The stage depicted both a rustic town square and the mysterious woods from a fairytale. Such was the set design of Rose Red, the summer production of Roberta Jones Junior Theatre. The musical, performed during the last week of July at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts, showcased the talents of children ages eight to 15.
“I am producing the show, and I have a staff that has been working on the singing, the dancing, and the acting with 65 kids in our summer camp,” says Kevin Cornelius, recreation supervisor for the Santa Clara City Parks and Recreation Department. “People have been working on this since June 23, with the auditions, rehearsals and performances. The purpose of our program is to give children a healthy, safe environment where they can learn the values of making a commitment to such a large project.”
“Rose Red is based on a traditional Norse legend,” Cornelius continues. “The version we’re doing is an original musical written by two people in Colorado, also working in children’s theater. They took that fairy tale and incorporated other fairy tales into it. They basically tell the story of Snow White and her sister, Rose Red. Snow White is very obedient to their mother, whereas Rose Red is rebellious and wants to explore. She ends up bringing her sister, Snow White, with her on an adventure where they discover their long-lost missing father, and they lift a curse that has been placed by the villainess, Endorra Bell.”
Highlights from the show included elaborate choreographed dance numbers involving much of the cast, dressed in bright costumes. The solos and duets from cast members also enhanced the show.
Jin-Hee Lee, 13, portrayed Snow White as a sensitive young lady. Lee, a St. Justin’s School student, has been dancing since she was four, and performing in musicals since she was five and student at Washington Open.
“Everyone’s so kind and understanding in this program,” Lee says. “Our friends would practice our lines together during our spare time. Our director [Jennifer Kohler] helped with our character development.”
Sophia McDaniel, 14, brought out the adventurous side of Rose Red. She attends Cupertino High School.
“Preparing for the show comes with a lot of warm ups and reading through scripts,” McDaniel says. “All the people- the directors and the cast members- are fun to work with.”
Justin Wood, 12, showed Timberwolf’s struggle with the loss of his former identity as a prince. Wood attends Woodside Priory School, where he is active in choir.
“When I was seven, I came and saw a show here and decided I’d like to try theatre,” Wood says. ” It was really fun playing [my character.] We had great rehearsals.”
Visit www.RJJT.org for more information about the Roberta Jones Junior Theatre.