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This year's 'Frozen' is a historic performance for Gainesville Middle School
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From left, Lillie Evan Young, Vincent Kiesel, Ella Early, Katelyn Standridge and Ezra Espinoza make up the core cast of “Frozen” at Gainesville Middle School. The cast is bringing the school’s first-ever performance to the stage at the Pam Ware Performing Arts Center at Gainesville High School. - photo by Nick Bowman

The cast at Gainesville Middle School is opening a historic showing of “Frozen” on Thursday, Dec. 19, and Friday, Dec. 20 in Gainesville.

The live performance of the Disney hit represents the first time the middle school has ever held a performance on the stage of the Pam Ware Performing Arts Center at Gainesville High School.


What: The Disney hit performed by Gainesville Middle School drama students

When: 7 p.m. Thursday-Friday, Dec. 19-20

Where: Pam Ware Performing Arts Center, 830 Century Place, Gainesville

How much: $6

The core cast includes Ella Early, 13, as Elsa, Vincent Kiesel, 13, as Kristof, Ezra Espinoza, 14, as the extremely evil Hanz, Katelyn Standridge, 13, as Anna and Lillie Evan Young, 13, as Sven. 

Gainesville Middle drama teacher Tyra Wimpye is a former student of Pam Ware at the high school.

“We thought, ‘Why not collaborate?’” Wimpye said on Tuesday. “These are the eighth-grade, high-school credit students who will be going up to the high school performance classes anyway. It’s never happened before, but I was a student of Ms. Ware, I have worked with her and choreographed her musicals before. Now, coming and teaching here, I thought this was a wonderful opportunity.”

The showings are also Gainesville’s final live performances of “Frozen” in town this year.

Some of the performers have been in theater for almost as long as they’ve been in school. Vincent, playing Kristof, has been performing since the first grade, and most of the others in the core cast have been at it since at least the third grade or earlier.

For some of the students, being on the stage can mean quite a lot.

“It’s a way to get away, to portray something that could mean something to someone,” said Lillie, playing Sven. “You never know how a character and how you portray them could affect your audience members. It could have a huge impact, and that’s just something wild to think about.”

Vincent, meanwhile, said the performers are like a “giant family.”

And that’s why Ella Early won’t be nervous when she steps out on Thursday as Elsa.

“I know that we have a very big family behind us to support us, and I know no matter what we will stick together and get through this,” Ella said.