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Theatre takes break from musicals with "Our Town"

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Kill the Music

CTV Staff

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Junior Ty Baker wasted no time describing his hatred for musicals as his deep, burning disgust for them draped across his face.

“I’m so tired of musicals,” he groaned. “In my span of life I’ve done 18 different plays and 11 of them were musicals. Every single musical, I’ve hated for the entire thing.”

Despite his anger, Ty couldn’t be more happy as theatre heads into the second weekend of its annual spring production with two final showings of “Our Town.”

After last year’s performance of “The Wizard of Oz” meant back-to-back musicals, theatre teacher Cynthia Baker”s selection of “Our Town” means a return to the rotation of musicals and non-musicals, and guarantees when Ty hits the stage Friday night, he won’t have to hear a single note being sang.

“Plays and musicals both have their challenges and their benefits so I like to go back and forth just because some actors don’t sing as well as they act,” Mrs. Baker said. “I like to give everybody a chance to go back and forth. Sometimes they find out they can sing when they think they couldn’t and that’s a challenge in itself. I like to give them both equal opportunity to be a part of our lives.”

“Our Town,” is a story on how people and families interact with day to day life. It takes place in Grover’s Corner, New Hampshire and centers around the relationship of George Gibbs and Emily Webb.  

“It shows different sides of people,” freshman Jenna Carroll said. “Even though it would seem really sad, it’s actually like a really heartwarming and fun play.”

According to Mrs. Baker, the choice of “Our Town” seemed to be driven by fate.

“This play kind of kept coming to me in different variations,” Mrs. Baker said. “I would just see advertisements for it and that’s how things usually happen for me. I would read blogs and stuff about what people were doing and it just kept recurring and kept coming to me.”

Another positive for Ty is the use of simplistic costumes in non-musicals.

“It’s like ‘here, there are normal costumes that normal people wear,” Ty said. “Whenever there’s like a musical with all of these colors and all these spikes and stuff that can hurt, it’s uncomfortable for the entire play.”

After last minute casting changes, some students were unable to show up to rehearsals because of other extracurriculars, which added to the complications.

“We did have a few students not be able to perform last minute,” Mrs. Baker said. “Luckily we had a few students jump in who wanted to help out with that.”

Last minute heroics didn’t extend to just students, junior high theatre director Alexis Graves had to step in and direct when Mrs. Baker was out for a week with pneumonia.  

“It was a little difficult,” Carroll said. “Mrs. Graves filled in which was nice. It was mainly just going over lines and getting to memorize them, but after that Mrs. Baker came back.”

Even after Mrs. Baker’s recovery, Graves continued to provide extra guidance.

“It actually did help,” Carroll said. “Mrs. Baker was really busy sometimes and Mrs. Graves just does little hints and that helps a lot when you’re trying to get in your character.”

Mrs. Baker said she hopes when people come see the play, they will see the connection between Grover’s Corner and Celina.  

“I’ve taught in a lot of places and you know everyone talks about how special Celina is,” Mrs. Baker said. “I just thought with that name ‘Our Town’ and the message of the play, that we just needed to take a moment of gratitude about everything that being here and being a part of this high school and a part of this town has to offer.”

 

(Addy Davenport, Michelle Barrientez, Edoardo Guerini and Nyasha Hananda contributed to this story.)

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