Marshwood Middle School Presents HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, JR.
As you walk into the gymnasium, you see jocks dressed in their uniforms, "shooting hoops" and talking to the cheerleaders, while goths are discussing music, thespians are rehearsing for their audition, and braniacs are studying for the science decathlon. These scenarios could be happening at any high school in the nation, but in fact, these are Marshwood Middle School students rehearsing for this year's production, Disney's High School Musical Jr.
Having been described as a modern adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, High School Musical Jr. is the story of two high school students from rival cliques, Troy Bolton, captain of the basketball team, and Gabriella Montez, a shy transfer student who excels in math and science. Together, they try out for the lead parts in their high school musical which causes division among all the school's students. Despite other students' attempts to thwart their dreams, Troy and Gabriella resist peer pressure and rivalry, inspiring others along the way not to "stick to the status quo", but to be true to themselves and follow their dreams.
MMS Drama Director Kristen Dalton selected this show because she feels the message of High School Musical Jr. fits in perfectly with the atmosphere and environment she is trying to create in the MMS Theatre Program. "In High School Musical Jr. the students learn: 'We're not the same, we're different in a good way.' That is exactly the message we want the students to get from participating in middle school theatre", she said.
This is Mrs. Dalton's first year as the MMS Drama Director. Last Spring, she learned that there was a need for a Drama Director at MMS, and that without one, there would not be a Spring show. At the same time, her daughter was performing in Marshwood Great Works School's 5th grade musical, The Most Epic Birthday Party Ever. "There were over 100 5th graders participating in the show, both on and off-stage, and watching them all come together to put on this show was an amazing experience. The joy they were all feeling was palpable. My heart broke at the thought of these kids going into Middle School and not having a theatre program," she said.
Mrs. Dalton has been involved in theatre since she was a child and learned how important it can be, especially in middle school. "Middle school is a time when kids are desperately trying to fit in, yet at the same time, they are trying to figure out who they are and what makes them special and unique. I see the theatre as a magical place where students can do both. Individuality is celebrated and being who you are is what helps you fit in. I did not want these kids to miss out on this wonderful experience," she said.
Once hired, she knew that there were certain parts of the theatre that were not her area of expertise, so she turned to her tribe of fellow parent volunteers, including Jenn Therrien, who joined her as Artistic Director and designed the set, props and costumes.
With costume design, they were looking to visually designate between the 4 different cliques that are represented not only in the show but also in high school (or middle school) itself. It is easy to see which kids are Brainiacs, Thespians, Jocks, Cheerleaders or Goth based on what they are wearing. As the show progresses you begin to see the distinguishing visual characteristics of each clique start to intermingle with the other cliques, as the students learn that they don't need to be defined by just one thing.
Everything used in the show was built, bought or donated by either parents of the cast and crew, or members of the Marshwood Community who don't even have children in the show. "We have been beyond blessed to have such an amazing team of parents and a fantastic theatre community that has been incredibly generous with their support," said Mrs. Dalton.
Don't miss your chance to experience the fun and positive, inclusive message of this entertaining show! To quote a lyric from HSM's most popular song, We're all in this Together; "We're not the same, we're different in a good way. Together's where we belong. We're all in this together".
Performances for High School Musical Jr. will be Friday March 16 at 7pm, and Saturday March 17 at 1pm and 6pm at Marshwood Middle School in Eliot, Maine. General Admission tickets will available at the door at a cost of $8 for adults and $5 for students.