Crawfordsville Middle School will present Disney’s “High School Musical 2 Junior” on the Crawfordsville High School stage at 

7 p.m. today and Saturday. 

A talented cast is ready to entertain the audience with the show adapted from the second film in the High School Musical series. 

In the production, high school student Troy Bolton, played by seventh-grader Andrew Jones, stresses over getting a job. He’s worried about his looming college expenses, as well as making sure he and Gabriella Montez, played by eighth-grader Reese Minnette, are able to stay together all summer. 

The situation attracts the attention of Sharpay Evans, played by eighth-grader Tori Abston, who attempts to steal Troy for herself by hiring him at her family’s country club. The plot provides plenty of humor and a life lesson surrounded by pop music and large group dance scenes.

Lisa Kochert Warren is the director and choreographer of the production that includes a cast of 53 middle-school students. 

She has been rehearsing the students since a week before Labor Day. Scheduling rehearsals around sporting events and other school activities has been a challenge. The cast did not get on the high school stage for rehearsal until last week, but Warren said the show has come together nicely and has the support of the school staff. 

Seeing her cast members in a lot of activities is important for her.

“For me it is all about giving kids opportunities,” Warren said. “We want the kids to do all they can and experience a lot of things.”

“I think people will enjoy seeing the energy we share on stage,” Minnette said. “This show is a beautiful love story with comedy.”

Abston said her character has been fun even though she describes Sharpay as snotty, sneaky and arrogant. She said her character helps people learn a life lesson.

“It has a great message about how to treat people, which my character needs to learn,” Abston said.

Eighth-grader Jesse Watson plays Ryan Evans, Sharpay’s twin brother. Ryan lives in the shadow of his primadonna sister. Watson said working with a cast that includes students from all three middle-school grades has been good.

“It is a good show and it is fun to see my friends come together,” Evans said. “It has been good to get to know the kids in the younger classes too.”

For Jones, landing the lead was unexpected. All the other lead roles have a lot of theatrical experience from previous middle school shows and Vanity Theater productions. Jones said he decided to try out at the request of his buddies. 

“My friends convinced me to tryout and that it would be fun,” Jones said. “When I read the casting list I say “Yes!” I never imagined I would get a big part.”

Jones said the experience has been good and he hopes his parents enjoy watching him on stage. He wants to be in more theater productions in the future. He will rely on his experience of being in the school’s show choir and singing at church when he walks onto the stage tonight to not experience stage fright.

“I think I will be fine and I really need to thank my mom and dad for letting me do this,” Jones said. “It has been a great first-time experience.”

Admission is $5 and free for children age 6 and younger.

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