‘High School Musical 2’ by FMS March 1-3

  • Farragut Middle School cast for production of “High School Musical 2,” front row from left, are Caroline Neal, Taylor Lowery, Grant Wittschen and Cameron Simmons. Middle row, from left, are Blake Alexander, Lucy Moore, Ben Redmon and Aylah Sims. Back row, from left, are Ada Becker, Jake Mink, Hank Tate, Corbin Hobson, Johnny Jacobs and Layla Baker. Production starts at 7 p.m. each evening Wednesday, March 1, through Friday, March 3, in FMS Studio Theater, 200 West End Ave. - Photos submitted

  • Redmon and Moore portray the main characters, Troy and Gabriella, - Photos submitted

Farragut Middle School musical theater students will present “High School Musical 2” 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 1, through Friday, March 3, in the Studio Theater of FMS, 200 West End Ave.

“My first year here, we did ‘High School Musical.’ That’s been five years ago,” said Kimberly Mink, co-choral director along with Ruth Ann Bendy. “We just thought it would be a good time to kind of revisit those kiddos — they’ve graduated from high school now — and continue that same story.

“We do this as a collaborative project,” Mink added. “The kids actually pick shows, they present them and then we vote on them as a class.

“This was just kind of our general consensus, and we thought it would be fun to continue telling the stories that we started five years ago.”

FMS is the only middle school in Knox County that offers musical theater as a class, which has 107 students.

“We’re kind of proud of that, and it’s fun,” said Mink, adding the class was being offered at the school before she came to work at FMS.

“We do a little different model with musical theater. We also work with students to teach them business skills, lighting, sound, set design, costumes and makeup, so those 107 students are divided up into a lot of different committees, and they all work on their piece of the show.”

Noting there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes work, “The cast are just the ones who get seen ... and they’re learning some real-life skills, tying in with that career awareness that we’re trying to promote with Knox County Schools,” Mink said. “They’re getting to explore how to build a program, how to edit photos, how to program lighting boards and program sound.

“They also design the sets themselves,” Bendy added. “They paint the sets themselves, and they move all the sets in and out and really help run the show themselves, without much of our input.”

The musical has 35 cast members, which includes 12 to 15 core cast members. Lead members are Lucy Moore, who portrays Gabriella, and Ben Redmon, who portrays Troy.

They “have been a couple since high school, so they are trying to find a summer experience that they can get to hang out and be with all of their friends and still make some money,” Mink said.

About Gabrielle, “she is a smart character,” Lucy said. “She thinks things through and she’s really nice to everyone, and she’s just bubbly and happy all the time.”

About Troy, Ben said, “I like about how he’s always the leader, always in charge. He’s the captain of the basketball team and still trying to get everybody together.”

The shows are open to the public. Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased by contacting Mink at k.mink@knoxschools.org or Bendy at ruth.bendy@knoxschools.org

Ticket proceeds pay for the show. “We get no funding from Knox County ...,” Mink said. “Our musical costs, by the time we have to pay for our rights and royalties, which add up.”

Additionally, she said every year the class tries to make a significant gift back to the school.

“So this year, any money we’re making is going back to help refurbish the Studio Theater sound system,” Mink said.