The Wood River High School drama department has been working hard on stage to present "Just Another High School Musical" at the Community Campus auditorium in Hailey today, Feb. 23, through Saturday, Feb. 26, at 7 p.m. nightly.
"I like the play," director Karl Nordstrom said. "I think it's funny. It has a lot of references to pop culture and history."
Nordstrom said the students in the musical dress up as Romans, Greeks, people from the English Renaissance and others.
"The musical has references to theater and musicals throughout history, including 'Othello,' 'Romeo and Juliet,' 'The Crucible,' 'A Streetcar Named Desire' and 'Carousel,'" Nordstrom said.
"Just Another High School Musical" is based on the book by Bryan Starchman and music by Stephen Murray, with lyrics by Bryan Starchman and Stephen Murray. The story is about a group of high school actors who have been abandoned by their drama teacher.
The student thespians must fend for themselves on opening night in front of a live audience. The first song in the show, "We Apologize in Advance," sets the stage for how the students are unprepared.
The student assistant director and the stage manager find a box of scripts that they pass out to the cast in an effort to throw a show together. What follows is a rollicking show full of physical comedy, gags and satirical rewritings from Shakespeare to Louisa May Alcott.
"The show required the students to look up theater history and know what the references in the musical are about," Nordstrom said.
The musical includes the song "Intermission" with the lyrics, "This means our show is more than halfway done. Maybe Act 2 will be better than Act 1."
In Act 2, the students sing "Back Down to Business." The actors put their own spin on Charles Dickens with the song "A Christmas Carol Rap." Another song, "Our Town, This Town" is a reference to Thornton Wilder.
At the end, the students perform "Gratuitous Number" and a final number, "A Spotlight Big Enough for All," which closes the show on a comically uplifting note.
Nordstrom said the students are working with a new music group, including new orchestra teacher Rebecca Martin as the music director for the musical and Julie Fox-Jones as the choreographer. Janis Walton is the vocal coach and Laura Lindsey has volunteered her time for costume design.
"It's a good experience for the kids to work with new people," Nordstrom said.
Nordstrom said this musical is unrelated to Walt Disney's "High School Musical," but there is a reference to it in the show.
Cast members are Sage Howe, David Fox, Crystal Millspaugh, Jonnie Pedersen, Sio Navarrete, Drake Arial, Fischer Lewis, Katie Walton Claire Bowman, Cat Duder and Becca Boushele.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for students available at the door.
Sabina Dana Plasse: firstname.lastname@example.org