By Katie Fallon

While many schools put on spring plays, it is not every day that students get to perform in front of the author of their production.

From classics like Romeo and Juliet to Rumpelstiltskin, that could hardly be the case, but a group of High Point Elementary School’s Drama Club students got a chance last month to perform in front of Peter Reynolds, author of “The North Star.”

On June 25, the mostly rising sixth graders performed at the National Educational Computing Conference (NEEC). Reynolds was on hand as a representative of FableVision, the company that originally produced The North Star into a musical. The students performed the roles of narrators, characters, chorus ensemble and technical assistants and were led by High Point drama director Stephen Gamba.

Before originally performing The North Star Musical Journey for the High Point community in April, students were already familiar with the story, thanks to guidance counselor Jan Waring.

PTA member Sally LeSage said Waring previously introduced the book to students when it was released as a musical by FableVision. At that point, LeSage said it seemed only natural to choose the story for the school’s annual musical.

The North Star is the tale of a young boy trying to find his way through life. With the help of various animals, the boy is able to find his way after straying from his path.

Seven of the original 14 cast members from the Drama Club’s April performance were able to reprise their roles, although summer rehearsals had to be held and new parts had to be learned.

After the students’ performance at the NECC, Reynolds met with cast members to talk about their experience and sign books and t-shirts. LeSage said children were thrilled with the experience.

“It was really exciting for them to be able to perform in front of the author of their play,” said LeSage. “He was so nice and warm and genuine.”

The 2007 NECC hosted more than 18,000 teachers, technology coordinators, media specialists, industry representatives and students at its 28th annual conference at the Georgia World Congress Center.