Dancing across the country
Stevenson Ranch resident to sing, dance in ‘HITS! The Musical’
Cities across the country will get to experience a musical journey featuring America’s greatest hits from the 1960s to the present with “HITS! The Musical,” featuring budding young artists from 10 to 22, including Stevenson Ranch resident JJ Carandang.
As a current dancer for the WNBA L.A. Sparks and a former NBA Kid Clippers dancer, and with numerous appearances on national TV commercials and media platforms such as Old Navy, Gap and Disney, Carandang, 7, thrives in the spotlight.
He hopes to always make his parents proud and honor his heritage as he prepares for his next role — dancing and singing on “HITS! The Musical.”
“We’re preparing and it’s going really smooth. The drive will be fun, and I’m excited to just perform, put smiles on people’s faces, make them really happy and feel good,”
Carandang said. “It’s going to feel like a big family road trip while going across the whole country.”
Carandang is slated to perform across the country as a part of a 29-member cast of “HITS! The Musical,” a 90-minute musical showcasing America’s greatest hits in pop, rock and Broadway from the 1960s to the present. The show is set to begin on Feb. 23 in Asheville, North Carolina, and work its way back to California in May.
The musical will have two stops in California — a show in Los Angeles at the Theater at the Ace Hotel on May 6 and the final show in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts on May 8.
The show will take audiences on a musical journey of nearly 100 of America’s most iconic songs including “Hero,” “Signed, Sealed, Delivered,” “I Will Always Love You,” “Singing in The Rain,” and more.
“I heard about the show, and how I ended up
getting involved with the show, was when he heard about it from a friend,” Carandang said. “I had the urge to audition.”
Carandang said he heard great things about the show, like how it was anticipated to be sensational, fun, entertaining and the cast would be filled with the “most talented” people. The next moment, he was there auditioning, which consisted of three rounds with other singers and dancers.
Carandang said he’s been preparing for a few months and each rehearsal can go up to five hours. With the show just a few weeks away, he’s more than excited to entertain cities nationwide.
“My friends, castmates are really fun and I learn more with them. I’m making so many great memories and I’m having so much fun,” Carandang said. “My older castmates inspire me, and they all mean a lot to me.”
Carandang is a dancer, specializing in hip-hop, breakdance, tumbling and freestyle, but he’s picked up a few more moves for the show. He’ll also be showcasing his singing talents when he performs “I Want You Back” by NSYNC, and other songs.
According to Carandang, the show has been a great way to expand his musical tastes. He said he’d never heard some of these hit songs before, and he’s glad to be learning about them.
Emie Carandang, JJ’S mother, said JJ surprised them at a very young age when he suddenly started dancing.
“We prayed for God’s guidance and enlightenment, and we realized that we are blessed to have him, blessed we are as a family to have him do what he likes to do and pursue his passion,” Emie said.
Both of Carandang’s parents work full-time and they have other children to care for, but their family discussed it, and came to an agreement to ensure Carandang could perform in the musical.
“We sat down with the rest of the family and figured it out. We have to consider not just JJ, but his other siblings. It’s a big sacrifice.”
According to Emie, they modified their schedules and asked for help from family members and their workplaces to make JJ’S dream a reality. Emie and her family are grateful to have such a supportive community.
Emie took a moment to reflect on how great the Santa Clarita Valley is after living in Stevenson Ranch for about seven years. The Carandang family moved here from the San Fernando Valley, and they’ve found a welcoming community ever since, she added.
The Carandangs are excited for the show to begin and hope everyone will come see him live when the show comes through California.
“I would just like to say you’re able to get your tickets now. Thank you for all the support,” Carandang said. “I have this kind of quote, ‘To trust God, believe in yourself, work hard, never give up and try your hardest to be your best.’”
“I hope that not only all the people in this area, but all the people around the U.S. to come and buy some tickets. For my fellow Filipinos, come and watch our sensational, phenomenal show.”