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Theatre Magnet Puts on Second Musical of the Year

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By Chase Karacostas

Stepping out onto the stage for the last time Sunday night, senior Jacob Redmon began singing the opening song for this year’s spring musical, “Footloose.” Unlike in past years, the spring musical was the second musical of the year.

The Theatre Magnet put on two musicals this year – a fall musical, “Bat Boy,” and a spring musical. Some students. like senior Chelsea Blocker and sophomore Nathan May, had the chance to perform in both shows.

“It’s been great because this entire senior year I’ve been doing theater for all of it,” Blocker said. “I had a lot of fun with it, and it’s cool having more opportunities to be in more shows.”

Redmon, who only performed in “Footloose,” played Ren, the male lead in the show. Last year he played Perchik, a communist sympathizer in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

“It’s been really fun,” Redmon said. “This show is so much more fun than the other shows because “Footloose” is literally about having fun and dancing, whereas ‘Fiddler’ was about being serious all the time.”

“Footloose” takes place in a town that has banned dancing because of a drunk driving accident that killed the town pastor’s son and a few other teenagers. Ren, a newcomer to the town, tries to lift the ban to have a prom, and falls in love along the way.

“The characters are more fun and accessible,” Redmon said. “It’s more modern, and it’s focused on being fun.”

At the end of Tuesday’s dress rehearsal, junior Lauryn Raleigh, who plays the female lead, Ariel, said she appreciated all of the hard work students had put into the musical and felt glad that the show had finally come together.

“It’s kind of an awestruck feeling – it was really cool,” Raleigh said. “I’m really excited. I’ve never felt more prepared for anything. I’m not nervous yet. I got a little bit nervous but it went away. I’ll probably get nervous as soon as the band starts playing.”

Director Cliff McClelland ended up directing both shows because one of the previous Richardson Tech Theatre Magnet directors left to teach at another school at the end of last year.

“It was insanity to direct two shows in one year,” McClelland said. “I wouldn’t say I would do two musicals again.”

McClelland also said that he appreciated the show because of the battle it presented in the realm of artistic expression, something that the Theatre Magnet faces every year with some of its more socially confrontational shows.

“The kids would kill, and I’m not speaking figuratively, to do a musical like Chicago but because of the social mores of some of the older people in the community, we don’t get to do some of the more challenging literature out there,” McClellan said. “So, we’re constantly in the theatre department pushing the boundaries a little bit every time to see is ‘anybody complaining yet, no, then maybe let’s push a little harder and really see what the community standards in Richardson are.'”

Stage manager junior Dylan Hearn worked on both shows and thought that each show brought its own set of challenges to the Tech Theatre Magnet members.

“It was hard because right as you finish the first show, you just go straight into the second one,” Hearn said. “Switching the design concepts was difficult, going from this black and white Bat Boy show to Footloose, this colorful show with dancing and lights flashing everywhere.”

May, who played the lead in “Bat Boy” and played a small role in “Footloose,” said that “Bat Boy” was easier because the leads had fewer songs than the chorus, and there were fewer dance numbers.

“When you’re the lead, you have the extra drive because you’re carrying the show so you want to practice all the time, but with the chorus, your head starts to be like ‘oh, other people will handle it,’ but you can’t be like that,” May said.

After putting on the show from Thursday through Sunday, McClelland said he thought the audience enjoyed the iconic 80s music and the familiar plot line.

“Watching a new generation sing and dance and have fun to the same music that I had fun to when I was in high school in 1983 is just awesome,” McClelland said. “It just brings smiles to people’s faces.”

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Theatre Magnet Puts on Second Musical of the Year