Olentangy high school theater groups sharpen the lines for spring shows
From the opening to the encore, the stages of the Olentangy high school will be filled with songs and dances this spring.
The district’s four high schools will welcome audiences to their first productions since the district lifted its mask mandate, though some programs have put protocols in place, acknowledging that some ticket holders continue to want a bit of social distancing.
The spring music season in the neighborhood begins with Lycée Liberté OlentangyProduction of “Mary Poppins” from March 10 to 13. Liberty Theater Workshop director Dan Skrovan said the familiar, mostly light-hearted play was what his students needed after a “difficult few years”.
In “Mary Poppins,” the cast can meddle in a well-known spectacle, both from its classic film and more recent Broadway days, and the actors have a bit of fun preparing their British accents, Skrovan said. . Plus, the show’s technical elements, massive decor, and frequent dance numbers, especially the tap sequence on “Step in Time,” will challenge his students both on and offstage, Skrovan said.
Some of its actors will take to the skies, literally, thanks to ZFX Flying Effects of Louisville, Kentucky.
“The kids are very excited,” Skrovan said.
The cast includes Franki Cooper as Mary, Erik Thompson as Bert, Darren Sulzer as George, and Liv Sweet as Winifred. Also featured are several middle and elementary school-aged cast members, including Avery Schroeder as Jane and Grant Speelman as Michael.
For more information on tickets and timetables, go to Liberty High Theater Guild Facebook page.
Orange Olentangy High School will offer “Hairspray,” a high-energy affair with a message, from March 17-20.
Theater director Cathy Swain-Abrams said the idea to present “Hairspray” arose out of discussions stemming from the program’s BIPOC initiative, in which the department presents plays written and/or directed by people of color.
“Several students asked about ‘Hairspray’ and I knew that although our numbers are growing, I still don’t have as many black cast members as I would like, but we are watching it as we are building towards something. thing,” Swain-Abrams said.
Although the show’s main character is white, “Hairspray” touches on issues of race and equality, which led to a number of productive discussions between the cast and crew.
“We’ve heard and learned some of the things that our cast members have been through or happened to them, even in the past few months,” Swain-Abrams said. “Although our school is very sensitive to these things, not everything is as you would like.”
Still, she called the story positive and enlightening while stretching the cast and crew into the song-and-dance and technical elements of the production. The costumes, frequent set changes and high-energy songs (the show’s closer, “You Can’t Stop the Beat,” is dubbed “You Can’t Stop to Breathe,” Swain-Abrams said) mean that everything the world must be on its game.
Featured actors include Grace Chmielewski as Tracy, Caira Fisher-Rogers as Maybelle, Kamaury Kibby as Seaweed, Shannon Barr as Penny, Stephen Alexander as Link, and Zion Clifton as Little Inez. Swain-Abrams also said local black actors Brian Gray and Quianna Simpson were added to the “Hairspray” staff.
Ticket and timetable information is available at oohsoh.booktix.com.
Berlin Olentangy High School will present the jukebox musical “Mamma Mia!” a story woven around the songs of 1970s pop group ABBA, from March 18 to 20.
Despite the songs’ period of origin, many of her students were familiar with the show, said drama teacher Erin Gibbons. Located on a remote Greek island, “Mamma Mia!” gave his set designer and other tech students a challenge to capture the mood of the popular film, Gibbons said.
The show was the right one for this group, Gibbons said, for two main reasons. The first is that the past two years have required smaller productions, and “Mamma Mia!” not only has a larger group of main cast members, but also provides plenty of stage time for the ensemble, which means the full cast has plenty of singing and dancing to occupy themselves.
The second is thematic, Gibbons said. While a sometimes slapstick storyline is based on mistaken identity, it is also, at its heart, about family, and it spoke to a legacy that his elders, Berlin’s first freshmen he four years ago, wanted to leave.
Gabbie Morrison and Ellie Torlone play Donna Sheridan and Sophie Sheridan respectively. The cast also includes Charlie Thacker as Sam, Ben Holloway as Bill, Matthew Mannino as Harry, Courtney Handschug as Rosie, and Ty Ritzler as Pepper.
For more information on times and tickets, go to facebook.com/theatreberlin.
First year Olentangy High School Drama teacher Anna McReynolds says her show’s upperclassmen took their leadership to heart and their preparation for ‘Newsies’, which airs April 22-24, was no exception. .
“Everyone has been very well prepared,” she said. “A lot of kids knew the show very well and came in very excited about it.”
That excitement also comes from being able to welcome a wider audience, she said, as they look forward to fully showcasing their creativity.
“Some of my kids impress me how talented they are,” she said, adding that the talent is both on and off the stage.
“Newsies,” McReynolds said, is a “huge spectacle,” giving him the opportunity to cast a large student body but also providing creative opportunities for his team behind the scenes.
The cast includes Mason Hastig as Jack Kelly, Maddie Koons as Katherine Plummer, Andy Norbuta as Davey and Lainey Ramsier as Les.
For more information on “Newsies”, see the school calendar section of the Olentangy High School website at ohs.olentangy.k12.oh.us.