by Russell Bretz (photos by Troutner & Schultz)
Wow!! That’s the only way to describe the performance of this final stage play at what can now be called the ‘former’ North Baltimore HS/MS complex. The building is officially closed but the memories linger on. This was truly one of the finest productions, top to bottom, ever put together at this venue.
After a final Dress Rehearsal - the cast & crew
The casting was absolutely perfect. The pit orchestra, directed by Mr. Ben Pack, was incredible. The costumes and stage props were perfectly matched for the period this play was set in (1907).
Although the final curtain closed on 85 years of existence for the NB School, for many of us the memories of performing on the stage in the auditorium, playing on the gym floor, roaming the halls, spending our leisure time on the playground, or attending class as a necessary part of our school experience, will be with us forever. For that we can be grateful for the opportunities we had. Now it’s on to the next phase of what happens in NB: The new MS/HS complex, nearly completed, will be open for the upcoming school year. A new chapter is about to be written.
On with the show: The play opens with the pit orchestra (above: Ginger Povenmire,Lynn Phillips, Cody Switzer, Brittany Daughenbaugh and Andrew Senecal) playing a very impressive Overture which introduces the main theme of the show. That was quickly followed by a soaring rendition of “Oh What a Beautiful Morning”, performed by Evan North,(Curly). Evan sauntered down the aisle dressed in traditional Western garb complete with a six-shooter strapped on.
Next was an appearance by Aunt Eller, (Angie Swartz), and Laurey, (Kali Findley). After a little discussion about who was taking who to the dance, Curly launched into a one of the most recognizable songs in the play, “Surrey with the Fringe on Top.”
A little later Will Parker, (Jordan Detamore), Aunt Eller and the Boys sing and dance their way through the song, “Kansas City”.
Next we had Ado Annie, (Aryn Bucher) explain her dilemma with the song, “I Can’t Say No”.
Laurey and the Girls belt out a spirited version of “Many a New Day”.
Next on stage is Ali Hakim, (Morgan Findley), the fast-talking Persian Peddler who is also a charmer. He and the Men talk, sing and dance their way through the song, “It’s a Scandal!! It’s an Outrage”.
Curly and Laurey appear next to appeal to each other not to be so obvious in their admiration for each other. The song,”People Will Say We’re in Love” only makes it more obvious they are in love.
Next in the show is the somewhat morbid, and sometimes scary scene of Curly and Jud Fry, (Jim James), and the song “Pore Jud is Daid”, followed by Jud alone and singing “Lonely Room”.
The final sequence in act one is an impressive ballet performed as part of the song performed by Laurey and the Girls, “Out of My Dreams”. The dancers were Tessa Wadsworth, Principal Dancer, Aryn Bucher, Emily Meyerson, and Rhonda Nye. The dance was part of a dream sequence that Laurey was experiencing.
Act two starts with Carnes (Dennis Sharninghouse), Aunt Eller, Curly, Will, Ado Annie, Slim, (Alex James), and the chorus combining to perform “The Farmer and the Cowman”. Aunt Eller tries to get everyone singing... with a gun!
Next on stage is Ado Annie, Will and Two Dancing Girls (Erika Clark and Katie Baltz) performing “All er Nothin’” It seems that Ado Annie is trying to coerce Will into marrying her and is using her not-too-convincing argument of her attraction to Ali Hakim. Ali Hakim demonstrates his way of saying goodbye. Will does what he calls the “western version” of saying goodbye which turns out to be more hello!
Act two also features a drunken rampage by Jud Fry who attacks Curly with a knife and is accidentally killed in the process. Curly is found innocent after an interesting trial sequence. All this action follows the box social auction conducted by Aunt Eller where Curly outbids Jud for the box lunch prepared by Laurey.
Curly and Laurey sing a brief reprise of “People Will say We’re in Love” followed by Curly proposing to Laurey who promptly accepts.
Next, Curly, Laurey, Aunt Eller, Ike Skidmore (JP Miklovic), Fred (Kevin Powell), and the Chorus swing into “Oklahoma” with the stage coming alive with not only singing but well-rehearsed choreography. This was quickly followed by an encore which featured the entire cast parading off stage and down the aisles singing and dancing to the signature song, “Oklahoma”. The audience quickly rose to their feet and joined in the song.
Other performances of note were JP Miklovic as Ike Skidmore, Beth Apple as Gertie, Dennis Sharninghouse as Mr. Carnes, Lisa Sharninghouse as Vivian, Amy Keegan as Ellen, Katie Baltz as Kate, Erika Clark as Virginia, Aaron Bowers as Cord Elam, Mark Detamore as the Farmer, Mike Nye as Mike, Allison Beaupry as Sylvie, Rhonda Nye as Armina, Melinda Dukes as Aggie.
Other "unnamed" members of the chorus included: Marcy Byrd, Sharon Casey, Peggy Hosler, Sue Miklovic, Pat Williams, Pam Cochran, Cindy Wymer and Ginger Wymer.
The "Young'uns" were: Valerie Buchanan, Sara Casey, Emma Cotterman, Abigail North, Billy Trout, Levi Trout, Lucy Trout and Lilly Westgate.
The Pit Orchestra members: Director, Mr. Ben Pack; Oboe-Lynn Phillips, Flute- Carol Pack, Doreen Switzer, Clarinet-Brittany Daughenbaugh, Ginger Povenmire, Bass Clarinet-Rhonda Shiflet, Bassoon-Andrew Phillips, Trumpet-Andrew Senecal, Trombone-Cody Switzer, Tuba-Logan Carles, Guitar-Joel Swartz, Bass Guitar-Phillip Ernsberger, Keyboard -Terri Mohr, Drums-Eli Simon and Joel Swartz, Piano-Janet Goldner.
Behind the Scenes: Stage Crew—Derek Bean, Chair, Cory Bateson, Kevin Bean, Jolynn Buchanan, Paige Cotterman, Mike Hosler, Mike Nye, Rachel Permetti, JT Sharninghouse. Tickets—Paula Beaupry, Chair, Jaimye Bushey, Cheryl Cotterman, Amanda Jacobs, Dale Schwab. Props—Diane Julien, Chair, Margaret Bean, Cathy Galvin, Kristen Hagemyer, Marlene North, Lisa Sharninghouse. Set Crew—Mike Julien, Chair, Tim Apple, Cory Bateson, Kevin Bean, Ron Bean, Cathy Galvin, Mike Hosler. Cappy Cheney and Erika Clark coordinated and laid out much of the painting and several member of the cast and crew helped to paint nearly the entire auditorium to look like Oklahoma farm/ranch land
The Artistic Director of the show was Fran Weith, Producer was Voni Detamore. Choral director was Emily Myerson.
Aunt Eller, Gertie, Curly and Laurey
The "Elixier of Egypt" will help make decisions...
The Lady's Chorus helping Laurey make up her mind
The "Little Wonder" has Aunt Eller & the boys interested!
The Surrey with the Fringe on the Top (well almost... it was dress reheasal afterall )
Will Parker & Ado Annie
The Grand Finale - Oklahoma!