Senior hosts Disney revue Friday

Ridgefield High School senior Rico Froehlich has been working toward this weekend’s production of When You Wish Upon a Star: A Disney Revue for the last half decade.

Froehlich, who founded Rico Ray Theatre as an eighth-grade service project, will give all the proceeds to SPHERE — Special, People, Housing, Education, Recreation and Employment.

“We had to do a research paper and I did the importance of arts education for those with disabilities,” he said. “For my project, I wanted to raise money, and ended up doing a show. When I did the show again, not through the school, I had to make the official Rico Ray Theatre a not-for-profit.”

The productions have grown a lot since that eighth-grade project.

“It was a variety show then, so people rehearsed their acts by themselves, and it was almost like a talent show,” he recalled. “My sophomore year I did a Broadway revue. I picked a bunch of songs from musicals that were nominated for Best Musical and put them together, a cabaret- style revue. This year it is the same style but Disney.”

Froehlich said that this year’s production is the biggest he has ever attempted.

“It’s better this year because there are even more group numbers, so it isn’t just solo after solo. I wanted to do more with it, so there are double the amount of group numbers there were last time — there’s trios, duets, a boy number, a girl number, a big opening number, and we end on a classic. My cast is wonderful, and they are doing a great job.”

“I believe in their mission statement, which is to enrich the lives of their members through meaningful activity and employment, and I want to do that when I grow up,” he said. “I want to take Rico Ray Theatre from a small high school group of kids to a company that is available to anyone with any disability or need, and just take theater and make it accessible for everybody.”

“The most rewarding part is seeing the people’s faces at the end and being able to donate the money. We have raised over a $1,000 in the past from each of the shows. It is really nice to be able to give the money and see what SPHERE does with it and to see the audience just thrilled and smiling, and especially now with the kids, to hear them sing along,” Froehlich said.

The show will be held Friday, June 16, at 7 p.m. at Scotts Ridge Middle School, with suggested ticket donations of $10 for students and $15 for adults.