Eighty Smith-Cotton Junior High students are hard at work rehearsing for the production of “Frozen Jr.” which will be performed this weekend.

SCJH speech and theatre teacher Casey Lim said the production features 50 cast members and 30 crew with performances by students in sixth through eighth grade. 

Lim explained the production of “Frozen Jr.” is adapted from the Disney film “Frozen.” Music Theatre International has adapted the show to fit the middle school age range. The production follows the same storyline and characters with the addition of three extra musical numbers.

“They just make it work for the stage and for this age group,” Lim added.

Lim said the students have been working extremely hard on the production. Since “Frozen Jr.” is a musical, many students are also involved in choir and show choir.

“A few of them are also involved in other things like FCCLA and art club,” Lim said. “So, they are extremely hard working to split their time between all these activities. I’m very proud of them.”

Lim said working so hard in theater class and other classes will benefit the students in the long run.

“I was very active when I was their age,” Lim noted. “I think it taught me responsibility, it taught me how to be part of a team, and things that are going to be really good life lessons for them.”

Lim added the musical is a “fun show.”

“’Frozen II’ the animated film comes out Nov. 21,” Lim explained. “So, it’s perfect timing I think. It’s definitely coming together, it’s a lot of hard work … and I’m very impressed.”

Kiera Carter, an eighth grader, is assisting Lim with directing. Although she has been an actor before, this is her first time directing.

“It’s different than being in a play,” Carter said. “Because there’s choreography, music, there’s stuff backstage, costumes. And teaching choreography and coming up with choreography — it’s a whole lot different.”

She said she’s unsure if she enjoys directing or acting best.

“When I did my first play, I liked being up on the stage,” she added. “But now that I’m a director it’s kind of like, ‘umm this is a nice change.’”

Emily Eschbacher, also an eighth grader, plays Elsa. She said she’s performed in several plays including “Annie,” “Junie B. Jones the Musical” and “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.”

“I really like playing different characters,” she said. “And, having the whole experience backstage with friends, and trying on costumes.”

Eschbacher said performing in “Frozen Jr.” is personal for her.

“’Frozen’ (the movie) came out in November 2013, and ever since I’ve been singing the songs,” she explained. “And, I’ve always been obsessed with Elsa … it’s really special to me to play Elsa because I kind of grew up with her.”

Elsa’s sister Anna is played by Abby Dake, a seventh grader. This is Dake’s first time to act, although she has been part of the stage crew in other productions.

“At first, I was really nervous, because I’ve never been on the stage before, besides show choir,” Dake said. “And, now that I’m on stage, I really feel like I can do more.

“I’m not as afraid to audition for stuff,” she continued. “Being onstage is helping me meet people and getting me out of my insecurities.”

She added she likes her character because Anna “is super fun and bubbly.”

“My friends tell me I am too,” she said smiling. “So, Anna was a really fun character for me to play because I can relate to her… it’s fun to be her and sing her songs.”

“Frozen Jr.” will be performed Friday, Nov. 8 and Saturday, Nov. 9 at SCJH, 312 E. Broadway Blvd. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the performance at 7 p.m. each night. Tickets may be purchased at the door and are $5 for adults, $3 for students and free for children age 5 and younger.

Arts & Entertainment Reporter

Faith Bemiss is a reporter for the Sedalia Democrat, covering general assignment, arts, food and entertainment stories. She can be reached at 660-530-0289.

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