GREENSBURG — “Frozen Jr.,” the musical as prepared by the Greensburg Junior High School’s Music Department opens this weekend in the GJHS auditorium.
The show is directed by music teacher Heather Simpson with lights and sound directed by Dennis Spears.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Special “snowflake” wands will be available for purchase as souvenirs, and will be useful for the audience during the “Let’s Make it Snow” scene.
Simpson indicated the students involved have been a lot of fun.
“I don’t have a lot of eighth-graders. There are a few in the cast, but not a lot in lead parts, and some have had limited time on stage in other productions, but they’ve been fun to work with and see them grow throughout the last couple of months. It’s fun to see them build confidence.”
“Frozen Jr.” has a large cast and that can be challenging to a new director, but Simpson is quite experienced with the business of directing junior high students.
But how is directing this many actors (more than 70), not to mention coordinating countless split-second sound and light cues with the light crew, not overwhelming?
“I love the chaos,” Simpson said. “I love the crazy, and I see how much fun they’re having, and that’s why I do what I do!”
“Frozen Jr.” is the story of two sisters’ love for one another and the true appreciation and respect for the magic powers both possess. It is one of the most complex musicals making its release today.
It is obvious the cast is aware of the thrill and awe of the original script.
“I feel like every actor has a very special part in this show, whether they are in a lead role or in a supporting role like the chorus. Everyone contributes to the story,” Simpson said.
She had many to cast, but many auditioned; Simpson attributes that to the current popularity of the “Frozen” franchise.
“Every kid loves Disney shows, and I try to do shows that my kids are going to enjoy and still learn from,” Simpson said.
Simpson is appreciative of all the teachers at GJHS for their support, but specifically for their patience as the show was presented to the student body Wednesday.
“It’s a huge day when the kids are proud and nervous, and I know that the teachers love the opportunity to see their students in a different light outside the typical classroom setting,” Simpson said.
Sitting with the lead actors before rehearsal, they are excited but polite and attentive as they answer questions. As a whole, they really enjoy being on stage in this show.
Asked about their favorite musical, many mention “The Lion King,” but a few liked “Sound of Music.” And even though they enjoy this experience, few want to continue participating in theater after high school.
Adam Underhill said he might be interested and enjoys the experience, but he also wants to serve in the military.
Ella Koors, Maxine Harris and Audrey Openshaw, who portray Anna at different points in her life, actually are believable. They resemble each other enough on stage for the audience to believe their portrayal.
Overall, it is evident this cast has put a good deal of work into this production.
Audience should expect a few differences from the original movie version, but the humor of the original has been preserved.
General admission tickets are priced at $8 for adults; $5 for K through 12; 4 and under, free.