DeSoto High musical opens Thursday
As DeSoto High students practiced last week for its annual musical, choreographer Jeanne Beechwood stressed details.
"If you hold your hands here, youll have right angles at your elbows," Beechwood told a young dancer.
Director Mary Etta Copeland said Beechwoods perfectionism is shared by all those involved in the musical.
"We have very high standards," she said. "We have the concept of always taking things to new levels."
Beechwood works with Copelands son and succeeded him as the schools professional choreographer.
This year, the school is applying its standards to something new with the production of "Leader of the Pack"X a rock-and-roll musical. The show will be presented at 7 p.m., Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the DeSoto High theater.
"Weve done about 30 Broadway musicals, but weve never done one of this genre," Copeland said.
The musical will includes more than 20 classic rock-and-roll numbers. The musical was written by Ellie Greenwich, who wrote such songs and "Da Doo Ron Ron," "Going to the Chapel," and, of course, "Leader of the Pack" by the age of 24.
"It is the story of her success, marriage, breakdown and recovery," Copeland said.
Sophomore Tiffany Ray is in the dance routine for "Baby, I Love You."
"Im a cuddle person," she said. "Its a lot of work."
She said she appreciates the professionalism Beechwood brings. Ray said she see her routine coming together as the performers learn their dance steps and apply the detailed movements the choreographer introduced.
More than 85 students are involved in the musical, Copeland said. Sixty-five students will be on stage.
"There are a lot of kids involved," she said. "Thats our pattern here. Whats exciting is that we are less than half the size we were last year, and we have the same number of kids involved.
"With this fabulous set, we have the ability to feature a lot of kids."
Lead roles will be played by seniors Josh Blackman, Jamie Budreau, Kim Buchanan, Rebecca Coffindaffer, Cody Gratney, Chad Johnson, Adam Karashin, Amanda Leach, Patrick Lattig, Andy Moore, Lucy Rumsey, Penny Teater and Sarah Wright.
Moore said past roles in musicals helped prepare him for his role as the musicals male lead and his first two solos. Still, he found the challenge daunting.
"At first, I didnt want the part because I didnt feel I could handle that much responsibility," he said. "Its weird how things work out."