A heroine rises up: Title character saves the day in ‘Mulan’

By M. Scott Morris / NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A girl and her wisecracking dragon will do big things in Tupelo Middle School’s latest production.
The title character in “Mulan” isn’t quite like the other girls in her Chinese village.
“She’s misunderstood,” said Jade Witt, 13, who plays Mulan. “She doesn’t want to go to a matchmaker and get a husband.”
Fans of the Disney animated movie of the same name know what happens next.
“She acts like a boy and takes her father’s place in the army,” Witt said.
Through her efforts, the country is saved from invading Huns, but prejudice remains.
“She saves China, but they find out she’s a girl,” Witt said.
Mulan’s deception earns her the death penalty. The sentence is commuted, but, still, what’s a girl to do?
“She takes matters into her own hands,” Witt said.
Along the way, she has help in the form of Mushu, a dragon played by Trey Bouldin, 14. In the movie, the role was voiced by comedian Eddie Murphy.
“I do a little bit of him and do a little bit of me,” Bouldin said. “It’s both styles put together.”
The show is a musical, and one of Bouldin’s favorite parts is when he sings “Keep Them Guessing.”
“I help Mulan become a man, and that’s the song that we do,” he said.
Director Lindsay Brett said many of the cast and crew have grown up with the movie version of “Mulan,” and they’ve enjoyed bringing the story to life.
“They’re very enthusiastic about it,” she said. “They’ve been a great cast.”
The story will be staged today and Monday at Tupelo Civic Auditorium.
“It has everything, a little bit of love, it’s funny, it’s serious,” Bouldin said. “It keeps you guessing.”

Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@journalinc.com.