Students from Starmount High School and Middle School will stage a production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic musical “Oklahoma!” at the Yadkin Arts Council’s Willingham Theatre in April. Show dates are April 7 and 8 at 7 p.m. and April 9 at 2:30 p.m.
Set in the Oklahoma Territory just after the turn of the century, Curly (Gavin Adams) must compete with Jud (Ian Tavano) to take his love, Laurey (Sandra Hammesfahr), to the box social. Meanwhile, Laurie’s friend Ado Annie (Jordan Welborn) must choose between Will (Nathan Trivette), the cowboy who loves her, and a peddler man named Ali Hakim (David Meyer).
“I am really excited about this show, because I have never done anything like this before. The music is fun and fun to learn,” said Welborn.
There are 24 students in the cast, which includes high school and middle school students. The Starmount High School Concert Choir will join the cast on stage for the large musical numbers in the production. Andrea Raines, head of the Starmount High School art department, and her students will assist with scenery painting and the SHS carpentry shop class, headed by Mike Howell, will assist with set building.
The production is directed by Jessie Grant with Music Director Kelsi Jester and Technical Director Ashton Middleton.
“I have done musicals for 10 years and most of them were directed by the Grants,” said Jester. “This is my first show acting as sole music director and it is very special to have Jessie Grant directing. It is my third year being the choral director at Starmount High School and putting up a big musical here was always my plan. I am excited to see what our directing team and our talented, devoted students can do!”
The students are already having a blast as they prepare for the show.
“I think the show is going to be really fun because I have worked with Ms. Grant before. She knows how to bring people out of their shells and make a great show from people that don’t know they can. The music sounds great and it is fun,” said student Gavin Adams.
In addition to having fun, the students are also learning important life skills by participating in theater.
“Theater involvement is a great way for students to learn time management, responsibility, and team work in a setting that is supplemental to class time and work,” said Middleton. “It helps build confidence and lifelong friends. It is good for students to be a part of something as large as ‘Oklahoma!,’ because it gives them something to be proud of. This show is quirky, upbeat, and fun and the students are going to have a blast!”
The cast includes Gavin Adams, Sandra Hammesfahr, Nathan Trivette, Jordan Welborn, Ian Tavano, David Meyer, Jenna Adams, Jesse Houston, Courtney Adkins, Jake Williamson, Adam Houston, Spencer Brown, Gabe Hammesfahr, Juan Solorzano, Lincoln Funderburk, Julia Lane, Autumn Whitaker, Megan Hilton, Taylor Ashley, Gracee Bryant, Allie Welborn, Valerie Rojas, Kaitlin Johnson and Autumn Dockery.
Kitsey Burns Harrison may be reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter and Instagram @RippleReporterK.