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A family act

Oak Ridge High cousins hit the stage
By: Don Chaddock Telegraph Managing Editor
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For the Sharps, theater is a family activity, much the way other families enjoy sports or scouts. Jordan Sharp, 17, and her 15-year-old sister Jenna have appeared in more than 20 shows with El Dorado Musical Theatre. Their cousin, 14-year-old Sabrina Sharp, is in her eighth production with the group. All three young ladies attend Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills and other family members have joined in on the theater scene. Sabrina’s father, Larry, is a “fly dad,” one of the volunteers working the wires that allow the characters to fly across the stage. Susan, mother of Jordan and Jenna, is in charge of sponsorships for the organization. “Jordan’s first show was when she was 8 (and) that was in 2002,” Susan recalls. “I stated off selling ads in the programs and realized w could get more with sponsors. Many of these businesses come back year after year. We’re always trying to increase the sponsor pool. It benefits them and us.” Jordan said she did drama the first two years at Oak Ridge, but now sticks with El Dorado Musical Theatre. “I pretty much keep it here because it’s so time consuming,” Jordan said. Rehearsals for their current show lasted 10 weeks, usually three hours each day. The girls are currently part of the Mistletoe Cast of “A Christmas Carol: The Musical.” Along with the other crew, dubbed the Holly Cast, they include about 110 actors, according to Wade Sherman, executive producer. “Actors range in age from 6 to 20,” Sherman said. “This was done workshop style, meaning all the kids who applied were accepted. They only had to audition for which part they would play.” Jordan and her sister Jenna had a few high-flying scenes in their current roles. Jordan plays The Ghost of Christmas Past while her sister is The Ghost of Christmas Future. “I just love doing it with my family,” said Jenna. “My uncle flies me in the air. It’s like a huge family gathering every show. My grandmother has come to see it. It’s just great.” Jordan agreed. “I really enjoy doing this as a family and spending quality time together,” she said. Relative theatrical newcomer Sabrina said it’s rewarding. “It’s a wonderful experience being on stage with my cousins,” Sabrina said. “They are great and I look up to them.” Jordan said working with family is different. “We are always there, watching each others’ backs,” Jordan said. She said as far as their current show, many are familiar with the story so it attracts a variety of theatergoers. “This show is magical. It brings a lot more people because everybody relates to it somehow,” she said. “The story has such a history.” Being suspended 10 feet or more above the stage is not for the average actor. “With all the flying, it’s really intense,” Jordan said. Jenna, who has many flying scenes in which Ebenezer Scrooge catches a glimpse of a future that might come to pass if he doesn’t change his ways, said the shows are unpredictable. “Each show is different,” she said. Her uncle, Larry, said one of Jenna’s flying scenes had to be cut on a Sunday performance due to a technical problem. “It’s like flying planes,” he said. “When we lift the kids, it’s all in the dark. It’s a lot of fun but it’s all safe. Safety comes first.” He said tangled wires grounded Jenna, who improvised with a floor dance around Scrooge. “It still worked,” Larry said. This is Larry’s fifth show as a “fly dad.” He said he’s done every show that involves flying. Sabrina doesn’t see he stage lights dimming for her after high school. “I would live to do this after school,” she said. “I’d like to pursue it as a career.” Susan said while her daughters, brother-in-law and niece are involved, the organization is like a big family all on its own. “EDMT is family,” Susan said. “They learn and grow up together.” Sabrina said they aren’t just a “bunch of people standing on a stage” in the show. “When you come here, you see a family,” she said. Larry said he’s proud of the work the group does. “It’s a good place for kids to learn values (and) self-confidence,” he said. Unlike sports, in which parents can only sit on the sidelines to offer support, in theater, parents are directly involved. “A dad can’t go out on the field in little league,” said Sherman. “Here, parents can work the wires to help fly their kids across the stage.” Susan agreed. “It’s an activity that presents an opportunity for the whole family to participate,” she said. “It’s all parent volunteers that really make it work.”