Summer Stage Travels To The Island of Motunui With The Premiere of Disney’s Moana, Jr.

Upper Darby Summer Stage invites audiences to join Moana as she sets sail in the Summer Stage premiere of Disney’s Moana, Jr! With performances on July 13th, 14th, & 15th at 10:30am and July 14th at 7:00pm, Disney’s Moana, Jr. tells the story of an adventurous girl as she takes to sea and discovers just how far she’ll go.

Disney’s Moana, Jr. is part of this year’s series of family-friendly, hour-long shows presented by Upper Darby Summer Stage’s Children’s Theatre program. Tickets range from $10 – $14 and may be purchased online any time at or by calling the Box Office at 610.814.7270 during office hours Monday thru Thursday from 1pm to 4pm. The Upper Darby Performing Arts Center is located in Drexel Hill, at 601 N. Lansdowne Avenue, just minutes from the Main Line and Center City. Parking is free. 

In Disney’s Moana, Jr., Moana (Lizzie McKenzie of Drexel Hill) boards a boat and leaves the island of Motunui to save her village and discover the truth about her heritage. Along her journey, things get complicated when she meets the legendary demigod Maui (Nicholas Borgesi of Drexel Hill), but he becomes her partner in crime in no time as they set out to restore the heart of Te Fiti (Inna Harris of Collingdale). Guided by the wisdom of her grandmother, the lessons from her father, Chief Tui (Mekhi Postell of St. David’s), and the calling of her heart, Moana fulfills the quest of her ancestors and learns to find her own way in this joyous Summer Stage premiere. 

Hannah Catanoso, the director of Disney’s Moana, Jr., says, “The more time I spend learning about Polynesian and Samoan culture, the more I come to realize how truly family-oriented it is. Storytelling is a huge part of their culture and everything is dealt with through a great deal of tenderness and nostalgia.” This sense of family and connection has persisted into Catanoso’s experience with Summer Stage, as she acknowledges, “I’m a new director, so coming into this program I can’t think of a better season theme than that of ‘home’ because I truly do feel at home and have formed a new family at Upper Darby Summer Stage.”

This stage version of the hit Disney movie features music written by Lin-Manuel Miranda and roles originated by Auli’i Cravalho & Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Throughout the rehearsal process, the actors have been learning about Samoan culture and its emphasis on family and interconnectedness. As cast member Ryan Holmes stated, “Moana is Ohana.” 

Upper Darby Summer Stage is grateful to partner with Motions Dance & Fitness Shoppe, the sponsor of Disney’s Moana, Jr. Summer Stage would also like to thank its season sponsor, Monsignor Bonner & Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School, for their support. Summer Stage 2022 is also supported through sponsor and host, Upper Darby School District, as well as founding sponsor, Upper Darby Township. Upper Darby Summer Stage is now officially a program of the not-for-profit Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation.  

About Upper Darby Summer Stage:

Upper Darby Summer Stage is a national leader in creating outstanding performances for the community while empowering young people and entertaining families.

Summer Stage offers programs for students as young as 10 and up to age 28. Upper Darby Summer Stage is not only a great place to see a spectacular show, but also a great place for students to grow as artists and as young people! Visit for more information.

Stephanie Latchford
Director of Marketing and Communications, Upper Darby Arts and Education Foundation
[email protected]

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