by Lorie Lewis Ham
This past weekend Children’s Musical Theaterworks in Fresno presented the Valley premiere of Disney’s Musical, Camp Rock–a high-energy, feel-good musical adapted from the original movies shown on the Disney Channel which starred Demi Lovato and the Jonas Brothers.
According to show director Scott Hancock the basic premise of the show is the story of a performing arts camp that has been around forever, founded by former rocker Brown Cesario. The regulars return to camp only to find that Brown’s former bandmate and rival, Anna Turner, has founded her own arts camp just across the lake. The new camp, Camp Star, is focused strictly on making stars of its campers, regardless of who gets run over on the way. “Camp Rock tells the story of finding your own voice, discovering who you really are, and what is truly important in life. Great music, dancing and a little case of puppy love all come together for a great show.”
During the summer CMT has an all that audition are cast policy to give young performers the opportunity to be a part of a theatrical production without the fear of auditioning/rejection, shared CMT Marketing Director Elizabeth Wettstead. “We do three shows and divide them by age groups 6-10, 11-14, 15-20 to give them the opportunity to perform is roles they would not be able to have in an adult production. Finding shows that are appropriate for the 11-14 year old performers that they are interested in can be a challenge.”
The cast for Camp Rock falls in the 11-14 age range. The kids not only get to learn about performing but if they are interested they can also work behind the scenes with lights, sets, costumes and sound. “We try to give the closest thing we can to a Broadway experience,” continued Wettstead.
“I think being in a show, besides being able to further hone their performing skills, is great for this age group because it stresses the need to work as a team, to be punctual, and to rise to the level of responsibility that has been placed on their shoulders,” said Hancock.
Hancock wanted to direct this show because of the music, and because he wanted to stretch himself as a director. “This is not a genre of music I was particularly versed in, and creating such a large show with such a young cast presented a challenge I wanted to tackle.”
When he first looked at the script, Hancock thought he would have to water things down a bit because the cast was so young, but this group of 32 kids surprised him by being more than ready to meet the challenge. “This cast has proven me wrong; they may be young in years, but certainly not lacking in talent. They really are quite amazing.”
So if you’re looking for a great show to take the entire family to, and want to enjoy hit Disney songs like “Can’t Back Down”, “It’s On”, and “We Rock”, head on out for the final weekend of Camp Rock which runs through August 27 on stage at the Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium in downtown Fresno.
Show and ticket information can be found on CMT’s website or by calling 866-973-9610.
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