Wake Forest High School’s performing arts departments work together to present major musical this weekend.
Wake Forest — The Wake Forest High School Theater Arts Department presents Hello Dolly March 19-21 at 7 p.m. in the Wake Forest High School auditorium.
This musical marks the 25th presentation of a major musical since drama teacher Marie Jones came to the school in 1989.
Now with help from technical theater teacher Tim Domack, chorus teacher Ramona Jenner, dance teacher Sherri Newhouse, band teacher Joel Tucker and a host of alumni and parents, productions have expanded to include even more cultural and historical education for involved students.
Hello Dolly is the story of a meddlesome widow who strives to bring romance to several couples and herself in turn-of-the-century New York. The story has a rich history — from its original form as a realistic stage play titled The Matchmaker, it became one of the longest-running musicals on Broadway, winning ten musical awards.
It marks a theater debut for high school senior Juliana Montgomery who plays the title role and the culmination of a high school career in the arts for senior Tanner Compton as Horace Vandergelder.
Veteran actors, singers, and dancers from WFHS drama, musical and dance departments fill out the remainder of the cast.
Audience members can expect to see authentic Victorian costumes on actors who have studied the history and mannerisms of the period as well as the politics and events of the time.
Allison White, an alumna of the drama program and now a professional costumer, not only designed and created each costume for each character, she included the proper petticoats and corsets made in the Victorian style and gave lessons in manners and demeanor and hair and make-up suitable for the period.
Set construction students demolished salvaged packing pallets to get the proper wood texture for Horace Vandergelder’s Feed Store and created three-dimensional revolving set pieces that turn with the actors inside to create the illusion of stepping from outside into a Victorian world.
An artificial thrust allows for the traditional “trap door” that becomes the source of Cornelius and Barnaby’s “exploding tomato cans” prank.
Ramona Jenner worked with singers to help them achieve the musical style for which Jerry Herman is known — a challenge for students who are used to modern music.
Choreographer Sherri Newhouse worked with cast members to help them master dance moves consistent with the style of the period while also augmenting the complex vocal style that mark this challenging musical.And, Joel Tucker put together an excellent sound effect pit crew.
Jones is grateful for all the participation by students, parents, and grandparents. “Our stage manager, Kira Henkel, is a second generation trouper. I taught her mother,” she said. Myra Parrish Henkel is now part of Jones’ drama booster club, WRAP, along with Kira’s grandmother, Kathy Parrish.
After losing two weeks of rehearsal time due to snow and ice, it has been a challenge to get the show ready on time, but, “The show must go on,” says Jones, “We will be ready.”
Tickets are $10 with discounts for students and senior citizens and may be purchased at the door.