A Work of Heart Presents "High School Musical, Jr."

A Work of Heart Productions ended their weekend by presenting a show to supportive family members and friends on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.


The stage at Ridgedale Middle School was set for a production of “High School Musical, Jr.” with a basketball net and lockers. Performers ages 5-14 sang and danced with pom poms and basketballs. The musical is based on the successful 2006 Disney Channel film starring Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens.


The premise of the show is when a star athlete named Troy and a shy smart girl named Gabriella meet and end up attending the same high school. They share their passions for singing and inspire their classmates to step out of their comfort zones and cliques.


This performance came after two months of rehearsals, beginning with auditions on May 18 at the College of Saint Elizabeth. Director of the production, Angelo DeFazio, explained how he and co-director and founder Nicole Lippey chose this show. “For the age of the characters of the show, it is a modern classic for the age of the actors who are playing those roles,” he said.


Multiple pictures of children performing on stage formatted onto a page with a piano and silhouette of a basketball player
Images of rehearsals of "High School Musical, Jr." featured in A Work of Heart's digital program

One of the lead performers of the show, Cooper Kelly, 13, says that he feels a connection to his character Troy Bolton. “Doing this character is easy because I feel like we’re the same,” he said.


While Kelly’s character plays basketball, he plays lacrosse and track. This was his second musical with A Work of Heart after starring as the Beast in A Work of Heart’s production of Beauty and the Beast.


Another performer in this production was Savanna Mooney, 11, who portrayed Martha Cox, a brainiac that loves to dance. Mooney said that it feels great to be in a musical. She added that her favorite part of dancing on stage was performing with her friends.


Katie Holzer, 13, portrayed Ms. Darbus, the eccentric drama teacher of the cast of characters. Holzer said that her favorite song was “Bop to the Top” because it’s fun and upbeat.


Holzer reflected on her love for the show and the musical. “It was a really fun show. I’m so sad that it’s over,” she said.


Members of the audience viewed a digital program while waiting for the performance to start. This program was accessed through a barcode on the posters taped to the auditorium's doors. Pages of the program included a synopsis of the show and a list of cast members.


Other members of the production team include vocal director Charlotte Speck, stage manager Sophia Monte, and choreographers Griffin Gartlgruber and Hallie Lippey. Additional cast members were Madelyn Shanley, Liana Weakland, Matt Valenti, and Daniel Amalfitano.

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