After the cancellation of the SHS spring play last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and moving the fall musical to spring of this year, students are excited to once again take the stage to present a new musical, “Freaky Friday.”
Performances will be at 7:30 p.m., April 16 and 17 and 2 p.m., April 18, at the Gladys Wirsig Jones Auditorium.
The musical is based on a novel by Mary Rodgers and a Disney film with a cast of 30. Cast members are Alexa Munsinger as Katherine Blake, Libby Ehlers as Ellie Blake, Quentin Slater as Mike Riley, Landen Newquist as Adam, Hannah Underwood as Savannah, Tori McFarland as Gretchen, Hadlee Kinghorn as Hannah, Kaitlyn Widger as Torrey, Greyson Kinghorn as Fletcher Blake, Derik Farrell as Parker, Grem Haynie as Wells, Jace L’Heureux as Grandpa Gordon, Lucy Martin as Grandma Helene, Derik Farrell as Louis, Sophia Adkins as Danielle, Vesta Bopp as Laurel, Dominick Reynolds as Officer Kowalski, Sophia Adkins as Officer Sitz, Dominick Reynolds as Pastor Bruno, Jace L/Heureux as Mr. Blumen, Sophia Adkins as Ms. Meyers, Auri Trowbridge as Mrs. Time, Kaitlyn Widger as Mrs. Luckenbill, Amelia Mattes as Adam’s Mom, Cheyenne Gough as Gretchen’s Mom, Sophia Adkins as Savannah’s Mom, Roman Rivers as Parker’s Dad and Jace L’Heureux as Wells’s dad.
Students in the chorus are Cheyenne Gough, Selena Mallory, Kathryn Nicholas, Adrian Gutschenritter, Valeria Cardona, Olivia McAlpin, Kirsten Head, Treyton Brandon, Amelia Mattes, Haileigh Ware, Caitlyn Jones, Corey Christianson, Eli Schuster and Josh Schuster.
Ashleigh Sons, vocal music instructor and director of the musical, said that a pre-fundraising event could not be held due to the pandemic. The school did receive donations through its regular sponsorship drive from individuals and businesses, and Sons noted that the musical wouldn’t be possible without their support.
“In such a tough year, I needed a show that had lots of strong female leads,” said Sons. “I also needed something modern, fun and relatively inexpensive.”
Sons said she and the cast are ready for opening night.
“We are actually feeling really good,” said Sons. “I say actually because it’s usually at this point when we’re scrambling and panicked because we don’t think we’re ever going to be ready, but this cast is different. They have worked so hard, and we’re right on track.”
With the COVID-19 restrictions, Sons said the auditorium would only be filled to half capacity to allow social distancing. She said students decided to try “Fan Cut-Outs” of family and friends placed in empty seats to help fill up the auditorium. Additional COVID-19 restrictions will include requiring anyone attending and performers to wear masks at all times. Sons said the district purchased transparent masks for the performers to use so the audience could see their faces.
“Though it’s not ideal and it’s a bit disappointing, we’re just so grateful to be able to perform at all,” said Sons. “We certainly didn’t know what would happen at the beginning of the school year.”
Sons credited co-director and fiance Elliot Smith for designing and building the set. She said he had helped her with shows for the past four years. Susan Braams from Fairfax, Missouri, is the accompanist and Julie Murren helped organize ticket sales.
“There are so many people that help with this,” said Sons. “I am so grateful to not have to do it alone.”
Ticket prices are $5 for adults and $2 for students. Tickets will be sold in advance and can be purchased by contacting Julie Murren at 712-304-2054. Seats will only be filled to half-capacity.