HAMMONTON - Hammonton Towne Drama players are getting their “heads in the game” as they rehearse for their upcoming play “High School Musical.”

“We have a great cast, a lot of talent,” said Joan Morsa, president of Hammonton Towne Drama, during a recent rehearsal for the play.

It is not just the actors who have talent, but the staff do as well. According to Morsa, most of the staff moved their way up through the program from childhood.

“They are working for a common goal,” said Morsa.

Formerly known as Hammonton Youth Theater, children used to get too old for the program. When Morsa became president though, they increased the age limit to 25.

However, Hammonton Towne Drama is reluctant to even enforce that age limit.

“It’s 8 and up,” said Morsa. “We don’t want to put a cap on it. Older people can be on staff.”

The drama group also is considering doing plays that would include roles for those who are older because many on the staff want to continue acting.

The program has helped many of its participants come into their own, including Morsa’s son Luke.

“It really helped him find himself. I found that once the kids get on stage something takes over them,” said Morsa.

Luke Morsa, who is in his early twenties, is working as the choral director for the play.

“It’s very different being on this side,” said Luke, who feels a lot more responsibility working behind the scenes than on stage.

Director Christian Milazzo, who also has performed with Hammonton Towne Drama, echoed Luke Morsa’s sentiments.

“It’s no longer just about you and your parts,” said Milazzo about being on staff and working behind the scenes.

For Dan Cirino, who is an assistant to the director, working behind the scenes is all about giving back to the program that has done so much for him.

“They gave us the opportunities to hone our skills and we wanted to give back,” said Cirino.

It is clear that all of the staff enjoy working with the kids in the play.

“This is an extremely talented group of kids. Most of the kids are very motivated,” said Morsa.

However, it’s not all work for the cast and staff of “High School Musical,” there is plenty of fun too.

“We feel it is important for the kids to have fun as well as us,” said Cirino.

“It’s fun; there’s a lot of cool dancing and good singers,” said Krista Gallagher, 14, one of the actors in the play. She is excited for the final product, and she is sure people will enjoy it.

People can see “High School Musical” performed by Hammonton Towne Drama on Aug. 24, 25 and 26 at 7 p.m. The play will be held in the Performance Arts Center at Hammonton High School. Tickets are available through any cast member or can be purchased at the Performance Arts Center at the high school every Tuesday and Thursday evening from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Hammonton Towne Drama also is having a fundraiser at the Funky Cow on Friday from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. with 10 percent of all proceeds going to Hammonton Towne Drama. For more information on the Hammonton Towne Drama, please visit its Facebook page under the same name.

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