♪ HANNAH: I really love seeing a school of Asian American kids doing musical theater.
♪ NATASHA DEL TORO: In this theater club, the kids must learn their lines, rehearse their parts, and impress their skeptical parents.
WILLIAM: I like everything about acting.
WOMAN (in Mandarin): - I'm so nervous!
HANNAH: You're nervous?
DEL TORO: "Curtain Up!"
on America ReFramed.
♪ ♪ (music playing, crowd cheering) (cheering continues) They're waving at us!
♪ ALICE HOM: Students from PS 124 Theater Club in New York won National Honors and earned recognition at the 2019 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta.
(kids calling) ♪ BAAYORK: You're the only Asian group, you're the youngest group, and the only group from New York.
We were very special.
(excited chatter) (excited chatter continues) (chanting): Fifth-graders!
Back in the old days, all this would happen: white, Black, wall.
We'll be bridges.
♪ OLSEN: Our group was one of the first schools to be invited to do a pilot of Frozen Kids, a 30-minute adaptation of Frozen for the elementary school age.
♪ ♪ ♪ (distant children's chatter) HOM: I know a lot of you are looking at the script right now, right?
And seeing which character you might wanna try out for.
It's a great opportunity, we're doing Frozen Kids, and I can't wait to see what happens.
Can a boy be a girl's part and a girl's part be a boy?
I wanna be Elsa.
(children giggling) JACK: Good job.
Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Hans, all, those parts are going to be boy or girl.
(child shushing) However, Olaf, we're discussing, will probably be a gender-neutral.
Sven will be a gender-neutral.
HANNAH: Listen to the whole song on your CD, and then we'll tell you which parts that you're gonna be singing in front of us.
For Elsa, "Let It Go."
WILLIAM (in English): HANNAH: For Olaf, "In Summer."
STUDENT: ♪ In summer HANNAH: If you are auditioning for Kristoff... - That's me.
HANNAH: ...turn to page 23.
- 23 to what?
HANNAH: But you're gonna start somewhere in the middle of 23.
I like everything about acting.
You know how it happened?
Third grade, I was in a... spring show?
Chinese New Year show, a Chinese New Year show.
What happened was, after that, the teachers wanted me to go to theater club and then Mom said... (stern voice): "No, you cannot go to theater club.
You must do something else."
And then my, Miss Hom just kept on calling over and over again just so my mom can make me go to theater club.
After going to theater club, this is where I am now.
I like theater and my mom can't do anything about it.
- (laughing) And I think the king is going to be Max.
The queen is going to be... RUSSELL: Charlotte.
- Charlotte, yeah.
- Um, that's a bad combination, William.
- Who do you think Hans is gonna be?
I think Hans is gonna be Lucas.
(excited chatter) (playful humming) (laughing) Ow.
CHARLOTTE: I don't have a lot of confidence.
I don't know why, actually.
And I'm very... How do you call it?
AARON: There's a difference between being humble and being, like, very lowly, you know?
And Charlotte's, like, lowly, not humble.
(indistinct chatter) CHARLOTTE: I think I do have powers that people don't know about.
It's just that sometimes they assume things about me that I don't like.
(excited chatter) OLSEN: Okay, so we're just gonna look through all the songs.
Anytime in the scripts, if the text is in all caps, that means it's a song, okay?
One, two, ready, go.
ALL: ♪ Na na na heyana ♪ Nahiyaha naha ♪ Naheya heya na yanowa ♪ Nanahe yanowana - Good, some of us forgot the last hey, remember?
Arms up for the last hey.
ALL: ♪ Na na na heyana ♪ Nahiyaha naha ♪ Naheya heya na yanowa ♪ Nanahe yanowana (song ends) ♪ BAAYORK: This was our first.
And to see them all grown up now... To see them all grown up now.
♪ I was born and raised in Chinatown here in New York City.
They came looking for children for The King and I with Yul Brynner, and I was very lucky to get the job.
And so I was pushing my way up in the Western theater world.
At one point, I realized that I had not even thought about giving back to my own community, to give the opportunity to Asian actors and singers and dancers to be in shows that they would not be cast in in the Western theater.
And I thought, you know what?
Let's start them young.
(excited chatter) HANNAH: Thank you so much for coming to our auditions.
We're very excited to have you here.
I can't wait to see what you've all prepared.
CADENCE: I wanna audition for Anna, the Summer Chorus, the Snow Chorus, and Middle Anna.
You have to say Olaf.
- Of course Olaf.
CADENCE: She's totally gonna get Olaf, she's so funny.
Right now I'm auditioning for Olaf.
Like, one of my favorite characters.
I want to be Hans.
The bad guy.
STUDENT (laughing): No!
MAN: Come on, be serious!
(exhales) HANNAH: All right, so we're reading the Kristoff scene?
Yeah, and your sister who went all ice-crazy, and ruined my business!
HANNAH: Oh, no, it was my fault!
I got engaged to Prince Hans, but Elsa freaked out because I just met him, you know, today.
- Wait, you got engaged to someone you just met?
- Great job!
- Thank you, William.
I'm probably not gonna get anything anyway, because I'm in extended day.
Basically, you stay in with your teacher after school and you miss part of theater club.
- Who are you auditioning for?
- Who do you think?
JACK: I'm not gonna get it anyway.
You could use help?
My name's Kristoff and I sell ice for a living.
KYLE: Like, how can you use your face and your body?
I think you can do more.
OLSEN (plays note): One, two, ready, and sing.
(playing "For the First Time in Forever") - I couldn't find the page.
OLSEN: Oh, that's okay, I'm sorry.
