'Frozen Jr.' performed on Tipton stage this weekend

Feb. 24—For a handful of Tipton High School seniors, this weekend might get a little emotional.

Starting Friday, they'll be performing in their last Tipton Community Theatre junior production, "Disney's Frozen Jr."

Director Tina Henderson said junior productions are for students in kindergarten through high school.

Each of the performers came from Howard, Tipton and Hamilton counties.

"That's the main thing that I like about it," said Hannah Henderson, a Tipton High School senior who is playing Elsa in the weekend production. "It's just a bunch of kids from different schools who might not have originally met before."

The musical's story is identical to the animated Disney film's story and includes additional songs that were written for the Broadway adaptation. Some of the songs were condensed for the junior production, though.

The cast and crew had initially been practicing the show in a church basement.

The show's music and a bit of the choreography could be practiced in the basement, Tina Henderson said, but there was still plenty to do once the group started rehearsing on Tipton High School's stage roughly two weeks ago.

Once they had the larger rehearsal space with a full set, the performers had to reblock a few scenes.

Tina Henderson said "Frozen" has been one of her favorite stories for a long time. She has fond memories watching the animated film with her two daughters. The director also has a sister, which added sentimental value to the story about sisters.

"The story of how the love of a family can solve problems and bring people together, I just think that's a great message to send out," she said.

The director said she hopes audience members are able to leave the auditorium having laughed a bit and feeling a sense of promise.

"There's often so many negative things in the world, so hopefully this can be something to give them a little bit of hope," Tina Henderson added.

Hannah Henderson, Jasmine Kerr and Addie Gremel — who are all seniors at Tipton High School — said they would miss performing in TCT's junior productions.

Jasmine, who is taking on the role of a shopkeeper named Oaken, is starring in her first TCT role this weekend.

Following a school production of "Mamma Mia," Jasmine explained, she felt encouraged to get more involved with theater this year.

"It just opened my eyes to see how amazing it is to do something like that," she said. "I promised myself this year that I would do everything."

Hannah and Addie are TCT veterans, having each performed in roughly 20 productions.

Just before microphone checks during a Wednesday night rehearsal, the two recalled meeting each other through a 2009 TCT production of "Seussical JR." It was the first show either worked on.

"Our friendship came together with TCT," said Addie, who is playing Olaf. "With it being our last show together, it's really, really sad because I made so many friendships. Not that we won't be friends after the show, but so many good memories have been made on this stage."

Joining the Tipton High School seniors, Cooper Deck and Kaitie Bonds are taking on the roles of Kristoff and Anna. Cooper and Kaitie are Northwestern High School juniors.

At first, each of the performers said their favorite part of the production had been the costumes and working with their choreographer, Jenna Winters-Freeborn.

Taking an extra moment, though, Addie decided she appreciated Olaf's personality a bit more.

"I enjoy playing the funny, silly goose characters," Addie said. "Just being funny and bubbly."

Kaitie, who is playing Anna, chimed in, "I like how I just get to have fun the whole time. I'm allowed to laugh whenever I want. I can be bubbly and smile whenever I want."

Hannah said she appreciates the story's lesson of self-love and encouragement.

"Don't let fear hold you back," Hannah said. "Just let it go."

James Bennett III can be reached at 765-454-8580 or james.bennett@kokomotribune.com.