Rehearsals winding down for weekend production of ’High School Musical 2 Jr.’
by Briana Webster
Jun 25, 2014 | 1846 views | 0 0 comments | 15 15 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Disney’s “High School Musical 2 Jr.” will be performed by 32 of the area’s most talented kids this weekend at Rowland Auditorium on Bevill State Community College’s Jasper campus. Daily Mountain Eagle - Briana Webster
Disney’s “High School Musical 2 Jr.” will be performed by 32 of the area’s most talented kids this weekend at Rowland Auditorium on Bevill State Community College’s Jasper campus. Daily Mountain Eagle - Briana Webster
The Athletic Arts Center in Jasper will present Disney’s “High School Musical 2 Jr.” this weekend.

Kids from across the area have been practicing since June 3 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m., Monday through Thursday, to put on a performance guaranteed to grant a rocking good time. The performance times are scheduled for Friday, June 27, and Saturday, June 28, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, June 29, at 2 p.m. in Bevill State Community College’s Rowland Auditorium. General admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Maria Ross, owner of the Athletic Arts Center, said this year’s musical is the sequel to last year’s performance of Disney’s “High School Musical.” The story centers around a group of high school students who get summer jobs at Lava Springs Country Club. Filled with upbeat songs, dance routines and typical teen drama, the show will display the hard work and talent of the community’s children.

“The practices have been going great. It’s an intense process because they’re learning so much in such a short amount of time, but every layer that you add — the choreography, the blocking, the sets and costumes — just helps to build the excitement,” Ross said.

In conjunction with BSCC, the 2014 Summer Theatre Camp program received funding from the Walker Area Community Foundation this year. The Foundation supported the program with a grant worth $8,500, allowing some kids the opportunity to obtain a scholarship to be able to participate in the theatre camp. Without the financial assistance, the cost of the four-week camp for each participant was $400.

Co-directors Caleb Kendrick and Cindy Laing, who is also the costume designer, said the kids have worked hard over the past few weeks. Both enjoy theater productions and would like to see performances like this one bloom.

“We have kids ranging from third grade to seniors in high school, and they’ve worked hard,” Laing said. “You’ve got some seasoned performers, and then you got the younger ones who are learning from the older ones. It’s a process, but I think they’re learning.” 

Kendrick said he loves the performance aspect of theater and the entire process of “coming in and living a different person’s life for an hour on stage and teaching young people what it’s like in the actual professional world.”

“I just moved back from working at Walt Disney World, and I just want to pass my passion along to another generation to continue to pursue it and to push it even further in this community,” he added.

 The 32 participants were introduced to an array of performing arts education, which included instruction in voice, dance, acting, sound, costume, lighting design and other related expertise. Recent Corner High School graduate Seth Burgess and Walker High School student Charlee Whitt are two of the show’s lead characters, who already have a number of years experience in performing arts.

“I’ve been doing theater for about three or four years now, and I’ve been singing and playing music since I was about 11 or 12 years old,” Burgess said. “I love the passion and commitment it takes to do something like this and the collaborative effort that goes into a theater production. I just love the raw talent that can come from it, and I think it’s a really cool experience.” 

Whitt, 17, is going into her senior year at WHS this fall and already has an impressive resume of dance and acting under her belt.

“I enjoy performing because I like the feeling of everybody watching you up there, especially when you love performing so much. It’s just an adrenaline rush, and it’s so fun to get to meet new people when you perform in something like this,” said Whitt, who has been performing on stage for the past 12 years. “Things like this are good for the community because it brings a lot of people together to support the young people and to see them be able to do something that they enjoy doing.”