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“Let the Sun Shine On” RJJT’s “Frozen Jr.”

Maddy Reader, an alum of Roberta Jones Junior Theatre (RJJT),  is making her directorial debut with “Frozen Jr.,” RJJT’s summer musical. During the July 13 dress rehearsal, Reader oversaw a cast of over 50 vibrant kids, from ages 8 to 15, telling a story about sisterly love on stage. In the musical, Elsa (Maleya Dano), possessing a strange power to freeze what is around her, must lead the Kingdom of Arendelle after her and her sister Anna’s (Anjali Prasad) parents die. At the beginning of the story, the sisters’ relationship is strained when Anna announces to a disapproving Elsa of her plans to marry Hans (Patrick Krupa), a prince she just met.

“Frozen Jr.” will be performed from July 19-July 21, with daytime and evening shows, at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts at 3250 Monroe St. (cross street: Calabazas Boulevard). Some cast members will be wearing clear masks.

In addition to giving young singers, actors, and dancers a space to perform, RJJT also offers opportunities for young people to learn new skills while serving on the stage crew.

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“We currently have seven people working on the stage crew from ages 10 to 18,” said Trisha Cooley, Assistant Producer and Choreographer. “The young crew will be running the lights, with one crew member up in the catwalk running the follow spot, also known as the spotlight. Other crew members will help move the set. We’re training someone to fly set, which entails bringing props and set pieces, such as banners and windows, on and off the stage. Crew members need safety training to utilize the fly system.”

“It is a free class to participate in technical crew,” Cooley continued. “After a show, Parks and Recreation will sign off on community service hours for crew members.”

Audience members coming to watch “Frozen Jr.” should pay attention as cast members perform “Let It Go.”

“During the song ‘Let It Go,’ parts of the ice castle are lighting up,” Cooley said. “There will be an onstage quick change of Elsa’s dress. Crew members will be helping to create this magic.”

Lizzie Lewis, 16, a Santa Clara resident, is working on a stage crew for the third time.

“I am the lightboard operator for ‘Frozen Jr.’,” said Lewis, who has been working since tech week began. “I basically push a button at the lightboard that says ‘go’ and it changes the lights on the stage. All the light cues have been pre-programmed by Jen Kohler.  During the show, I follow the script with notes on when to change the lights.”

Separate from her stage crew duties for “Frozen Jr.,” Lewis has more extracurricular activities coming up.

“I’m going to be Sleeping Beauty in ‘Into the Woods’ for RJJT and I’ll also be a crew member for ‘Into the Woods,’” Lewis said.

“Into the Woods” is a RJJT production running from July 29 to July 31 featuring 18 cast members from ages 13 to 19. To purchase tickets for “Frozen Jr.” and “Into the Woods,” visit the RJJT website.

RJJT’s fall production will be “Shrek the Musical.” Auditions will be held in August. More details will be posted in the City of Santa Clara Parks & Recreation Department’s Activity Guide to be released on July 22.

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