Oklahoma’s coming to De Soto
De Soto High School will return to its "Oklahoma" roots this week.
"It was the very first musical ever performed by De Soto High School back in 1969," said director Mary Etta Copeland.
The school will even bring back one of the original performers. Copeland said Lana McPherson will play the piano at a Saturday performance as she did 32 years ago.
"Oklahoma" has more to recommend as a high school musical than just nostalgia, Copeland said.
"Anything Rodgers and Hammerstein wrote is good with great music," she said. "It has a large cast, so we can get a lot of students involved."
In fact, Mary Etta Copeland is preparing two casts to present the school's fall musical. The second cast is not a crew of understudies waiting in the wings. Each cast will present two of the musical's four performances. The chorus will remain the same.
"It's a great way to get more kids involved," said senior David Davis, who sharing the male lead of Curly with fellow senior Paul Seaman. "We have a lot of talent to work with this year.
With the opening of Mill Valley High School, the high school is small enough to give a large number of its students a chance to participate, but large enough to produce talented students and attract quality faculty, Davis said.
"It goes back to the schools splitting," he said. "Not many of us were involved in this kind of stuff before the schools split.
"We're lucky in our fine arts department to have the great talent we have. Mrs. Copeland will produce a good program no matter what."
There are subplots that will give lots of students a chance to stretch their acting muscles, said Jen Thierer, who plays Gertie with Becca Davis.
"The show has a lot of parts that might not be leads, but have a couple of line," she said. "There are a huge amount of freshman involved."
The musical follows the off-and-on romance of Curly and Laurey, which is complicated by Curley's attitude that "he can get any girl he wants," Seaman said. Also complicating the courtship is swaggering bully Jud Fry, who also has designs on Laurey.
"He's scary," said junior Katie Davis, who shares the role with senior Andrina Parker.
Most of the senior cast members are in the schools choir, the Madrigals. Thierer said many shared another experience.
"Some of us started out as freshmen in the chorus," she said. "When we're seniors, we want to have a chance to show off a little."