Musical theater staff member Mark Fifer said he weeped during the first two minutes of "Go the Distance," and then he couldn't stop crying.
The musical theater piece, which is part of the Youth Festival at Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp, is a touching performance that features 14 songs from a variety of musicals.
¤ Youth Festival dance and musical theater performance¤ 7:30 p.m. Thursday and Aug. 4¤ Julie Harris Theatre, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts School and Camp¤ $12 for adults, $10 for children ages 10 and younger¤ 879-7125
"On top of that, we have some monologues and words that all came from the students," show director Jeffry Lusiak said.
The shows portrays a day in the life of middle school students and addresses the issues of being a social outcast, and how students deal with love and identify their heroes.
Musical theater staff member Jason Little said he has been amazed with how well Lusiak was able to connect with the students.
"He taps into them in a fearless way where they are not afraid to tell their stories," Little said.
The first half of the Youth Festival will be made up of three dance pieces in which jazz, ballet and modern dance will be represented.
The jazz piece "In Time and Space" was choreographed by Nicholas Villeneuve. It is a solo abstract number that is based on speed and performed by Jacob Lewis.
Catherine Green choreographed a classical ballet piece consisting of a quartet and pas de deux (duet) that she said was inspired by the music composed and played by faculty member Colin Huggins.
The modern dance piece is the most challenging piece Jennifer Golonka has ever choreographed for the intermediate students at Perry-Mansfield.
"The students are working hard and are finding new dimensions to their dancing," Golonka said. "I choose this piece because it really speaks to me. It has such dramatic levels of emotion and a great sense of urgency, which is reflected in the choreography."