They are all in this together

Cast of “High School Musical Junior” rehearses for shows March 18-20


“We usually go over what was on the calendar that day — we’ve just done the song scenes [so far],” seventh-grader Molly Smith said.

“I see teenagers and older students doing the play — it makes me glad that kids can do the play,” said sixth-grader Demba Camara.

“I get to dance and work on skills,” Tatiana Nalbandian from the seventh grade said about what she likes about rehearsals.

These are words from the cast of the Watertown Middle School production of “High School Musical Junior.” On Thursday, Jan. 21, there was a full-cast rehearsal in the auditorium. Since it was full-cast, the auditorium was very busy. All of the students in the play seemed very excited and energetic about the upcoming performance.

Rehearsals started Nov. 9 and since then they have been held at least once a week. Most rehearsals are full-cast, according to the schedule outside of the room of Abigail Cordell, the play’s director.

Playing the lead role of Troy is Joey Kelland (eighth grade) and Camara . Gabriella is played by Caitlyn D’Amico (seventh grade) and Melodie Figueroa (eighth grade). The two students that play Sharpay are Smith and Sarah Gallant from the eighth grade. Nathan Greess (seventh grade) plays Ryan. Taylor, Gabriella’s best friend, is played by Clarissa Phillips from the seventh grade and Melissa Lumi of the eighth grade. Zeke and Chad, Troy’s best friends, are played by GuiGui Marcos (eighth grade) and Daniel D’Amico (eighth grade).

The rehearsal started with Ms. Cordell talking about the objective of the day’s practice. She had all of the lead characters onstage singing “Status Quo” to a soundtrack while all of the backup dancers and singers were in the audience chairs singing and learning a new dance move.

After a little while, everyone was scattered everywhere, practicing their own parts. Ms. Cordell would go around to all of the different groups (cheerleaders, skaters, brainiacs etc.), give small advice (“Good job, brainiacs!”) and help the performers get their new moves down. Everyone got together in large group on and around the stage for the final run-through of “Status Quo,” this time without the karaoke version of the soundtrack.

After a loud, energetic session, the cast picked up new schedules, packed their bags, and left the auditorium full of thoughts about the play. When asked of her favorite thing about rehearsals, Caitlyn D’Amico said, “P utting myself into character [and] dancing around and learning new songs.”

“[I like] singing and meeting new people!” Figueroa said.

The rehearsals are generally relaxed with the performers scattered about, but that’s how the cast members seem to like it. Sahar Khan (Ms. Darbus) confirmed this by saying, “We all get to dance together — it doesn’t matter if we look goofy or not.”

Sophia Contreras, who plays a skater, said, “Dancing is fun … I think rehearsing is fun ’cause you can express yourself.”

While some people might not find rehearsing fun, seventh-grader Rebecca Hellman, who plays a cheerleader, does.

“Well, it’s fun to be with people and it’s fun to learn the dances and songs!” she said.

The last rehearsal will be the open dress on March 18 with all of the proceeds from that show going to the Pennies for Patients fund. The long-awaited “live” performances will be on March 19 and 20.

–March 1, 2010–