♪ I'll finally see a summer breeze ♪ ♪ Blow away a winter storm ♪ And find out what happens to solid water ♪ ♪ When it gets warm ♪ And I can't wait to see ♪ What my buddies all think of me ♪ ♪ Just imagine how much cooler I'll be in summer ♪ (cheers and applause) (piano playing "Let it Go") (softly): ♪ Let it go, let it go ♪ ♪ Can't hold it back anymore (at full volume): ♪ Let it go, let it go ♪ You'll... see me cry ♪ Here I stand ♪ And here I stay ♪ Let the storm rage on (cheers and applause) KYLE: I know when I first got to PS 124, theater club wasn't widely accepted.
Like, it was a very chess-driven school.
Everything, they, they've won tournaments against high school children playing chess, and these are elementary school kids.
So when we first got there, their parents were kind of, like, "Okay, what is theater?
(laughing): "Why is my kid gonna "be doing this?
It's not something they're gonna pursue in life."
Like, "Why are they wasting their time?"
HANNAH: Does anyone jump out at you?
- I mean, more for Elsa.
KYLE: Than Anna.
OLSEN: You know, because Charlotte and Sydney were so strong.
HANNAH: They nailed it.
I think Sydney's a better actress.
HANNAH: Charlotte really stepped it up this past year, though.
- Like, I know, like, watching her in all of the stuff we gave her for Aladdin, she was always there.
And Sydney was, too, it's just, like, they're both great.
(chuckles) - Yeah.
What do we think about Hans and Kristoff?
OLSEN: You know, I think William could do whatever.
I think it's just a matter of what you think he's better suited for.
- Which one?
I really like Jack as one of them, too.
KYLE: I was just going to say.
Him, between him and Jack.
(exhaling repeatedly on "ch") HANNAH: Did we decide on Elsa and Anna?
- We're avoiding it?
- We decided on... nothing.
(playing slowly) MAN: Hm.
- I messed up!
So my brother, he was really good at acting and he was really confident, unlike me, and he got all the main characters and won for every single one.
It wasn't my fault, okay?
- I'm not blaming you!
My brother was, like, "You better follow in my footsteps."
And I'm, like, "Oh, my gosh," and then I audition and then I don't get in.
I mean, I don't get it.
And then he gets mad at me.
- I don't really get mad at you, I just, like... - You got mad at me... - Kind of disappointed.
- ...when I didn't get Annie.
You got really, really mad at me.
Okay, that's 'cause you, you could've been Annie, okay?
(distant children's chatter) OLSEN: At this point, we're about to pass out the cast list and everybody's gonna find out their roles.
Just what's something you should be keeping in mind, um, Jade?
- Always be grateful for your cast and roles.
OLSEN: WILLIAM: (laughter) I think when you do find out what part you are, that part is now your responsibility to be creative and have fun with, so that we can tell a really good story.
Does that make sense?
HANNAH: Yeah, Charlotte.
CHARLOTTE: HANNAH: Yeah, 'cause you're definitely a part of the whole story.
OLSEN: Okay, when we call you, please nicely come up and pick up a cast list.
(excited chatter) Fifth grade.
(excited chatter) I got Hans!
♪ - I'm Pabbie and... (murmurs) (excited chatter) WILLIAM: Angelina got Olaf!
STUDENT: Good job, Angelina!
(excited chatter) I feel proud of everybody.
Look at on yours.
Good job, everybody!
(excited chatter) I'm the storyteller, like, what the hell?
- I'm blah-blah!
- (laughing): What's that?
STUDENT: Ava Lam got Young Anna, cool!
Jack is Kristoff.
Wait a second... Angelina got Olaf.
- I know.
- So you're gonna be singing with Angelina.
- ♪ I can't wait to see BOTH: ♪ What my buddies all think of me ♪ ♪ Just imagine how much cooler I'll be in summer ♪ Jinx!
MAX: Jack, nice, you got Kristoff.
Now I have to, now I have to study and do... and do extended day!
♪ OLSEN: We are gonna sing a bunch of the songs, but now instead of singing everything, you'll be singing your part.
ANNA (on speaker): Elsa?
♪ Please, I know you're in there ♪ ♪ People are asking where you've been ♪ ♪ They say have courage and I'm trying to ♪ ♪ I'm right out here for you ♪ ♪ Just let me in ♪ JENNY (in Mandarin): WILLIAM: Hm?
I don't disagree, she's right.
MAN (laughing): Okay.
- Mom knows best.
(Jenny laughing) JENNY: You have to... what do I tell you?
You have to study and find a... - (quietly): Speak in Chinese.
(in Mandarin): MAN: What's your, what's your dream job, William?
- Eye doctor or, or, if my mom lets me, actor.
- (laughing): No!
JENNY (in Mandarin): (in English): Yeah, but the guy doesn't have to do everything!
- Of course.
- What, the guy has to do everything in the family?
- Isn't that a little sexist?
JENNY: Do you know how to write it?
The Chinese word.
- (speaking Mandarin) (children's chatter) - So let's just talk about... Let's talk about the story that we're going to tell.
A king and queen that died in a terrible ship accident.
Elsa and Anna were left by themselves and Elsa had to keep her powers secret from everyone, including Anna.
For some reason, there's this guy named Hans.
He falls in love with Anna, so then he can become king of Arendelle, but... Elsa gets angry because Anna is marrying somebody she just met, so then she shows her powers.
RUSSELL: And she's, like... (imitates scream softly) And then she runs away.
(laughter) STUDENT: Anna meets Kristoff and then they go off, try to find Elsa.
