MODESTO — Johansen High School's vocal music program once again has joined forces with Beyer High's drama program. The upcoming "Cinderella" is the fourth joint production between the schools in five years.
Because Johansen lacks a drama program and Beyer does not have a steady music program, the two schools have teamed up to produce musicals.
This year's production is the original Rodgers and Hammerstein version of the play.
The schools held auditions in November, and students have been building sets, creating costumes and shaping characters.
The musical requires dynamic backdrops, a challenge for Beyer's compact theater area. Woodshop teacher Vince Galas has been working furiously to finish the sets.
A huge volunteer base has been created, as well, incorporating past students, teachers and parents.
"I am so amazed at the talent these adults are sharing with us to make our production a special one," director Melanie Hildebrandt said. "This show has truly been a team effort across the board, and I am beyond grateful for all of those who are stepping up to help."
Joining Hildebrandt in steering the production are choreographer Ashley Hiltebidel and music director Jennifer Champeaux, the choir instructor at Johansen.
Champeaux and Hildebrandt came together five years ago and are proud to be producing their fourth stage musical production. Combining two schools to create a musical is possible only if both are able to fully merge.
"It's our big family Boho production," said Alexandra Miller, a member of the chorus. The students nicknamed their group "Boho," the combination for Beyer and Joho (Johansen).
Added Hildebrandt, the director, "All of the fears Jennifer and I had when we first joined forces never happened, and so many positive friendships and relationships have come from the effort. "
"Cinderella" calls for a variety of roles, from dancing to acting. Not only are volunteers required to create the play, but a huge group of students also is needed to fill the roles. This can sometimes be difficult. Most of the students recruit their friends and family to help fill positions.
"Without a doubt, I encourage students to participate in plays," said Johansen student Genevieve Ramirez, who plays the wicked stepmother. "It is not just a silly school musical (that) you get credits for. It is not just a class, either; you learn so much about team building. It's more than people realize. It is a full-on learning experience. You really become a family in the end."
Beyer High will hold the musical in its little theater Friday through Sunday and March 1-3. On Fridays and Saturdays, doors open at 7 p.m. and the curtain rises at 7:30.
The Sunday shows are matinees; doors open at 1:30, with showtime at 2. After the matinee performances, cast members will be signing autographs. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for students and seniors.
Alicia Rorabaugh is a senior at Johansen High School and a member of The Bee's Teens in the Newsroom Program.