• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

'High School Musical' opens on WCMS stage tonight


ANN SOPHIE MARTIN, Myrion Campbell, Caroline Wells, Bryan Birch and Allie Glockner, pictured left to right, rehearsed a scene from "High School Musical JR." last week. Performances at the Woodford County Middle School cafeteria are Thursday, May 26, and Friday, May 27, at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students. (Photo by Bob Vlach)

When "High School Musical JR." opens on Woodford County Middle School's stage tonight at 7:30, its student-actors will portray teenage characters who are a lot like them, but also very different.

The characters resonate with these teens because this story connects with their lives, says 13-year-old Lauren Floyd. And its songs are fun to sing because "the music fits our voices," says Kayla McIntyre, also 13. Kaitlyn Toy describes going to a WCMS rehearsal for "High School Musical JR." as leaving one school for another - with one big difference.

"This school is definitely more fun," says Lauren Watercutter, "because you get to . sing and dance in the cafeteria - and you get to stand on chairs." And none of these students have to act like they did as teens because they are teens.

"It's just really fun," says 14-year-old Jaid Goh, "to see everyone create their own characters if they don't want to play themselves." With its large ensemble, Riley Jerdon, also 14, says "High School Musical" gives a lot of people "opportunities . to showcase their talent."

Director Alyssa Sturgill says she chose "High School Musical" for this spring's musical at WCMS because it's a show her students really wanted to do and it's a show that deals with everyday experiences of teenagers.

"The kids have really had a blast with this one," says Sturgill, who credited former WCMS student Chap Hollin and departing eighth-grader Kennedy Kruse for helping with the musical's choreography.

"It's just been a fun one to put together. Not a whole lot of pressure . A good way to end the school year."

Riley has been doing shows at WCMS since she was a sixth-grader so she's watched this year's class of eighth-graders grow as a family. Their performances tonight and Friday night will be their final curtain at WCMS. "More so than just becoming better actors," says Riley, "we become better at expressing our emotions" as people.

Hunter Story has been a student at WCMS for only two years, but the departing eighth-grader still appreciates how much she's grown as a performer and a person. "Ms. Sturgill has helped a lot of us, including myself, realize our potential - it's amazing," says Hunter.

The 14-year-old describes portraying a character that's "very different than you" as an escape, an opportunity to grow as a person. "I enjoy playing Gabriella" in "High School Musical," says Jaid, "because it gives me a chance to see what it's like to move into a new school. And it gives me a chance to see a better perspective of how those kids feel." "High School Musical JR." tickets ($5 for adults and $3 for students) will be available at the door before performances at the WCMS cafeteria on Thursday, May 26, and Friday, May 27, at 7:30 each night.

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