STUDENT: Elsa wanted her to stay away because she can't control her powers, but Anna did not listen and she froze her heart.
Kristoff decided to bring Anna to the hidden folks.
Pabbie examined her and they found out that she'd been struck in the heart.
They said, like, only an act of true love could help thaw out the ice.
Kristoff brings Anna to Hans, and then Hans reveals himself that he was lying, and that he just wanted to marry into the throne.
Then Anna sees Hans about to kill Anna-- Elsa... Elsa!
And then Anna runs to Elsa and then saves her, and then, yeah.
♪ KYLE: Great.
I think you got the whole story.
So we're gonna make a list of things you need to fill out.
Number one: name.
Number two: age.
Number three: a word that describes your character.
Number four: the energy, a physical energy of your character.
CHARLOTTE: What's the last one he just said?
(indistinct chatter) JACK: Do they have any friends?
If so, who are they?
KYLE: Number seven: your character voice.
Number eight: how does your character laugh?
Number nine: how does your character react when they are sad or crying?
Put some thought into this, and please have it by next week, and we will be sharing this, so please put some effort into it.
(indistinct chatter) JACK: Ah!
This one I love.
(muttering) (inhales sharply) JACK: It worked, did it not?
(device buzzes) (buzzing) This also works, but hold this.
Hold the metal.
(buzzing) Hold the metal, high-five.
(buzzing steadily) (buzzing stops) Watch this, high-five.
(buzzing continues on and off) (buzzing steadily) HANNAH: All right, you guys, we are going to start staging the very beginning of the show.
We're gonna use this area as the stage and we're gonna pretend that that side is the audience, okay?
You're gonna run together.
Na na na hey.
And on "hey," your arms are gonna go up.
Na na na hey na na.
KYLE: So, this has to be, like, "My friend, hi!"
Like, I haven't seen Hannah in a long time, like... - Oh, my gosh!
KYLE: Good morning!
You're just gonna run in a circle, this way.
Na na... Just like that.
Na heya... Heyanowa nowa... Good.
Na heya no ha na... Yeah.
(piano playing) Six, seven, eight.
STUDENTS: ♪ Na na na heyana ♪ Nahiyaha naha ♪ Naheya heya na yanowa ♪ Nanaheya nowana HANNAH: I think what's most interesting for me, 'cause I am half Asian, is, um...
I really love seeing a school of Asian American kids doing musical theater and doing things that historically... ...they haven't had many opportunities.
They being, like, um... Asian American actors and actresses and singers, dancers, tend to get pigeonholed into very specific shows or roles or ideas of who they are, and these kids get to express every aspect of themselves.
OLSEN: Charlotte, come.
KYLE: Come on, Charlotte.
HANNAH: Come on, Elsa.
("Let it Go" playing on piano) Okay, um... My name is Elsa, I'm 18 years old.
♪ A kingdom of isolation Things just go in my mind, but I don't share... KYLE: - Yeah.
♪ The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside ♪ I wanna be who I am.
My dream is to control my powers and be free from fear.
♪ Knows I tried (cheers and applause) HANNAH: Charlotte, that's so good!
We're going to just add a little bit more to that, okay?
Because that's already... that's already wonderful.
HANNAH and KYLE: Conceal, don't feel.
HANNAH: All your feelings, like, you're protecting yourself, okay?
You guys are all doing that, too.
These are the voices reminding her, like, "Be a good girl."
That's what this point is, okay?
STUDENT and HANNAH: Be a good girl.
Be the good girl you always have to be.
(in Mandarin): CHARLOTTE: My hot water is their cold...
Wait, let me think.
No, my hot water is their room-temperature water.
My really burning hot water is their hot water.
I just feel that that's how old people are.
They just love warm water.
HANNAH: Queen Elsa of Arendelle!
(applause) That's good.
It's been so many years, I forgot what a party felt like.
KYLE: You being really close to her.
Like, you're a little bit nervous.
You don't wanna be exposed, do you?
Does Elsa want everyone, all the attention on her?
- No, no.
Can you excuse me for a minute?
STUDENT and KYLE: Of course.
KYLE: So Elsa exits.
Hans is gonna be over here.
WILLIAM: Okay, my name is Hans.
I am age 17.
One word to describe myself is a liar.
(indistinct chatter) His voice is like my voice, but just a little twisted and dark.
HANNAH: Yeah, let's hear it.
♪ I've been searching my whole life to find my own place ♪ KYLE: Paint the story for her.
Because all my life, I've been searching... Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
♪ I've been searching KYLE: Yes!
- ♪ My whole life to find my own place ♪ So right now, all my brothers make fun of me because I'm 13th in line, and that's why I need to marry someone so I can become king of their kingdom.
KYLE: So now, but with you...
This is, like, "I've found my place, this is perfect!
I love you!
Like... WILLIAM: ♪ But with you ♪ ♪ I've found my place - ♪ I see your face BOTH: ♪ And it's nothing like I've ever known before ♪ KYLE: Good.
(indistinct chatter) ALVIN'S MOM (in Mandarin): ALVIN (whispers in English): - Oh.
It's hard for me to talk... make... communicate with anyone except for Daniel.
I don't know.
But at least, at least I'm getting enough room, 'cause I like it when it's sometimes peace and quiet.
Like, but unless, when the fun part goes, I don't like peace and quiet anymore.
RACHEL: Who are some other characters in our story who have magic powers?
RACHEL: Bulda, yes, and her friend, named?
RACHEL: Pabbie, awesome, awesome.
Are you Pabbie?
RACHEL: I could tell.
You were very excited.
