The Branson High School Theatre Department’s production of “42nd Street” opens this week with four show times at the Branson High School.
Shows are being held on Friday, Feb. 19 and Saturday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. There will also be matinée performances held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 20 and Sunday, Feb. 21.
Based on the 1932 novel by Bradford Ropes and the 1933 Hollywood film adaptation, the musical “42nd Street” is by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, with lyrics by Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer and music by Harry Warren.
“This is just a great classic story of a girl who wants to make it big on Broadway and the different things that sort of stand in her way,” said Branson High School Theatre Teacher Erin Moody. “So this is a really simple, but fun plot line. This show is great for kids. There are so many dances and pretty costumes. So it really is just a fun outing for the whole family.”
In selecting “42nd Street” as the theatre department’s next production, Moody said her reasoning was really two-fold.
“Well I always take a look at my kids and I look at what talents I have. This year I have an overwhelming amount of super talented females, and I knew I wanted to showcase them,” Moody said. “So this show obviously has both male and female parts, but it does have these huge dance roles for strong females. So that’s kind of why I choose it. Also just because it is more of a classic show. I know last year with ‘Legally Blonde’ it was more modern, so I thought it was time to do a more classic production for audience members.”
For the set designs on stage, Moody said they had to figure out a creative way to showcase all the different locations the characters go during the musical.
“We decided to take a different kind of spin on it and we have a set background structure, but we have some movable pieces that move on and off stage to set those different locations. It’s definitely a challenge, but it is looking so great and I’m definitely excited for it,” Moody said. “We have tons of kids involved in this show. We’ve got a full student orchestra pit from our band department and then we have our choir program who helps us with our backstage chorus and then obviously the theatre program with our actors and singers on stage.”
The time period for the production is set in 1933. Moody said, in order to transport the young actors in the show back in time, they had to have the right attire.
“I actually have a great student designer, Lucy Thomason, and she’s done a good job helping with the time period for this show,” Moody said. “This is a huge costume show, so having as many hands on deck as possible is what’s going to make it so successful.”
While Moody admits that putting on a larger show during the COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t been easy, it has not stopped the Branson High School Theatre Department from rising to the challenge.
“Well considering there have been so many kids involved, that has been a huge challenge. I mean, we have about 50 kids on stage and probably 50 kids backstage and then we have the (orchestra) pit as well. It’s challenging for sure,” said Moody. “I’m just thankful that we’re able to continue our art that we love so much. We’re just trying to stay safe by wearing masks and social distancing when we can. We will require our audience members to wear masks as well.”
“42ndStreet” features the acting talents of Brooke Cox as Peggy Sawyer, Tatym Gettling as Dorothy Brock, Samuel Seitz as Julian March, Gage Phipps as Billy Lawlor, Grace Clark as Maggie Jones, Cameron Morrison as Bert Barry, Kyndall Coker as Andy Lee, Chloe Cofer as Ann Reilly, Hallie Bliss as Phyllis Dale, Andrea Fuentes as Lorraine Flemming, Cole Hill as Pat Denning and Jaxton Cottom as Abner Dillon. The cast understudies also include the acting talents of Talya Tinoco as Peggy Sawyer, Abigail Jackson as Dorothy Brock, Jaxon Cottom as Julian Marsh and Sean Osmond as Billy Lawlor.
The musical also features Tap/Jazz Dancers Jenna Bernhardi, Talya Tinoco, Andru Griffin, Milla Solvie, Larkin Currier, Graci Calovich, Mya Marquez and Emma Duvall. Also in the production are Jazz Dancers Abigail Jackson, Cassie Ellett, Sydney Pride, Alizah Miller, Cassandra Carter, Brianna Gragg, Logan Munden, Alyssa Gagnepain, Kaitlyn Ayers, Elizabeth Barnes, Lauren Mahoney, Carmen Rys, Ryley Stafford, Caden Moszczenski and Sean Osmond.
The Onstage Chorus features performances from Solomon Anderson as Oscar, Caden Moszczenski as Mac, Jasmine White as Thug One and Mark Ledbetter as Thug Two, as well as Spencer Coffman, Owen Keene, Elijah Seitz, Brynleigh Hill and Molly Jones.
The Carlew Chorus features AJ St. John, Drew Arledge, Callie Sorensen, Mikayla Kniepfel, Alexis Osenga, Zane Petersen, Lucie Riley, Karletta Gillam, Patricia Shields-Atwood, Emma Mathews, Arwen Parsons, Bethany Vorhaben, Chloe Jackson, Aliyah Bissonnette, Jessica Williams and Amelia Zerbe.
Joining Moody as musical director in the production crew are Audio/Visual Director Grant Moody; Music Director Daniel Jarrett; Vocal Director Jacob Carlew; Business Manager Darci Cott; Choreographer Madison Foreman; Stage Manager Kayleigh Boss; Backstage Chorus Student Director Jordan Kendrick; Spotlight Operator Evelyn Gratton; Sound Operator Lizbeth Garcia; Light Board Operator Ian Avellanosa; and Curtain Operator Tristan Hayes.
The production crew also includes Assistant Stage Managers: Serenity Schielke and Ella Morgan; Student Directors: Cidrick Higgins, Lizbeth Garcia and Trinity Bell; Dance Captains Kyndall Coker, Jenna Bernhardi and Grace Clark; Deck Crew: Wyatt Carlson, Cameron Boss, Hunter Wicker, Tyler Freyermuth, Kamden Musser, Cassidy Baker and Simon Wolfe; Costume Crew: Lucy Thomason, Amber Parsons, Paden Higgins, Ella Sandine, Skyla Gahagan; Props Crew: Sophia Valle, Lydia Woodmansee, Anna Thomason, Paige Stanford, Patricia Rodriguez; Hair and Makeup Crew: Naomi Koscheski, Emma Duvall, Payton Stiff and Payne Bowman; House Crew: Desiree Dehart, Kaleigh Degarmo, Allya Gandy, Izsak Carlino, Carrington Davis, Kylee Kaneaster, Aliyah Hiebsch and Kevin Dukes; and the Box Office Crew: Khushi Patel and Francesca Makuch.
Tickets to the show are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors. Tickets can be reserved in advance by emailing email@example.com calling the Branson High School at 417-334-6511, extension 5013. Visit the Branson High School Theatre Department page on Facebook for additional information.
UPDATE: Due to the inclement weather, the opening night performance scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 18 has been cancelled. An additional show has been added to the schedule for this Sunday at 2 p.m. Those with tickets to Thursday's canceled show can message the email address listed above to move their tickets to a different show day or get a refund.