Woodrow students challenge themselves with another complicated production

Part musical, part detective story — with a script that involves a story within a story — the Woodrow Wilson High School spring musical players have their work cut out for them this year.

The production is “City of Angels.” Not to be confused with the movie that starred Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan, this performance is a Tony award-winning show set in the 1940s that centers around the real life of Stine, an aspiring writer, and Stone, the main character in Stine’s detective novel.

“Although the show was a huge hit in New York when it premiered, not that many people saw it,” says Woodrow’s theater director, John Beaird, who’s putting the production together with choir director Sean Morrison. “So what we are doing will be the first time many people will be exposed to this particular musical.”

Beaird and Morrison, who took over from longtime Woodrow teachers Patricia Hardman and Marca Lee Bircher three years ago, have been bringing Woodrow’s productions to new heights and challenging its theater and music students more and more.

This year is certainly no exception.

“This is a difficult thing to do to begin with, but it’s even harder for everyone involved because there is no film version of this musical so everything in it is new to the students and to the parent helpers,” Beaird says. “And all of that doesn’t even touch on the difficulties of the music and the text. The jazz score is very hard to sing, and the book presents huge challenges to young actors.”

And there are set challenges as well. Half of the show takes place in color; the other half in black and white. Diana Goldberg, a Woodrow parent, has been helping Beaird conceptualize a way for the actors to “easily move from scene to scene.”

“She has worked tirelessly to help bring my vision to life. Diana’s extraordinary contributions are helping to assure the success of this production,” Beaird says.

And Goldberg isn’t the only one working hard.

“We are fortunate to have many very talented students at this particular time; otherwise I never would have attempted this difficult show,” Beaird says.

“City of Angel’s” leads include Evan Faram as Stone; Brielle Romney as Alaura; Molly Vines as Donna/Oolie; Rick Powers as Buddy; Matthew George as Stone; Brent Bailey as Jimmy Powers; and Rachel Einstein as Gabby/Bobbi.

“Everyone is working very hard to make this a success. We’ve had a pretty amazing year this year, and the work on this musical has been so much fun that we are all excited to get it in front of an audience.

“If we pull it off, it ought to be a show to remember.”


Woodrow Wilson Musical: “City of Angels”

WHEN: Thursday through Sunday, April 27-30, all shows 7:30 p.m. except for Sunday show at 2:30 p.m.

WHERE: Woodrow Wilson High School, 100 S. Glasgow Dr.

TICKETS: Advance — $8 general seating, $12 reserved; at the door, $10/$15. On sale at Minyard’s and Woodrow Wilson. Call parent Deb Crabb at 214-823-3267 for reserved seats.

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