If Elsa's powers are rooted in fear, the hidden folks' powers are rooted in... STUDENT: Kindness.
RACHEL: And love!
So I want you think of a hidden folk love pose.
Like, a healing, love, hidden folk pose.
Three, two, one.
(giggling, indistinct chatter) RACHEL: Nice!
STUDENTS: Happy birthday!
(indistinct chatter) (cheers and applause) WOMAN: That's so sweet, thank you so much!
Stop, just stop.
DANIEL (in English): JACK: You're being mean to him.
DANIEL: MAX: Yeah, 'cause I'm Chinese Asian!
- (chortling) MAX (in Mandarin): (laughter) I can't even speak Chinese, but I know that's bad.
LUCAS (in English): - Because whenever... LUCAS: (speaking Mandarin) The meaning of that is shut up.
(student speaking Korean) Whatever word comes out of that mouth, especially the Chinese ones... STUDENT: Yeah.
STUDENT: Who's Asian here?
- Not you!
MAX: I'm 100% Chinese.
- I'm Korean, I'm Cantonese, and I'm Chinese.
JACK: Oh, my God.
STUDENT: Can we not do this bragging battle again?
WILLIAM: No, I'm Malaysian.
MAX: Talk about your skin color!
- (laughing) - You're darker than me.
MAX: What do you mean?
(shushing) JENNY: - I don't like that one.
JENNY: - No... JENNY: - (coughing) (reading in Mandarin) (repeating more forcefully) (reading continues) (indistinct chatter, laughter) I messed up again!
JENNY: Yeah, you're confused.
WOMAN: It's okay.
JENNY: It's okay, yeah.
- (reading in Mandarin, others joining in) (reading haltingly) (shouts) JENNY: WILLIAM (in Mandarin): JENNY: WILLIAM (in Mandarin): (in Cantonese): JENNY (laughing, in Mandarin): (William responds) I like being Asian, 'cause it's where I come from and it's pretty weird, 'cause, like, curriculum in, like, Chinatown, why don't they teach about Chinese people?
All they teach about is Christopher Columbus, but they don't show, like, what kind of people we were back then.
And then why I don't like Mandarin?
'Cause I don't like to do homework.
(traditional Chinese music playing) BAAYORK: Chinatown was very, very small when I was growing up, but at that time, a lot of families did not want their children to speak Chinese because they had moved from all their different countries to become American, and it's very different now, because now people want to know about their history, they want to speak their language, they want to identify with their country, and so, you know, going back to my father's village in China, I was so embarrassed that I couldn't speak.
My cousins, you know, had to translate for me, and so, I'm sorry that I didn't, I didn't learn.
So let's be extra-excited to have videos on us today, 'cause now it's gonna be, like, public video, so if you're singing and you look really bored, then a lot of people might see that.
So let's all be super-excited to sing one, one, two, one.
Ready, one, two, ready, sing.
(playing piano) STUDENTS: ♪ One ♪ One two one ♪ One two three two one ♪ One two three four three two one ♪ ♪ One two three four five four three two one ♪ BAAYORK: If you're eight or nine years old and you've just come from a atmosphere of, you know, very insulated in Chinatown, but when we go out into real world, we have to open our eyes and see that the Asian community is not that represented in American theater.
This is about being a part of America.
OLSEN: One, two, three.
(children's chatter) STUDENTS (loudly): ♪ We're on a NYC ♪ Adventure OLSEN: Guys, guys.
BAAYORK: We have to represent our school, so calm down.
STUDENT: What are you doing?
- All right?
We can't show them that we are, come from Chinatown and we are just babbling idiots, okay?
STUDENT: No, we're, we're the babbling idiots.
(laughter) - Okay, let's start.
STUDENT: ♪ We are the ba... ♪ STUDENTS: ♪ ...buh... STUDENT: ♪ ...ling STUDENTS: ♪ Idiots BAAYORK: I'm very proud to present my company from PS 124, the Yung Wing Elementary School, singing Frozen.
♪ The wind is howling like the swirling storm inside ♪ ♪ Couldn't keep it in ♪ Heaven knows I tried "Love is an Open Door" on stage, let's go.
(children's chatter) GIRL (on speaker): ♪ But with you ♪ BOY (on speaker): ♪ But with you I've found my place ♪ GIRL: ♪ I see your face ♪ BOTH: ♪ And it's nothing like ♪ ♪ I've ever known before ♪ Boo!
♪ Love is an open door ♪ ♪ Love is an open door ♪ (clapping to beat) ♪ Love is an open door with you ♪ (Kyle calling out directions) ♪ With you, with you, with you ♪ ♪ Love is an open door ♪ (holding note) You need to touch hands, I'm sorry.
- They're gonna fall off!
HANNAH: And then you're gonna open the door-- sh!
That's not okay, Russell.
HANNAH and KYLE: Love is an open... KYLE: No, we're not going on until you touch.
HANNAH: What Mr. Kyle and I are asking for is this: Love is an open door... And what we saw was this...
This is what we saw.
(laughter) That's not holding hands.
This is holding hands, right?
Mr. Kyle and I are holding hands.
You guys can do it, too.
So here's the thing.
So every time you're holding somebody's hand on stage, you just have to get over it, just take a deep breath, hold their hand.
'Cause if you're not, we're gonna have to have homework and you're gonna have to hold hands during break.
(students groaning) - (giggling) (din of the street) BUS ANNOUNCEMENT: This stop is Park Row and St. James Place.
OLSEN: That building with the wooden, that was the old Chinatown McDonald's that closed.
♪ And the rockets' red glare ♪ The bombs bursting in air ♪ Gave proof through the night So we're gonna listen to a couple of different countries' national anthems.
