The first 2 weekends in November will be busy ones for Center Stage Performing Arts, as the company’s putting on 2 new shows: “It’s A Hit!” and “Pocahontas.”
“It’s A Hit!” comes from the company’s Broadway Babies program, which exists to highlight child performers between the ages of 5 and 7. The story centers on a small town baseball team. When a new girl in town joins the team, she’s welcomed at first. But when she says she wants to be the pitcher, problems start arising. It’s a story structured around 5 innings of baseball, wherein the team learns the value of true sportsmanship, beyond just winning or losing.
Performer Sequoya Reader’s favorite part of being in “It’s A Hit!” is the dancing, because, as she put it, “You get to move around.”
Some of the cast members have performed before, while for others this is their first-ever show. Cast member Jizelle Shehadeh said about her past work: “I performed tap-dancing and ballet on a stage.”
Adrielle Inez said, “I’ve done ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’, ‘The Wizard of Oz’, and some other ones.”
But this show stands out, said performer Kylie Harris, “Because you get to dance and have fun.”
“Pocahontas”, which has a wider age range in its cast, isn’t derived from the famous Disney version, but tells a story that the cast and crew promises to be deeper and more unique. In it, we get to know Pocahontas and her father, the powerful Algonquin Chief Powhatan. The naturally peaceful Pocahontas has many local friends of whom her father approves, but also other friends over in Jamestown — where people are sick and starving — of whom her father disapproves. It’s a story about the distrust that exists between two different peoples and ways of life, with Pocahontas serving as the bridge to unity and peace.
Performer Danica Cunanan mentioned a song from the show called “No Common Ground”, which highlights the story line’s central themes: “It’s like nothing in common. We’re not equal, we’re not the same, we don’t look the same…They’re different people; they’re different colors. They don’t understand each other.”
The cast members were virtually unanimous in praising the show’s positive message of overcoming differences and achieving cross-cultural harmony. Cast member Cole Rumsey summed it up by saying, “I’m taking this off a famous quote: Don’t judge a person by his face. I’m taking that off the quote ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover.’”
Amaya Gomez, who plays Pocahontas, hopes audiences go home with another message in addition to the one offered by the play itself: “If they have kids, [I want them] to think that they want their kids to join musical theater. To have them walk out like, ‘Oh this would probably be fun.’”
The cast of “It’s A Hit” features Adrielle Armendariz, Kylie Harris, Sienna Harris, Victoria Mejia, Sanchi Mishra, Sequoya Reader, Jizelle Shehadeh, Zaid Shehadeh, and Keira Toguchi. The show goes on November 2 at 7PM and November 3 at 2:30PM.
The cast of “Pocahontas” features Amaya Gomez, Kavish Shah, Danica Cunanan, Cole Rumsey, Naomi Coriell, Kristina Martinez, Maddox Rumsey, Adrielle Inez, Mary Napolitano, Lucia Savory, and Kylie Harris. The show goes on November 9 at 7PM and November 10 at 2:30PM and 7PM.
Both shows go up at The Milpitas Community Center (457 E. Calaveras Blvd). Tickets can be purchased at the door or here.