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Krysta Rodriguez, Ali Stroker and More to Take Part in OCSA & CSArts-SGV's PERFORMING WITH THE PROS

In its 18th year, the show has gone virtual–allowing students a more collaborative experience with industry professionals.

Krysta Rodriguez, Ali Stroker and More to Take Part in OCSA & CSArts-SGV's PERFORMING WITH THE PROS

Musical Theatre students at Orange County School of the Arts and California School of the Arts - San Gabriel Valley will join a star-studded cast of Broadway, television and film actors for an exciting reimagined "Performing with Pros" theater event. For the first time ever, this show features a cast of 12 guest artists and 87 students who have put together inspiring performance pieces to be premiered at the drive-in and online. During a very challenging year in which live theater has been largely shuttered, "Performing with the Pros" offers a glimmer of hope and an opportunity for in-person entertainment by highly acclaimed Broadway professionals and OCSA and CSArts-SGV students.

"The true star of this performance is the relationship these working artists have built with our students. The pros have taken time out of their own work to pay it forward by offering industry insight and life lessons to the next generation," said Karen Rymar, OCSA's Assistant Director of Musical Theatre and the show's director since its inception 18 years ago.

Krysta Rodriguez ("The Addams Family," "Spring Awakening"), an OCSA alumna and actress who can be seen in Netflix's "Halston," said she is always thrilled to come back to her alma mater to work with the students.

"It's a really special experience for me to be able to share my time, energy and work with the students who always amaze me with their talent and their ability to roll with the punches," she said.

Many of the guest performers have graced one of OCSA's stages in previous years during master classes and events. Ali Stroker ("Oklahoma!"), a Tony Award-winning actress and a past "Performing with the Pros" artist, said this year's show will be unlike any other.

"I am most amazed that the students didn't complain about the fact that it wasn't like any other year. They just said 'Yes! Yes and'. This year has been so difficult in so many ways but to create this outlet for these kids was just so important," Stroker said.

"I am most amazed that the students didn't complain about the fact that it wasn't like any other year. They just said 'Yes! Yes and'. This year has been so difficult in so many ways but to create this outlet for these kids was just so important," Stroker said.

Each team virtually workshopped and filmed a number that showcased their talents, creativity and the overall flavor of their group. Smaller groups sizes allowed each artist to get to know the students and provided a deeper, more collaborative experience overall.

Jessica Vosk ("Wicked", "Finding Neverland", "Fiddler on the Roof"), who was the guest artist for the 2020 "Performing with the Pros", said she was able to work with students more closely than she had in-person last year.

"You really get to know who the students are. You get to know what they would like to bring to the table for this show; their opinions. You get to see their strengths. It's honestly the difference of having more honed in time with a smaller group," she said.

This year, performance attendees can expect to experience a little bit of everything: an original song inspired by social media written by guest artist Jared Gertner ("The Book of Mormon", "The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee") and Musical Theater Composer Adam Gwon, pop hits, elaborate costuming and much more.

More of this year's guest artists include:

David Burnham ("The Light in the Piazza", "Wicked")
Courtney Reed, ("Aladdin", "In the Heights", "Mamma Mia!")
Telly Leung ("Aladdin", "Allegiance", "Godspell", "Rent")
Carlos Thomas ("STOMP")
• CSArts-SGV's Chair of Theatre Judson Williford ("Wicked", "Scapin",
"Macbeth")
• OCSA alumnus Adam J. Levy ("Waitress", "Dave")
• Former OCSA Director of Musical Theatre Scott Barnhardt ("The Book of
Mormon")
• OCSA's Interim Director of Musical Theatre Lauren Lim Jackson ("Pretty
Woman", "Motown: The Musical", "Memphis").

"Performing with the Pros" premieres Friday, May 21 at The Frida Cinema's pop-up theater located at 1705 Flight Way, Tustin, Calif. 92782. The performance can also be viewed online. Visit www.ocsarts.net/BoxOffice for more information about tickets.

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