“So many of our talented high schoolers developed their love of theater on our elementary school stages,” said Summit High School Choreographer Kelly Mott-Sacks. “In fact, a huge number of the 'Sweeney' cast began right here at Washington School. They were thrilled to come back and work with the elementary school kids and answer their questions.”
The high schoolers performed “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd,” which is the show opener. Dressed in street clothes and improvising for some missing cast members, the abbreviated ensemble still dazzled the younger students, who were filled with questions about auditioning, rehearsals, and technical aspects of the musical.
After the high schoolers sang, the fourth and fifth graders took the stage and performed their opening skit, opening number, and closing number. During the critique session, the high schoolers shared the importance of “cheating out" -- not turning their backs to the audience, speaking loudly and slowly, and smiling.
The event was part of the Educational Impact program, which connects the musical to the school district's curriculum, using the production as a teaching tool for the greater student body and local community. Other parts of this effort included a district-wide food drive to spread awareness about hunger in Summit and Union County, drawing parallels to the hunger in London in mid-19th Century London.
“A Summit High School production is about so much more than the performance,” said Mott-Sacks. “Our goal is to engage the entire community.”