UNION COUNTY — Spring Break is usually thought of as a time of fun rather than learning but the students in the Union County High School GT Drama Class had fun while also learning during a nearly week-long trip to Hollywood.
On Saturday, April 1, the students and their teacher, Ralph Lawson, flew out to Los Angeles, California, and did not return home until Thursday, April 6.
During their stay in Los Angeles, the class toured movie studios and other entertainment landmarks in Hollywood, having fun while also continuing their studies.
“The main focus was film,” Lawson said Tuesday. “That group of students studied the history of film and film acting, that was the focus of our trip.
“We toured Paramount Pictures Studio; Sony Pictures, which is now a combination of Columbia Pictures and MGM; and did the Universal Studio tour,” he said. “The kids spent time at Disneyland where they did an acting workshop which was an absolute joy. They had a very good teacher and all of the students enjoyed that.”
In addition to the movie studios, Lawson and the students also toured other entertainment industry and related landmarks.
“We visited where they telecast the Academy Awards from, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Hollywood Sign,” Lawson said. “We also toured Grauman’s Chinese Theater which was absolutely fabulous.”
The class also visited other sites such as the Santa Monica Pier.
Lawson said the class also met some former students who are now working as actors in Hollywood.
“We met up with former students David Jenkins and Jason Rector,” Lawson said. “David has just completed filming a movie originally called “The Mustanger and the Lady.” It’s based a book that’s part of series of western books. They have since renamed the movie, ‘The Painted Lady.’
“Jason just got his Screen Actors Guild card,” he said. “It came while we were out there. We’re very proud of him.”
Finally, it was time to come home, and Lawson said the students not only brought home with them experiences and memories that will help them as they study their craft, but also compliments from the people they interacted with during their time in Los Angeles.
“We had a busy trip, it wore us out but we enjoyed it,” Lawson said. “I was so proud of my kids. Everybody we met such as our tour bus driver complimented me on how well-behaved, how focused and interested our group was. We just had a really good trip.”
Along with their fellow students, the GT Drama Class returned to school Monday, but in their case they not only resumed their classes, they also resumed work on their upcoming production of “Madagascar: A Musical Adventure.”
The play, which is based on the popular Dreamworks Animation film, tells the story of a group of zoo animals who leave the Central Park Zoo in New York City and end up in the jungles of Madagascar.
The production features a cast made up of both returning actors and newcomers to the UCHS stage. The actors and the characters they play are:
• Jerimey Kirby as Alex, a lion who is the crowd favorite at the zoo.
• Kaderious Fleming as Marty, a zebra, who is Alex’s best friend.
• Caroline Gallman as Gloria, a hippopotamus.
• Claire Pridemore as Melman, a giraffe.
• Iriana Foster as King Julien, King of the Lemurs.
• Jordan Clevenger as Maurice, King Julien’s right-hand man.
• Shelby Summers, Kayleigh Miller, Kirklyn English, and Madyson Russell as the Penguins of Madagascar.
• Laura Parris and Katie Wagner as the Main Lemurs.
• Cameron Newton as Mason the chimp.
• Raven Sanders as Foosa Leader.
• Ty Browning, Alyssa Crocker, Brindia Nunn, Mackenzie Palmer, Emily Lemons, and Melena Kirby are also members of the cast.
The play, which is directed by Lawson, will feature choreography by Bess Lawson. Assistant choreographer is Mary Scarborough. Vocal direction is by Janet Lawson.
A dinner performance, sponsored by the Union Rotary Club, will be held Thursday, April 20, at 6:30 p.m. Non-dinner performances will run Friday and Saturday, April 21 and 22, at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 23, at 3 p.m.
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090.