A group of stagestruck kids from Hudson County just got its first taste of bottom-line show business. Selected by the American High School Theatre Festival to perform Hair at the prestigious Fringe Festival in Edinburgh this month, the musical theater class of Hudson County High Tech High School learned just eight weeks before the trip that the owners of the play’s rights would not let them perform the abridged version of the rock musical they’d been rehearsing all year.
So they’ve pulled together another show, Oz, A Twisted Musical by Bill Francoeur, a satiric update of The Wizard of Oz. The cast, according to Ariel Mastroianni (Dorothy), is handling the situation as “professionally as possible.”
“On Broadway, things like this happen all the time,” the sophomore from Secaucus says. “We’re just going with it.”
“It was the best thing that could happen to us,” HTHS music theater director Alex Perez says. “The kids are getting the best professional experience—having to pull a new show together in five weeks. It definitely gives them a thicker backbone!”
The students are set to depart on August 11; they’ll be one of 50 high schools representing the United States at the festival, chosen from more than 1,000 applicants. “I didn’t expect to get thrown into something this big so early in what is, I hope, to become my career,” sophomore Jayson James (Wizard) of Bayonne says. Senior Graham Davie (Scarecrow) from Kearny likens the trip to a “family vacation” with cast mates and friends. “What more can you ask for?” he says. “We’ll all be there together doing what we love.”Click here to leave a comment