Once upon a time there was an annual Ames High musical. Like always, it was a full cast of very talented people, joyful music, and hilarious acting. And like always, it was a fantastic show put on by hardworking students.
Ever since last years production of Footloose, the music and drama department had some shoes to fill. Translating a classic musical created in the 50’s to a high school cast was a bold move, but a well executed one.
The story follows Prince Dauntless, played by Eli Bratsch-Prince, as he tries to get past his narrow-minded mother, played by Kira Marcott, to find a bride. When the ever so “shy” Princess Fred, Andie Newell’s character, comes to the kingdom, a test is created to see if she is fit to be the new princess to Prince Dauntless. And of course, there are other obstacles along the way as characters such as Sir Harry (Conor Johnson), Lady Larken (Jill Zmolek), and the deaf King (Nathaniel Metcalf), and others come across their own conflicts.
The leads were confident in their roles as they each bring a spark to their characters. Bratsch-Prince was a cute, eager little boy and brought smiles to faces in the audience. Newell was quirky and took a hold of the stage in her performance of “Shy”. My personal favorite, however, was Marcott. As a perfect part for the role, her voice inflections, posture, and general air put her on the map as Queen Bee.
The cast as a whole was powerful. With choreography from Alexa Cross, they lit up the stage in “An Opening for a Princess” and “Spanish Panic”. Mr. Linn and Mrs. Stuart were absolute rock stars with the music, per usual, and the direction by Mr. Woolery was also spot on. Medieval costumes created an atmosphere specific to the production and the set was especially wonderful.
With many hours and time put into the creation of the set, many deserve credit. Generally, the tech crew created most of what is seen on stage. But along with them, Lorrie Woolery, Mr. Woolery, Marlene Dorneich-Hayes, Maggië Hoffman, Ray Peterson, and Mr. Zmolek deserve a special accolade for their work and effort. All of these people created the amazing set that truly tied the whole production together.
From the overall production, a few parts stuck out to me as favorites. Thea Brenner has the voice of an angel, and she couldn’t be tamed. John Topf tap danced his heart out on center stage, and Metcalf deservedly broke out on top toward the finale.
If you did not see this production, what really did you do this weekend? Another year, another great production.