By RICK HAYES
MT. VERNON — —
Cast and crew members are putting in their final hours of rehearsals for the annual Mt. Vernon Township High School operetta to be presented March 7, 8 and 9.
Shows will begin at 7:30 p.m. each evening at the MVTHS Auditorium.
This year's selected musical is "Bye, Bye Birdie." Tickets are $5 each, with some reserved seating available.
Approximately 100 students are participating in the operetta, including 60 cast members, stage crew, tech crew, costume/makeup, and the production. Another 40 students are in the orchestra, under the direction of Rolland Mays.
Auditions were held after the Christmas break and rehearsals started shortly thereafter.
The cast will have its dress rehearsal on March 4 on the Casimir Pulaski holiday.
"Other kids had President's Day off and we spent the day here. Other kids will have Pulaski Day and we'll spend the day here. They are an incredibly dedicated group of kids and very delightful," said Mary Beth Mezo, the show's director. "They do it because they enjoy it so much."
When asked what makes this year's show special, Mezo replied, "The kids; absolutely the kids. It's the best group of kids at Mt. Vernon High School; I've got them right here," Mezo said.
J.J. Wiegel has the leading role in this year's musical, playing Conrad Birdie. The remaining leading characters are: Cody Wilson as Albert Peterson, Grace McDowell as Rose Alvarez, Bethaney Brown as Kim MacAfee, Bennett Lamczyk as Mr. MacAfee, Faith Harpole as Mr. MacAfee, Ashtyn Cornett as Mae Peterson, Logan Wilson as Randolph MacAfee, Riley Cornett as Ursula Merkle and Nathan Arnold as Hugo Peabody.
"We have Conrad Birdie, who is this Elvish character. He's been drafted into the Army and this is his farewell. His managers are hoping to make enough money to get out of debt on this last song, "One Last Kiss," Mezo explains. "They're going to be on the Ed Sullivan Show. They've chosen Ken MacAfee from Akron, Ohio, randomly to bestow the one last kiss on the show. Kim has the boyfriend that she is pinned to, and the McAfee family is struggling with children becoming modern, and then there's Albert Peterson and Rose Alvarez, who are the older love interests who have been seeing each other for eight years and Albert can't make a commitment because of his mother, Mae Petterson. She's manipulating and gets him to feel guilty on a regular basis. Eventually, Conrad leaves on a train and everybody else lives happily ever after."
Other cast members in the musical include: Madi Walton, Helen/sad girl; Dalton Miller, policeman/SweetApple deputy; Garrett Calvert, Maude's customer/trainman; Andrew Capps, reporter; Caleb Vaughn, reporter; Sam Lawrence, reporter, Kendall Kaskie, mayor; Megan McKinley, mayor's wife; Jonathan Dorris, Harvey Johnson; Elysia Piercy, Deborah Sue; Olivia Bailey, Alice; Jacey Donoho, Margie; Michaela Lamczyk, Nancy; Amy Heckenberger, Susie; Rachel Bolerjack, Penelope; Kaydee Dycus, Gloria Rasputin; Dala Wingo, Mrs. Merkel; Tristan Houser, Freddie; Aiden Ezell, Karl; Darakah Barnum and Chera Edwards, teen girls; Garren Bond, Brett Damron, Alex Lowery and Jase Lucas, teen boys; Aaron Neibert, parent; Ceyshona Blakemore, Mrs. Johnson, Victoria Baird, Lee; Megan Owens, Phyllis; Keila Stumbaugh, Angela Atkinson and Hailey Beal, stage hands; Jenny Rohl and McKayla Hayse, audio persons; Taylor Phillips and Falyn VanDyke, wardrobe women; and Michael Gray, guitar man.
The production staff includes Mezo, Mays, Nick Loafman, Shauna Brandt, Ashley Kern, Kathy Calvert, Zach Rines, DeeAnn Endsley, Joe Brown and Zach Standerfer; Casey Jackson, Megan Jackson and Shayln Koch are on the costume/makeup team; the tech crew is composed of Avery Barton, Taylor Phillips, Brody Wilson, Zane Wilson, Felicia Wagner, Casey Brandt, Falyn VanDyke, Olivia Ashby, Jessi Clark and Randi McCoy; and the stage crew consists of Jenny Rohl, Molly Rodgers, Keila Stumbaugh, Angela Atkinson, Erica Williamson, Michael Gray, McKayla Hayse, Hailey Beal, Kaleb Dorris, Katie Hunter and Joey Hall.