Melissa Gould might be the director of New Albany Middle School's production of "Singin' in the Rain Jr.," but she said that by opening night, the show belongs to the New Albany High School students who are helping her manage the musical.

The quality of the production is made possible by the high schoolers and their help overseeing 50 cast members and 15 crew members, she said.

"They are just a huge support system for me," said Gould, a New Albany resident and founder of the New Vision Dance Company, a Columbus-based nonprofit organization that features jazz, contemporary and musical-theater dance performances.

The efforts of the student cast and crew will be on display starting at 7 p.m. April 5 at the Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts, 100 W. Dublin-Granville Road in New Albany.

One of the high school student assistants helping Gould happens to be her daughter, Jessica Gould.

The 17-year-old senior is assistant director for the production. She will run the music during the show and helps with choreography during rehearsals.

Jessica Gould said she likes the way her mother plans a production.

"I feel like she runs a tight ship," Jessica Gould said.

In the past, she typically had been on stage acting and singing, but this past summer, Jessica Gould said, she managed a production at the Short North Stage for her senior-seminar project.

Senior seminar is a New Albany High School graduation requirement in which students research an idea and create a product or complete a project; they must document 80 hours of work.

Her experience working on the Short North Stage's production of "The Vampire Lesbians of Sodom" helped motivate her to work on "Singin' in the Rain Jr.," Jessica Gould said.

Another assistant director for "Singin' in the Rain Jr." is sophomore Morgan Gunther, 16, who said she began working with the middle school's theater crew about four years ago.

Gunther wants to pursue teaching as a career, and working with children is part of preparing for that role, she said.

To that end, last year as a freshman, Gunther worked on a middle school theater production as stage manager.

The experience, she said, helped improve her communications skills and helped her get to know more people.

Lauren Hoffman, a 15-year-old sophomore, also said she gained communications skills from working with the middle school theater department.

Hoffman serves as stage manager, calling cues for the show and making sure props and set pieces come off and on stage in an orderly fashion. She also is in charge of lighting and sound for the entire production.

Working with those who are younger and older than she and who have had different life experiences has helped her outside the theater production, Hoffman said. She has learned to communicate more effectively and take on leadership roles, she said.

Nick Ebertz, a 17-year-old junior, said he also enjoys working with children.

As technical director for the production, Ebertz is in charge of sound, as well as the website for the middle school theater department that contains calendar and audition information.

Ebertz, who started theater as a crew member in the eighth grade, said he enjoys seeing everyone's efforts come together and the personalities of those outside his age group.

For Quinn Gleason, a 16-year-old sophomore who serves as assistant stage manager, "Singin' in the Rain Jr." offers plenty of comedic moments that are enjoyable for the audience, as well as those acting in the show, he said.

"Singin' in the Rain" is one of the most famous musicals of all time, Gould said, and she chose it for the middle school production because she wanted to bring the classic to a new generation of theater lovers.

"Singin' in the Rain Jr." is scheduled at 7 p.m. April 5 and 2:30 and 7 p.m. April 6 at the McCoy.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $8 for students, staff members and seniors. They may be purchased at the door, at ticketmaster.com or by calling 800-745-3000 or 614-469-0939.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah