Musical launches theater comebackMusical theater returns to Superior High School tonight with a recipe for laughs. “Just Another High School Musical” blends a dash of Shakespeare, a slice of Dickens and a dab of theater history, all wrapped in a thick coating of humor.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
Musical theater returns to Superior High School tonight with
a recipe for laughs. “Just Another High School Musical” blends a dash of Shakespeare, a slice of Dickens and a dab of theater history, all wrapped in a thick coating of humor.
“It’s the funniest play I’ve ever seen,” said sophomore Scott Kvam, who plays the clueless assistant director.
The show follows a group of drama students who are abandoned by their drama teacher on opening night. They put on the show by themselves, although none of them went to rehearsals.
“They take all they learned about theater and put on a show,” said director Cheri Tesarek, who works at Four Corners School.
The script wanders through the classics and improvisation to surrealism, or what freshman Jake Roeber called “random weird stuff.”
Scenes include “Little Women” played by men in drag to a “Christmas Carol” rap. Oh, and don’t forget the giant banana.
“Any time you can have a boy in a dress and banana suit singing and dancing, you’ve got comic gold,” Tesarek said.
With the mix of humor styles, she said, everyone should get a chuckle, if not an outright belly laugh.
“I still laugh at it,” Tesarek said.
In this play, everyone’s a star.
“I love, love, love a show that’s got parts for everyone,” Tesarek said. “Every single person has at least an ensemble piece where the focus is on them.”
It may be a simple as walking onstage with a glittery sign to announce the next act, but each of the 32 students involved in the play has their moment.
“It’s really amusing because half of the people are cast in characters that are a lot like themselves,” said senior Alicia Olson, who plays the part of stage manager.
Well, except for Roeber, who was cast as Oedipus for a musical number.
“I get to marry my mom, kill my father, have four kids with my mom and then ...” he deadpanned.
The school’s Performing Arts Center opened with the SHS production of “West Side Story” in 1995. Other big musicals like “Oklahoma” followed, but the theater department began to lag. Aside from a one-act play each fall, SHS students haven’t had opportunities to stretch their acting talents onstage for years.
“I have seen what Superior Middle School has done with performances and feel SHS students should have that same opportunity,” said Activities Director Ray Kosey.
He and Principal Kent Bergum threw their support behind Tesarek and encouraged her to put on the spring musical. Kosey took things a step farther. He will make his acting debut as a guest star in the musical during one of the performances.
“This will be my first time on stage in a play,” Kosey said. “I felt getting involved with the musical would help show my support ... and hopefully start a tradition of an annual performance from the SHS Drama department.”
Tesarek hopes to launch a new theater Renaissance at the school — including a fall play and spring musical in addition to the annual one-act play. She is bolstered by SHS choir director Rob Calhoon, who serves as music director, and student enthusiasm.
“I was excited,” Olson said. “Being in a musical again was cool.”
Kvam sang and danced in the SMS production of “Grease” years ago, but fall football kept him from trying out for the one-act production of “Juvie.” The spring musical lets him hear the roar of a different crowd.
“I love theater,” Kvam said.
Tesarek, who has been involved with SMS productions and this year’s one-act, knows how important youth theater is.
“It’s fun to do a play in high school,” she said. “There’s nothing like it.”
Public interest will determine if the spring musical will return next year, students said. Tesarek encouraged everyone to come see “Just Another High School Musical” to show their support for bringing theater back to SHS and to have fun.
“I think everybody is up to a good laugh,” she said.