The Ignacio High School theater program teaches students how to sing and act, but it also imparts life skills, like public speaking and time management.
Three years ago, seven students were involved with the school’s theater program. Now, 90 students are enrolled in traditional or musical theater classes, said Jennifer Boniface, theater director. The program offers students a community and potentially a chance to see new places, like New York City.
“The kids who are in the musical class have to have a definite work ethic,” Boniface said. “They have to work to balance their time.”
About 50 middle school and high school students have been working on the program’s newest musical, “Frozen,” since September.
“Frozen,” originally a Walt Disney Pictures film, involves a journey to find Elsa, the Snow Queen, and to save a kingdom from destruction.
The main characters are played by: Elizabeth Valdez as Elsa, Tanah Petty as Anna, Jeffrey Brittain as Kristoff, Bird Red as Weselton, Eli Aremendariz as Hans, and Teagan Taylor as Olaf. Boniface said audiences should look forward to the caliber of the singers and the teamwork among the cast and crew.
The teamwork and the talent come from preparation. The students did an overnight lock-in at the high school to prepare through rehearsals and games. They also have after-school practices and in-class rehearsals on top of their athletics, clubs, homework and other responsibilities.
“Some of them are brand-new singers, brand-new actors – they’re coming in never having spoken in front of a crowd,” she said. “It’s a really big learning experience for them.”
The plays are also one step toward a trip to New York City, an opportunity to step outside the familiarity of Ignacio.
Before each performance of “Frozen,” students will host fundraising dinners at 5 p.m. Wednesday and at 6 p.m. Thursday. The performances are Wednesday at 6 p.m. and Thursday at 7 p.m. Tickets for dinner are $7 for adults, $5 for students and free for children 3 and younger. Admission for the play is $10 per person.
Boniface hopes students will be able to take the trip in May, when they will see a Broadway performance of “The Phantom of the Opera,” the Statue of Liberty and other sites.
“It will get some of our kids who grew up here to see a whole new part of the world that they’ve never seen before,” Boniface said.