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Elementary school puts on ‘High School Musical Jr.’

The cast of ‘High School Musical, Jr.’ perform a number for students and parents during a performance at the Fort Rucker Elementary School gymnasium May 6. (Courtesy photo)

The cast of ‘High School Musical, Jr.’ perform a number for students and parents during a performance at the Fort Rucker Elementary School gymnasium May 6. (Courtesy photo)

Published: May 13, 2016

FORT RUCKER, Ala. (May 13, 2016) -- Fort Rucker Elementary School isn’t just a place where students get educated on subjects like math and science, but also a place that nurtures children’s artistic sides.

The FRES sixth grade drama club put on its ninth musical in its largest stage production to date with its performance of “High School Musical, Jr.” a musical based on a Disney movie of the same name, where 40 cast and crew of students took on the task of transporting attendees out of FRES into the halls of East High School.

“I am so proud of all the cast and crew members,” said Dr. Vicki Gilmer, FRES principal. “This is an amazing opportunity for students to continue to grow confidence and speaking skills. The performances were phenomenal and could be taken on the road.”

Throughout the performance, students sang songs, danced and performed the musical numbers just as they had rehearsed for nearly six months.

“The FRES sixth grade drama club musicals have become a tradition at our school,” said Vicki Harper, sixth grade teacher and drama club director. “When we chose ‘High School Musical, Jr.’ back in September for this year’s play, we were a little nervous about taking on such a huge production.”

In the past, the drama club has taken on such productions as “The Wizard of Oz,” “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown,” “Peter Pan,” and several others, but the most recent one required the largest cast, and many more songs and dance choreography than previous productions, said the drama club director.

“We shouldn’t have even been worried,” she said after all was said and done. “These kids rose to our high expectations. They worked together as a team and perfected the smallest details to really capture the spirit of this Disney musical – we couldn’t be prouder of them.”

The final product was something that not only the teachers were proud of, but the students and parents, as well.

Jonathan Rowley, sixth grader who played Chad, said he was proud to see the effort that he and his classmates put into the production.

“I’m proud of myself and the team for putting all of this together,” he said. “I was nervous that first day, but once I was out there, I just did my thing.”

“Being a part of the play was a lot of fun and gave me the chance to meet new friends,” added fellow cast member, Sarah Buchanan, who played Sharpay. “It’s amazing how, at the start of it, I wasn’t sure we would be able to pull it off, but we all came through and gave our directors goosies!”

The production also garnered rave reviews from fellow students who got the opportunity to see their classmates perform.

“It was cool,” said Madison Cannon, FRES student. “It was different from the movie, but I thought the play was much better.”

“I really liked the songs and dances,” added Abagail Stewart, fellow FRES student. “I sang along with all the people on the stage.”

After the actors took their bows, Harper said that the play was more than about just putting on a production for people to see, but learning life lessons, as well.

“The drama club began auditions back in November and the cast began studying dialogue back in December,” she said, emphasizing the amount of work that went into the production and the dedication that the students put into their work. “They all worked as a team. They were able to learn about teamwork, responsibility, choreography, memorizing lines and taking stage direction. They practiced two afternoons a week after school to learn their parts.”

Harper said they were fortunate to have the support from the Parent Teacher Association, the Fort Rucker Thrift Shop and individual donors to the thespian fund.

Without that help, the production would have never happened, she said.

This article was originally published at https://www.army.mil/article/167866/

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