CANTON  The Drama Club of the Holy Cross Academy (HCA) was launched in nine of the Academy’s 10 schools last year. The response from students and parents since then has generated an expansion of the program for this school year into a larger theatee program.

The program’s fall production had 163 students performing a show called "Broadway Rocks" on stage at the Canton Palace Theatre on Nov. 15. Kristie Cramer, director of marketing and enrollment at HCA, said the program focuses on the fundamentals of theater.

"One of the aspects of theater the students learn in the program is performing on stage including singing, acting and dancing," Cramer said. "It also teaches the students team work, communication, problem solving, confidence and creative expression. We had such a great response from the program last year we decided to expand it this year. We’ve had over 10 percent of our student body get involved this year. The feedback has been nothing but positive."

Lisa Knight and Taylor Scott were directors of "Broadway Rocks." Knight said the music included in the show spanned decades of songs performed on Broadway.

"There are two numbers where all 163 kids are on stage and there are other numbers planned for each individual school," Knight said. "This is a great way for the kids to learn about performing and what it takes to put on a show."

This year, the students wore different color t-shirts to represent the individual schools and to create a rainbow effect. Cramer said they are planning a production with costumes and sets for next year.

The Drama Club is a seven-week program held at each school. Students in grades one through eight participate in a weekly class. There is also a program called First Stage for the preschool and kindergarten students.

Another new component added to the program is the Saturday Theatre Workshop. Cramer said the students are excited about the Saturday programming.

"The Saturday program is geared to those students who caught the theater "bug" during our fall and summer drama classes," Cramer said. "The program will build on the skills introduced in the fall and give students additional opportunity to sing, act, dance and learn about the theater."