’s producer, Julia Auster-Hogan ’06, said the show was an enjoyable one to put on. “Not only was the story familiar, but the addition of the catchy music made it fun to watch. The cast was excited and enthusiastic, which helped immensely since many of them had to play more than one role,” said Auster-Hogan. 

By the show’s end, despite the challenges along the way, Marlin and Nemo are reunited and back on the reef, and the lessons learned—about friendship and perseverance—are summed up in the final number, which also provides words to live by: “Just Keep Swimming Together.” 

Finding Nemo Jr. will be performed on May 16, 17, and 18. Click here for details and ticket information. 
333 Winter Street Weston, MA 02493
P: 781.235.9300 F: 781.239.3614