This year’s highly anticipated production was Disney’s “High School Musical Jr.” from the Music Theater International’s Broadway Junior Collection.
Cleveland’s long-standing drama coach and assistant principal, Dr. Leneda Laing, produced the show. This year’s direction was by Mrs. Emily Raper. Ms. Kelly Owens choreographed the show. Ms. Miranda Whittington, Ms. Erin LaFever, Mr. Rodney Williams, Mr. Caleb Bolanos and Mrs. Sandy Farlow provided assistant direction, music direction and backstage direction.
The show follows the plot line of the Disney Channel Movie written by Peter Barsocchini. It includes the fans’ favorite songs and adds some new ones that were written for the stage production.
These songs include, but are not limited to: “Get’cha Head in the Game,” “What I’ve Been Looking For,” “Stick to the Status Quo,” “Counting on You,” “We’re All in this Together,” and “Breaking Free.”
In this modern-day story, the characters must learn what it means to be a friend and teammate while navigating the complexities of high school life. Audience members are encouraged not to stick to the status quo and to be themselves in spite of what others may expect.
The stories’ two dominant protagonists were portrayed by Aaron Hayes as Troy Bolton and Macy Rexroad and Savannah England as Gabriella Montez. Autumn Hubbard and Emily Crump depicted the confident thespian Sharpay Evans. Drew Cook portrayed Sharpay’s twin brother Ryan Evans. Overall, an astonishing 105 students made up the full cast and crew.
Students are provided with all of the equipment and training to produce all aspects of the show from acting and backstage crew to lighting and sound engineering. The show is very professionally produced, and preparation takes a lot of time and hard work. Tryouts are held early in the spring semester, and the students spend four months preparing the show.
There were four shows performed to the community by two separate casts.
Each show included a dinner theater coordinated by Mrs. Cecily Williams. Food was donated from local restaurants in Cleveland and included Stadium BBQ, Aubrey’s, Old Fort and Olive Garden.
Additionally, cast and crew members have performed for their peers at the middle school and were eagerly anticipating shows for the city’s elementary schools this week.
A production of this quality takes a true community effort, and it could not be possible without support of time and donations from countless faculty, parents, students, businesses, and community volunteers.
Cleveland Middle School supports the holistic development of students, and it is proud to offer this after-school activity as an avenue for growth through the arts.
Disney’s “High School Musical Jr.” is presented through special arrangement with and all authorized materials are supplied by Music Theater International. 421 54th St., New York NY 10019. Script, music, and all other material are copyright 2008, Disney Enterprises Inc. Disney’s High School Musical Jr. is a trademark of Disney Enterprises, Inc. Broadway Junior and MTI’s Broadway Junior Collection are trademarks of Music Theater International. All rights reserved.