(kids talking excitedly) ("March of the Volunteers" playing) (singing on recording in Mandarin) It felt like it was, like... GRANDMA (speaking Mandarin): (laughter) Yeah.
(laughter) JENNY (laughing): WILLIAM: First day, I was, like, thinking about what my mom always says, "You have to man up," and the second day, everyone was crying, so I said, "I give up."
So I just started crying.
JENNY: I look depressed.
JENNY: (laughing) WILLIAM: Worst memory, first day.
They made us change into our clothes in 20 seconds, and some people didn't do it in that amount of time, and I had to do it in 20 seconds, it was, like, whoa... And then if you didn't, you get put on stage, and then they just start hitting you.
JENNY: Stop it!
(laughs) WILLIAM: Yeah, no, they actually did that!
It was so scary!
So they made it, yeah, it was really scary and traumatizing experience.
So, they gave us a ton of crap.
JENNY (speaking Mandarin): WILLIAM: Uh, just about me, scared and everything, and they put check marks and they read everything and they wrote the word "great" on it-- so creepy.
WILLIAM: They wrote the word "great" on it, and I'm, like, me depressed is great, yeah, cool.
(laughter) JENNY: GRANDMA: - Fine.
But I have better-looking shoes.
(Grandma hisses) GRANDMA: - No, just Adidas.
(Grandma chuckles) GRANDMA: WILLIAM: Just grab this bad boy... And we're off.
JENNY: WILLIAM: Yeah... they're jiggly.
TIFFANY: It's jiggly.
Wanna know where my name comes from?
JENNY: - He's a singer-- Mom named you after a singer.
(laughter) Punk rock-- punk.
TIFFANY: Punk rock!
He's the father of Chinese rock.
TIFFANY: And he's called "Lao Cui."
JENNY (laughs): Lao Cui!
Is he handsome?
(laughter) JENNY: Not like you.
WILLIAM: He's your twin!
(laughter) (indistinct chatter) SHIRLEE: Right over here, baby doll-- switch places, come over here.
Are you regular Elsa?
Come over here.
All right, stand, and you're middle Elsa, right?
Nice and tall, smile for me.
Fabulous, all right.
You're all Elsas, right?
(indistinct chatter) Okay, and all of you... STUDENT: Are Anna.
SHIRLEE: Are Anna.
(cheers) SHIRLEE: Hi, Hans, nice and tall for me.
Kristoff... Who are you, the king?
STUDENT: She said the queen!
SHIRLEE: Kristoff, right?
SHIRLEE: Who are you?
- The king.
- The king!
And you are?
- And you are?
You're gonna take Jack, and you're going to roll him down the line, so when Jack comes to you... (kids laughing) ...all you're doing... (giggles) Watch, please, you're just taking his shoulders and turning him.
STUDENTS: ♪ We're only saying that love's a force ♪ ♪ That's powerful and strange ♪ People make bad choices if they're mad ♪ ♪ Or scared or stressed KYLE: One!
STUDENTS: ♪ Throw a little love their way ♪ HANNAH: Are you okay, honey?
HANNAH: Was it too much?
- I'm okay.
HANNAH: Are you sure?
(strumming and singing quietly) (stops): Aw, shoot.
(resumes playing and humming) MARK: I'm a musician, so I want my kids to love music.
I don't particularly want them to be a musician, per se, but, but definitely, you know, to still be involved in it and have a passion for it.
- He's always loved performing and stuff, so it'd been nice to see him also feel more confident on stage and just really enjoy, you know... Like he said to me the other day, what performance was it?
I can't remember what it was now, and you're, like, you know, "I felt so alive on stage."
(piano playing) (playing Beethoven's Symphony No.
7, second movement) (finish piece) MARK: Why doesn't... Why doesn't Jack pray for us first?
- Dear God, thank You for today.
Thank You for the food on the table and thank You for Hui and Kelly being here, amen.
(slurping) FEILI YE (speaking Mandarin): (laughs) CHARLOTTE: She's bragging about the country.
FEILI: Of course, it's always my country!
- She sides with China in the Olympics and I side with the U.S. FEILI: Yeah!
- And then she gets so angry when I side with the U.S.
CHOREOGRAPHER: Left, five, six, and seven... (music playing on computer) CHARLOTTE: My mom really wanted to make a lasting impression, 'cause it was my last show.
She just tried to teach me voice lessons, and then my brother would help me by criticizing me by just saying, "You're off pitch, you're off tune, you're saying this wrong."
It's easier to be scared than happy.
- Okay, so what is the answer?
- Easier to be scared than happy.
- Bye-bye, bye-bye!
KYLE: Elsa's gonna go... She's finally gonna start, like, experimenting with her power.
So she's gonna say... (on speaker): ♪ Let it go ♪ - Good!
♪ Let it go, can't hold it back anymore ♪ KYLE: Think about what you're saying, let it go!
♪ Let it go, let it go ♪ ♪ Turn away and slam the door ♪ ♪ I don't care ♪ ♪ What they're going to say ♪ ♪ Let the storm rage on ♪ ♪ The cold never bothered me anyway ♪ CHARLOTTE: I know that I won't get a lot of jobs as an Asian American, because you have to be... - What are you saying?
- No, as an actor.
You have to be the best of the best.
- No, it's just 'cause Asians aren't good at acting.
WOMAN: You think so?
- I think so, yeah.
'Cause I never like the Chinese dramas that my mom watches.
- No, because the musicals, in musicals, they need, like... - They're always boring.
