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Anastasia: A Stunning Collaboration of Frenship Fine Arts

Every fall semester, the Frenship Theatre Department produces a Broadway-quality musical starring extraordinarily talented Frenship High School students. This production is made possible through the collaborative efforts of multiple Fine Art programs.  

This year, the Frenship Fine Arts took audience members on a journey from Soviet Russia to the dazzling streets of Paris in the 1920s, with an enchanting production of Anastasia. Students and staff from Theatre, Technical Theatre, Choir, Dance, Band, and Orchestra came together to make this fall musical possible.  

Jake Lierman, the Frenship Theatre Arts District Coordinator and Anastasia head Director, stated that the students and staff involved are able to work together to achieve something that is bigger than themselves.  

“A show of this magnitude and caliber could never be a one man show,” said Lierman. “What I love about this process, for students and staff, is that it's a reminder of what comes from collaboration. They learn that it's only through teamwork and hard work that greatness happens.” 

These groups have worked to bring this production to the stage for months, creating a bond between the students and staff. The theatre, dance, and choir programs started working on the music and staging in September, while the Band and Orchestra joined in the week of the show to put the final touches to the production. 

AbiGayle Mills, a Frenship High School senior, truly shined in this musical as she led the cast and delivered a marvelous performance as Anya. Mills stated that the Frenship Fall musical has always been an amazing collaboration of students.  

“Not many high schools get the chance to have all of their fine arts programs participate in one project, so this opportunity is incredibly special,” stated Mills. “Each department is able to hone in on their specialty and can perfect that part of the production. The shows we produce would not be of the quality that they are without each and every director and choreographer that works on these shows!“ 

The beautiful and mysterious story of Anastasia drew Lierman to pursue this musical, while the possibility of it being true was fun for the students to dive into. “It's a story of tragedy turned to hope,” said Lierman. “What it means to go from everything to nothing and have to work your way back. A story of resilience, you can't beat that.” 

Mills stated that this musical and her role in it was incredibly special for her, as she grew up watching the animated Anastasia film.  

“Anya has been a dream role of mine for many years,” said Mills. “Being able to portray such a strong and resilient character gave me more confidence not just on stage but also off.” 

Mills went on to explain that one of her favorite parts of the entire experience is a moment of pure affection and camaraderie with the cast. “When the curtain closed after Journey to the Past, at the end of act one, all of the cast joined me onstage and we danced around and celebrated!” 

Anastasia was one of the most beautiful productions to hit the FHS stage. The audience fell in love with not only the story but those who told it. The students at FHS work so hard, and you can see it. The quality and standard that is expected of these students is not only met year after year, but it is exceeded.  

“We are so thankful to the community for showing up, showing up for the arts, showing up for the kids, and showing up for Frenship,” expressed Lierman. “We truly hope each of you enjoyed the show and, if only for two hours, got to escape life and just live in a dream. We can't wait to see you again next year!’