Area students highlight \High School Musical

A message of acceptance, an eclectic cast of high school students and dedicated theatre professionals have all come together to bring Disney's High School Musical to life.

C-R Kids Productions at the historic Cohoes City Music Hall is presenting the musical.

"The first time I watched the movie it was like watching a marriage between 'Grease' and 'Fame.' I called a friend at Disney and said I have to bring this to our stage," said Tony Rivera, co-founder of C-R Productions and director of the show.

C-R Productions is a nonprofit cultural and educational organization founded in 2002 by Artistic Director Jim Charles and Rivera.Through this C-R Kids Production, students are afforded an opportunity to work with professional directors, musical directors, costume designers, and set designers.

"The students were advised they would be treated as professional, the same way we treat our adult performers, and they have thrived from it," said Rivera.

The worldwide popularity of Disney's "High School Musical" has become somewhat of a phenomenon, bringing new life to high school drama clubs across the country. Rivera said shortly after publicizing tryouts, more than 175 students from the region responded. The two days of actual tryouts, more than 200 teens came in hopes of winning a part in the production.

"We were one of the first companies nationally to announce we were producing the show. The number of students who showed up and the range of talent were incredible," said Rivera.

The story in of the show resonates with teens as it tells the tale of a high school basketball star, Troy Bolton, and a brainiac, Gabriella Montez, whose worlds come together during tryouts for the high school's musical. Their friends discourage them from trying out because it is stepping out of their character. It is a story of labels, comfort and cliques that teens struggle with in school and how they can overcome those boundaries.

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