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YHS senior brings musical to special ed and the Golden Chain Theatre

Allie Ruiz (center back) directs the cast of “Yosemite Unified,” playing at Golden Chain Theatre on April 14. Students (left) Marissa Guillen, Katie Crosby, David Drapper, Michael Bates and Alyssa Shipman rehearse a musical number for the play.
Allie Ruiz (center back) directs the cast of “Yosemite Unified,” playing at Golden Chain Theatre on April 14. Students (left) Marissa Guillen, Katie Crosby, David Drapper, Michael Bates and Alyssa Shipman rehearse a musical number for the play.

Yosemite High School senior Alli Ruiz, brings to the Golden Chain Theatre, “YHS Unified,” a lighthearted musical performed by 8 special needs students, raising awareness and funds for special education.

Ruiz, a veteran performer at the Golden Chain Theatre, has produced, written and directed the musical for her senior project.

The family friendly play follows YHS special needs students as they move through their everyday on Yosemite’s campus. It highlights the boundaries of their inclusion and informs the audience of the emotional toll it takes on them. It affirms the need to remove these confines as it warms the heart, promises laughter and showcases a spectacular dance routine.

Ruiz, who was inspired after reading a play about the Special Olympics reached out to the YHS special education department to see if students would be interested in putting on a musical. To her delight they spent the next 5 weeks rehearsing during seventh period.

The performance itself breaks the boundaries of inclusion, as it is the first time these students have had a chance to do a play.

“It has brought me so much joy to be able to share musical theater with students who have never had the chance to perform it and it has been amazing to see their confidence grow on stage and how much fun they are have doing it.” said Ruiz.

“YHS Unified,” will take place at the Golden Chain Theater this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The show’s duration is 30 minutes.

All proceeds from the play and merchandise (flowers and baked goods) go directly to Madera County’s special education program.

Details: Golden Chain Theatre, 42130 Highway 41, Oakhurst. Doors open at noon. Tickets $3 for an individual and $5 for a family.

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