CHARLOTTE: ...good actors, for-- and, like, when they need a Asian American, of course they're gonna pick the top best, and I don't think I might choose-- be the top best... - So are you saying that we, that you feel segregated?
Okay, this is not from me, this is from my mom, so... That's what she said, so he just crushed my dreams.
WILLIAM: You know what my mom told me?
She says the principal of my Chinese school says... "Asian people are horrible at acting."
You know what was so funny?
- Not horrible.
I mean, cannot be.
- Cannot be acting.
You know what's so funny?
- I watched Crazy Rich Asians-- what do you think, Mom?
You didn't even fall asleep in that movie.
JENNY (laughs): I always sleep!
Like, every single movie, she's, like... (snores) - (laughs) I bet you, I bet you if she hasn't watched that movie, she would be asleep right now, and you look, every single day, they watch TV and it's all Chinese people, and they say, they say Ch... And they say Asian people cannot be actors.
What do they watch every day?
- (laughs) - Also, you know how they say Chinese people are good at math?
Well, that's just stupid.
WILLIAM: ♪ But difference isn't hateful ♪ Difference could be swell ♪ Different is just... well... ♪ ♪ Different (cheering) (chorus singing) ALL: ♪ Warts and all JENNY (in Mandarin): Yeah, it's okay.
(laughs) WOMAN: You did good.
- You did good!
WOMAN: We're all proud of you.
(laughter) ♪ HOM: Welcome to our 16th annual career day-- this is something I started when I first became principal here.
We have our returning Rocky Chin, attorney... (applause) CHIN: Yung Wing actually is not just somebody who came here, went to school at this school, and then, but he actually went back to China and he convinced those dynasty folks to send young Chinese-- all boys at the time-- to America to study.
So what do you think was the reason that program stopped?
There was a law that passed, laws which said that we're gonna close our doors to the Chinese just because they're Chinese.
And also because, in those days, the dynasty didn't want those Chinese boys coming here, getting to become Americanized.
They actually played baseball and things like that.
They got too Americanized, according to the old-fashioned Chinese.
I'm also an immigrant in the U.S., but I bet you you'll never guess what country I come from.
MAN: That's a good guess, but it's very close to Brazil, right next to Brazil-- okay.
ADOLFO LEE: Yes.
MAN: How'd you guess Argentina?
- Because I looked on your website.
LEE: Oh, wow!
(others reacting) You did your research.
(laughter) JEFFREY KWAN: You know, some of you are fifth grade, you're getting your, you're finding out where you're going to middle school, right?
KWAN: Not yet?
WILLIAM: I found out.
KWAN: You happy?
That's why I appealed.
STUDENT: I guess.
KWAN: Well, whatever life deals you, you gotta work hard at, you know?
You gotta take it as a lesson-- sure.
So what I'm doing is, I'm... WILLIAM: M.A.T., which my sister got into with one three and one four, and I'm so sad 'cause I got two fours and I didn't get in.
So then, the next one I picked was Clinton, 'cause I love, I love art and theater's basically art.
I didn't get into that, either.
I'm going to hell... Oh, wait, all schools are hell.
But for real, I'm going to LMC.
- I'm going to LAB, and I'm very happy.
I'm not gonna be happy at all.
- Because I don't get to see any more of my friends.
MAN: Oh, no one's going with you?
- No friends!
JACK: In middle school, it's almost guaranteed that I'm going to be around different races, not just Asian, because then I won't have all these people... (coughs): My friends... (coughs) ...talking Cantonese behind my back.
Solve the problem, just write the equations.
- Okay, okay, okay.
- And then answer the question, does it solve for...
The whole idea of middle school was to start over.
Well, I want to start over.
And I wanna make some new friends and make some real friends, because, like, everyone in your class is fake friends.
Mommy, can you open this?
FEILI: For what?
- No, don't.
She just wants to play games.
- (giggling) FEILI: That's your brother's phone.
Why you wanna open that?
- Because I wanna play games.
FEILI: No, can you give me the phone?
(Aaron chuckling) I know that not a lot of middle schools in New York have good theater programs.
But there is modern dancing in LAB and I might join it.
FEILI: They have a citywide school audition, actually.
FEILI: Yeah, they have that.
- Dance audition or school?
FEILI: For the theater.
For the theater.
- I wanna do it!
FEILI: You wanna do it?
- I wanna do it!
I wanna do it!
FEILI: All right, I think I give you the link, right?
- You didn't give me the link!
FEILI: Yeah, I didn't give you the link, because I think that link is for high school, that's why I didn't give you.
(laughs) (speaking Mandarin): (Aaron responds) FEILI: It's gonna be tied on, and then I'm gonna pull it off.
Pull the knot off.
CHARLOTTE: And then two people behind me are gonna pull it off.
And you practiced that?
- Yeah, and she's, like, "Oh, Miss Shirlee might come on the day before the show," and you know what I'm thinking?
What if the costume doesn't fit?
She didn't even measure... AARON: What if you trip on the cape?
- Then I trip on it and I fall and I get a bruise, then I die.
MAN: Aaron, have you ever thought of being an actor in the future?
AARON: I used to, and then I realized puberty was a thing.
- He always talks like this.
(in low voice): "I'm fine."
(giggles) - What?
(giggles) (murmurs): ...smile.
We have some news that we wanted to share with you first because you are working with Mr. Olsen.
So, he's going to tell you while I turn around.
My wife got a job teaching at a college in a town called Kirksville, Missouri, so that means that sadly, this is my last year at PS 124.
Next year we get... OLSEN: Some of you in this room I've known since my first day at PS 124 in Pre-K, and I've seen you guys grow up and...
