by Liz Lizama
This fall, local high schools will showcase their talent with the help of parents, theater professionals and elementary and middle school thespians. McLean High School will kick off the fall theater season with the Halloween night debut of “The Addams Family,” and a costume contest.
November and December is when the rest of the shows premier. J.E.B. Stuart High School’s production of “The Sound of Music” and George Mason High School’s showing of “The Phantom of the Opera” open in November.
Then, closing out the season in December are the musicals “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The Music Man” performed by George C. Marshall High School and and Falls Church High School,
McLean High School
Drama students at McLean High School are conjuring the spirit of the season as its theater company gears up for the Halloween-night premiere of “The Addams Family.”
“Presenting a family-friendly show for audiences of all ages, with the bonus of a fun tie-in to Halloween will be a winning combination,” said Amy Poe, artistic director of the McLean High School Theatre Company.
Fresh from Broadway, the new musical features an original score by Andrew Lippa and includes the classic Addams Family antics, which many like Poe grew up watching on television.
“The familiar classic family evokes nostalgia with a modern touch, in a heart-warming story that is good, plain fun,” Poe remembered.
The musical brings the ghoulish family to stage starring Gomez, Morticia, Pugsley, Wednesday, Lurch and Fester. All grown up now, Wednesday Addams falls in love with a “normal” man from a respectable family. She invites him and his parents over for dinner to meet her morbid and quirky family, which makes for an entertaining spectacle.
“The Addams Family” runs Oct. 31 – Nov. 7 with a special 11 p.m. debut tomorrow night. The other performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 1, Friday Nov. 7, and Saturday, Nov. 8, with 2 p.m. matinees on Sunday, Nov. 2 and 9.
The play 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
When Choir Director Emi Eiting was exploring productions to bring to J.E.B. Stuart High School, she knew she wanted a show that would involve the whole community. And “The Sound of Music” fit her vision.
“I knew the scope of the show from set design and costumes would be more than the kids could handle alone, so it would then bring kids, parents and local professionals together to help,” Eiting said.
The cast also extends beyond just the local high school with students from Glasgow Middle School, Bailey’s Elementary School, Beech Tree Elementary School and Springfield Estates Elementary School starring in the show. Adding a personal touch to the von Trapp family, two pairs of real-life sisters play the parts of Liesl, Gretl, Marta and Brigitta.
Nov. 16 will mark 55 years since the original Broadway musical first opened at Lunt-Fontanne Theater and the J.E.B Stuart High School community could not be any more excited to bring the show to its stage during that time.
“Any time ‘The Sound of Music’ is presented with as much heart and respect for the original as much as these kids have, it is worth seeing,” Eiting said.
“The Sound of Music” runs Nov. 14 – 22. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays with a special 2 p.m. matinee on Nov. 22.
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 stuartchoralboosters.blogspot.com or call 703-824-3900.
George Mason High School
With a talent pool that includes students passionate about opera, the George Mason High School theater department explored shows that would highlight those strengths.
“After careful consideration, and a meeting with the students at which we warned them about the amount of work this show would require, it seemed to be the project that made us all the most excited,” Shawn Northrip said of the choice to put on their production of “The Phantom of the Opera.”
The lead actors are especially enthusiastic about this production. While at Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School, many of the cast members studied the show in their seventh grade theater class.
As the longest-running production in Broadway history, “The Phantom of the Opera” has been playing for over 25 years. The timeless story follows a disfigured composer who lives below the Paris Opera House.
The love for his beautiful protégé Christine Daae takes him on a terrorizing journey when his wishes are not met.
“The Phantom of the Opera” runs Nov. 20 – 22. Performances are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. The play will be performed at George Mason High School, 7124 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church. Tickets are $10 for general admission and $5 for students. For more information, visit fccps.org/gm or call 703-248-5500.
George C. Marshall High School
George C. Marshall’s drama department will continue its fall slate of productions with the new musical, “Bonnie and Clyde.”
Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, the notorious Texas couple of the Great Depression era, come to stage in this musical featuring a unique score by Frank Wildhorn. The production follows the fugitives as they commit a series of bank robberies and murder while running from the law.
“Bonnie and Clyde” runs Dec. 2 – 6. The play will be performed at George C. Marshall High School, 7731 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church. For more information, visit statesmentheatre.org or call 703-714-5400.
Falls Church High School
A part-timer at Luther Jackson Middle School, Falls Church High School theater director Beth De Marco knew she wanted to invite her middle school students to participate in the high school production of “The Music Man.”
“The key component of growing a strong drama department is to incorporate as much talent as I can,” she said, describing the music department’s involvement with the production.
The musical takes place in 1912 in River City, Iowa, where salesman Harold Hill cons the town into buying instruments and uniforms under the false promise of sticking around to offer kids music instruction.
Lacking any musical skill, he intends to skip town with the cash except his plan changes when he falls in love with the town’s librarian.
“You know a good musical if you find yourself humming the tunes to the show as you walk out of the theater,” De Marco said of “The Music Man.”
“There are the songs sung by the barbershop quartet, the rhythmic patter of ‘Rock Island’ when the salesmen ‘rap’ to the sound of the train moving and the lovely ballads sung by Marian the librarian. And there are some big dance numbers too!”
“The Music Man” runs Dec. 4 – 7. Performances are scheduled for 7 p.m. The play will be performed at Falls Church High School, 7521 Jaguar Trail, Falls Church. Tickets are $8 for general admission and $5 for students and teachers. For more information, visit fchsdrama.org or call 703-207-4000.
George C. Marshall High School’s drama department declined to participate in the News-Press’ fall play previews.