By David Thompson
The talents of local high school students will take center stage in the coming weeks as area high school theater programs stage their spring performances. McLean High School will open the musical “Catch Me If You Can” on Thursday, and next week George C. Marshall High School will present the musical “The Addams Family.” J.E.B. Stuart High School will put on “Fuente Ovejuna,” based on the historic rebellion there, next week, and Falls Church High School will offer its take on the classic Neil Simon comedy “Plaza Suite” next week.
McLean High School
This Thursday, McLean High School’s McLean Theater Company will open “Catch Me If You Can” a musical based on the real-life exploits of Frank Abagnale Jr.
Abagnale, as a young teen, began forging checks and using his charm and intelligence to pass as a pilot, a lawyer, and even a doctor. Becoming a world-class con artist brought Abagnale to the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, and the two entered into a game of cat and mouse that would last years.
Abagnale’s story became famous with the 2002 Steven Spielberg film “Catch Me If You Can,” staring Leonardo DiCaprio as Abagnale and Tom Hanks as Hanratty. The story was adapted into a Broadway musical, which premiered in 2011.
“After the rights for the musical were made available for regional theatres, I knew that it would be a great show to bring to our stage,” said Amy Poe, the musical’s director and theater teacher at McLean High. “Because Frank Jr. is a teenage conman, our high school students are really fascinated by his story and the genius crimes he commits at such a young age. I’m so happy to be able to bring the regional premiere of this musical to the McLean stage.”
The McLean High School production of “Catch Me If You Can” will star Alex Stone as Abagnale and Jack Posey as Hanratty.
“Catch Me if You Can” runs April 24 – 27. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. from April 24 – 26, with 2 p.m. matinees on April 26 and 27. The musical will be performed at McLean High School, 1633 Davidson Road, McLean. Tickets are $15 for general admission and $10 for students and seniors. For more information, visit mcleandrama.com or call 703-714-5700.
J.E.B. Stuart High School
J.E.B. Stuart High School’s drama department will open “Fuente Ovejuna” next Thursday, May 1. The play, written by Lope de Vega in the early 1600s, was based on the true story of the Spanish town of Fuenteovejuna’s rebellion against its oppressors.
“J.E.B. Stuart is a richly diverse high school, with high populations of Hispanic and Muslim students. In selecting a play for this school year, I wanted to choose a play that reflected the diversity of the student body,” said Stuart drama teacher Morganne Davies. “For me this production is as much about a coming together of cultures as it is about a town uniting under Spanish rule.”
The 1476 rebellion was spurred by Fernán Gómez de Guzmán, commander of the Order of Calatrava, and his mistreatment of the town’s villagers; they revolted and killed him. The Spanish king called for an investigation, and as villagers were tortured their sole response was “Fuenteovejuna did it.”
“Fuente Ovejuna” runs May 1 – 3 and May 9 – 10. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The play will be performed at J.E.B. Stuart High School, 3301 Peace Valley Lane, Falls Church. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and teachers. For more information, visit stuartdrama.org.
Marshall High School
They’re creepy and they’re kooky, and they’re coming to a Falls Church stage when George C. Marshall High School’s drama department opens the musical “The Addams Family” next Thursday, May 1.
“We drew inspiration from both Edward Gorey’s illustrations/cartoons and the 1950s Broadway production of ‘Dracula,’” said Marshall Theater Director Jason Tamborini. “The simplicity of the design with the minute detail included in it helps the audience to feel as though they truly are inside a magnificent, looming castle.”
The “Addams Family” characters were created by American cartoonist and Gorey contemporary Charles Addams, who took a satirical look at what constitutes the ideal American family. The macabre Addams clan cared little about the opinions of the neighbors who found them peculiar. The characters were undeveloped in the cartoon series; not until the 1964 television series did they receive names. This family has gone on to be portrayed in animated cartoons, films, and a musical.
In 2010 “The Addams Family” appeared on Broadway, and now George C. Marshall High School will be presenting the musical comedy.
“The Addams Family” runs May 1 – 4. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. from May 1 – 3, with 2 p.m. matinees on May 3 and 4. The musical will be performed at George C. Marshall High School, 7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $8 for students and seniors. For more information, visit statesmentheatre.org.
Falls Church High School
The Falls Church High School drama department will take its audiences into the lives of those who pass through Plaza Hotel Suite 719, in the Neil Simon play “Plaza Suite.”
The play premiered on Broadway in 1968 and was performed 1,097 times before it closed in 1970.
In each of three acts, audiences are introduced to a different set of characters: first an unhappily married couple looking to rekindle the spark in their honeymoon suite, then a Hollywood producer and a former love interest, and then a married couple that’s succumbed to nerves and off-the-wall antics while getting ready for their daughter’s wedding.
“I love this show, especially for high school theatre students. It really stretches them to be better actors. Many of these roles, these students have never tackled before,” said Director Phillip Reid. “It truly has been a delight to push them to achieve all the emotional highs and lows of ‘Plaza Suite.’”
“Plaza Suite” runs May 2 and 3. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on May 3. The play will be performed at Falls Church High School, 7521 Jaguar Trail, Falls Church. Tickets are $7 for general admission and $5 for students. For more information, visit fchsdrama.org.