I'm gonna be a music teacher in Missouri, and the whole school is only 120 kids.
It's literally, like, in a farm, like, I visited this school last week, and it's, like, you drive up and there's cows across the street.
(laughter) - They might be the students!
(laughs) Yes-- William.
WILLIAM: Can we sneak on your plane, please, so you can't go there?
OLSEN: I think you'd probably get in trouble for sneaking on my plane, but... (chuckles) Oh, thank you, guys.
STUDENT: - Yes, go ahead.
STUDENT: Can we stalk you?
- You can-- I'll come back and visit.
I'll come back and visit, I promise.
STUDENT: ...coming back any other year?
- Are you coming back any other year?
OLSEN: No, I have to start, I have to move this summer, but I'll come back and visit.
(chuckles) STUDENT: - Yeah, let's move to Missouri.
- Yeah, now that we went under 21 students!
- Bye-bye, thank you.
STUDENT: Bye, Mr. Olsen.
- Bye, thanks, girls, bye, bye, Daniel.
♪ HANNAH: What we're going to do, in your groups, to come up with the tableau of Arendelle at the very end of the show.
So how your characters are feeling and interacting.
- I'm bored.
HANNAH: Can you come to this window?
Scoot over, you're gonna be-- thank you.
STUDENT: In the last picture, everyone cheers!
(indistinct loud chatter) - Yeah, we drag him, drag him in!
Yeah, you drag him!
STUDENT: I'm dragging him!
STUDENT: This is like a epilogue.
(indistinct chatter) - Oh, what?
(laughing) STUDENT: He died, because of the prison!
(indistinct chatter) - Are you okay?
- This was supposed to be happy!
- He's laughing, I think.
- He's laughing.
- He's laughing.
- He's not crying.
WILLIAM: You had to kick me in the head and then smack me in the face?!
- I didn't kick you in the head or smack you in the face.
- It's her.
- I didn't!
- I'm not doing this.
(indistinct chatter) - I didn't touch even touch him!
(indistinct chatter) - I didn't do anything except for the hair.
- My group kicked me in the head and then smacked me in the face.
(kids yelling) - I'm just standing here!
I didn't touch him!
OLSEN: Don't be defensive.
Somebody hit William in the head.
It's not acceptable.
- I didn't hit his head, I only touched it.
- With your foot or your hands?
- With my... hands.
- Whose foot was involved with William's head?
WOMAN: Keep going, keep working, please!
(indistinct chatter) - As a group, you're not being safe right now.
So you have to make a better choice so that William doesn't get hurt.
As a group, okay?
(indistinct chatter) HANNAH: Let's pretend that Hans is now a good guy again, okay?
Let's make a happy ending.
Make a happy ending picture, ready, set, go.
STUDENT: Uh, happy ending picture!
Why don't we start... STUDENT: Party time!
STUDENT: Oh well, he's dead.
STUDENT: Why are you sleeping?!
(laughter) STUDENT: Guys, they already have their picture-- we have nothing.
- We did nothing, they already have the picture!
(kids yelling) STUDENT: We're going to sleep.
STUDENT: Yeah, go to sleep.
Sleeping is a very good picture.
STUDENT (laughs): Yeah, sleeping's a very good picture.
- Okay, I think we need to help them a little more, yeah.
Do you want them to mirror that side?
William and Weselton, arms up, please.
STUDENT: HANNAH: They're doing it slightly different.
But you guys are different characters, so it's okay.
These are your final poses.
(indistinct chatter) STUDENT: You're copying us!
STUDENT: (indistinct chatter) ♪ KARYN: I just need your thumbprint and your signature, okay?
Put your bag down.
Okay, sign your name.
STUDENT: It's so pretty!
KARYN: Thank you, guys-- don't tell Mr. Olsen!
STUDENT: Maybe this color?
♪ - Now what do I do?
♪ (car horns, rain falling) HANNAH: Okay, we're gonna start bringing in props and costumes.
You only, only, only touch a prop or a piece of scenery if it is your job and you only do it during the show, agreed?
STUDENT: Alvin, oh, my God!
OLSEN and STUDENT: ♪ Be the good girl you always have to be ♪ ♪ Conceal ♪ Don't feel, put on a show ♪ ♪ Make one wrong move and everyone... ♪ STUDENTS: ♪ Let it... ♪ Go!
(song ends) HANNAH: Jocelyn, you gotta spit out the gum.
You can't sing with that in your mouth.
Why would you be in theater club, have spent the last couple of months working on a show, and then do a level-three performance for your friends and family and not try?
STUDENT: I know that a lot of people wants to be famous, like, and they're always reaching for fame and glory, so...
I guess we're just doing this for fame?
KYLE: Okay, interesting, now-- yes, Cadence?
We were not thinking of what our show could be.
We're only thinking about what it is right now and that's... KYLE: Yes, what do you want your show to be?
And you can be all those things.
So why are you not doing it?
We have two-ish more days to practice it.
There are certain songs where, like, you were not singing at all.
KYLE: You have to be proud of this.
This is the last time you're probably gonna do, this is your last show here.
This is important, this is your last show here.
HELEN: Tomorrow's your final rehearsal, right?
(giggling) It's gonna be my final rehearsal.
MARK: And how are you feeling about that?
- Mix of happy and sad.
It's like the last, last thing before the show, but I'm sad because I'm leaving PS 124.
F.Y.I., Jonah, all the seats are filled up.
HELEN: Don't scare him.
JONAH: They just said that three times!
MARK: Don't feel nervous or anything.
Like, no pressure, no pressure.
