New Jersey students perform Holocaust-inspired Opera

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RED BANK -

Some New Jersey students are learning about history through music as part of the Count Basie Theatre opera camp.

The students are rehearsing the children's opera “Brundibar,” which has its origins in the Holocaust. It was first performed by children in a Czechoslovakian concentration camp.

“There's this big bad guy, Brundibar, and all the kids joining together and use peace to sort of make life good again,” says student Cakie Dym. “I think by doing this, we're showing what can happen in the world."

Director Eli Villanueva says that he thinks that the students understand that the show is “unusual theater.”

“Hopefully they understand there's a responsibility to tell the story, not in a trite way, but in a way that inspires all of us,” he says.

Some say that the play may have new significance after last weekend’s deadly clashes at a white supremacist rally in Virginia.

Holocaust survivor Henry Shery, 87, spoke with some of the children Wednesday. He says that what is happening now is on his mind as much as it was when he was a child under Nazi rule.

“It looks like history is repeating,” he says. “And it’s a very scary time.”

Brundibar will be performed at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank on Saturday. Information about the performance can be found at the theater’s website.

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