SHIRLEE (calling): Girls, if you're in the show, we're in here getting dressed, you might wanna come or we'll shut the door-- let's go!
- Oh, my God!
(groaning) ♪ SHIRLEE: Yeah.
Hang on, Elsa-- it's not always about Elsa.
♪ STUDENT: Yeah, he looks like a girl!
(giggling) I'm so nervous!
WOMAN: You're nervous?
♪ HOM: You need to project your voice.
STUDENT: Jade, we can suffer together.
We'll make America great again.
♪ HANNAH: You guys, doing theater and doing shows are fun!
♪ Get some sleep, get some sleep.
♪ OLSEN: Test test test test test.
Test test, test test.
WOMAN: 'Cause they're all going to different schools, right?
OLSEN: It's, like, anticipation of a change.
They're not just gonna be, like, you know, they're not the only Chinese kids.
Like, it's not just gonna be, like, one culture anymore.
- You know, it's gonna... (song playing) OLSEN: You should not be in here.
Please go back with the rest of the group.
Also, I don't want them to see me cry.
SHIRLEE: Well, Ryan, are you ready for your last show?
- Gotta be ready now.
♪ (indistinct chatter) - So just follow them.
(indistinct chatter) JENNY (in Mandarin): HOM: Please sit back and get ready for the Frozen Kids pilot production.
♪ Na na na heyana ♪ Nahiyaha naha ♪ Naheya heya na yanowa ♪ Naheya yunowana ♪ Love is an open door WILLIAM: I used to be shy a lot, and then now, wherever I go, I'm, like, "Hi, how has your day been?
"Have you done a good job today at whatever you've been doing for the rest of your life?"
♪ Hans, Elsa accidentally froze my heart and only an act of true love can save me.
If there was only someone out there who loved you.
- But you said you did!
- I lied!
♪ So he's a bit of a fixer-upper ♪ ♪ But this we're certain of ♪ You can fix this fixer-upper ♪ ♪ Up with a little bit of love ♪ ♪ Listen ♪ We're not sayin' you can change him ♪ ♪ 'Cause people don't really change ♪ ♪ We're only saying that love's a force ♪ ♪ That's powerful and strange ♪ People make bad choices if they're mad or scared ♪ WILLIAM: What do you know about true love?
The party's over, close the gates!
- Elsa, no, what are you so afraid of?
- I said enough!
(shattering) - What's happening?
- Ice, it's ice!
Monster, she's a monster!
- I'm not a monster, leave me alone!
♪ Well, now they know ♪ Let it go, let it go ♪ ♪ Can't hold it back anymore ♪ Let it go ♪ Let it go, turn away... ♪ CHARLOTTE: I used to be really, like, part of the crowd and now it's like a time where I'm free and I can do what I usually am not able to do.
♪ The cold never bothered me anyway ♪ ♪ ♪ I'm never going back ♪ The past is in the past ♪ Let it go, let it go ♪ ♪ And I'll rise with the break of dawn ♪ ♪ Let it go ♪ Let it go ♪ That perfect girl is gone ♪ Here I stand in the light of day ♪ ♪ Let the storm rage on ♪ The cold never bothered me anyway ♪ (holds final note, others singing) (cheers and applause) ♪ Let our true love grow ♪ Let it... ♪ Go!
(song ends) (cheers and applause) (laughter) - I'm so proud of you guys!
- I was so awful... - Did you notice what happened in the beginning?
MARK: What happened?
- I didn't have my dress shoes on.
MARK: You didn't?
(laughs) KARYN: And on behalf of all the kids, we love you, I love you, and we wish you well.
- This is, like, this is the real deal.
Oh, look at that.
It's everybody's fingerprint.
STUDENT: Picture time!
MAN: We'll take a picture.
♪ You are the Drama Mama Mama!
- Drama Mama!
♪ ALVIN: Sometimes I think of myself as an adventurer, 'cause I really wanna see what's out there beyond the lands.
I want to get to know about how it feels like to be a leader of the crew.
CHARLOTTE: When I was, like, younger, before theater club, I thought I could become an engineer, and...
But once I got, like, theater club, I thought I could really actually maybe become an actor.
Life throws you curve balls, where I still have a lot to go in my life, and this is just another step.
♪ ♪ WILLIAM: If you're starting a new year, at, like, a new school, a new everything.
And my mom said that she asked my school and told them, "Why don't you guys got a theater club?"
♪ Okay, that's it, okay, bye.
♪ (speaking Mandarin) CHARLOTTE: I don't wanna always be around Asian people, because I know that if I always be with Asian people, I won't be ready for... being me, being let go to the real world, but, like, literally, there's, like, one Asian in my class.
It's mostly white girls.
(sighs): I just feel like I can't be myself around them.
I have to be, like, perfect-- it's hard.
JACK: I think that's pretty nice, actually, to know different ethnicities after being in 99.99% Asian.
I don't want a Cheez-It, thank you.
♪ How's theater club, like, now that Ms. Young has taken over?
(woman singing "Circle of Life" from The LionKing) (repeating line) (playing rhythm) Okay, I'm just gonna go in order of the show.
Young Nala is Olivia.
(cheers and applause) And Pumba is Angelina.
(cheers and applause) Banzai is Alvin.
(cheers and applause) (singing "Circle of Life") (singing) ♪ There's far too much to take in here ♪ ♪ More to find than can ever be found ♪ ♪ But the sun rolling high through the sapphire sky ♪ ♪ Keeps great and small on the endless round ♪ ♪ It's the circle of life (laughter) HANNAH: Great job, guys!
♪ ♪ ♪ ♪