WEST PORTSMOUTH-“GET READY TO ROCK” is the responding message from the Portsmouth West High School Choir and Theater Department. Next weekend (February 10th and 11th) the school’s auditorium will be filled with the music of the 80’s British sensation “Queen” with high energy performances and crowd-pleasing numbers.
Under the direction of Linda Tieman, the musical “We Will Rock You” will remind the crowd just how “Queen” influenced music for the decades that followed. Hits such as “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Killer Queen,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” in addition to other memorable numbers illustrate the wide range of music written and performed by the band. Long time fan favorites such as “Another One Bites the Dust,” “We Will Rock You,” and “We are the Champions” remain part of almost every athletic event in the nation.
PWHS Senior Connor Gray is excited for the community to see the sets and to be transported back to an 80’s old-town New York City. “Old brick buildings with scaffolds and graffiti will get you into that 80’s period.” Gray also added how much he learned about Freddie Mercury’s (Queen’s lead singer) music and the meaning to the songs. The high school senior credits being involved in the arts as an important part of his high school experience.
Macie Jones is excited for the upcoming production and her favorite musical number is “Under Pressure.” She said the song resonates with her and it will sometimes play in her head as she gets going on projects and the rhythm is energizing. “It helps me get moving with things I need to do.”
Longtime theater veteran, senior Abigail Hazelbaker cites “Somebody to Love” as her personal favorite. A soloist in the upcoming production, Hazelbaker plans to study voice after graduation. Music has been part of her life since kindergarten and she has participated in productions of “Momma Mia,” “Le Misérables,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and others. In addition, she is part of the Advanced Choir and has been a soloist at dozens of events including the Scioto County Courthouse Christmas Tree Lighting, Greenlawn Cemetery Events, and various churches.
PWHS Senior Tabitha Johnson is hopeful the community will come to see the production. “This is such a good show.” People will remember the eighties with this music. She credits involvement with the theater and musical department for helping her expand her friend zone and introduce her to the arts. These are experiences she will take with her after graduation.
Samatha Gray joins her brother, Conner, in the production. “This is my third musical, and it is really good.” Gray explained with over forty (40) individuals in the cast doing high energy rock and roll music, it is exciting. “We have an orchestra under the direction of Dr. Jessica Powell,” she added, “so there is a lot of fun music.”
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Abbigail Rogers wears two hats in the upcoming production. Serving as Assistant Director to Linda Tieman as well as being part of the ensemble. “I am very busy and also learning about what it takes to do something like this.” “Right now I am doing the bios of everyone.”
Gary Tieman and Ed Engles have long-crafted the incredible sets used in the Portsmouth West productions. This year it is an authentic 1980’s New York inspired stage, complete with scaffolding and graffitied buildings to help bring the audience into the period.
Cast members include Noah Williams, Samantha Gray, Sara Carter, Tabitha Johnson, Tabitha Rogers, Tehya Hazelbaker, Turner Young, Isabella Sherman, Jacee Carver, Jackson Bell, Jacob Sherman, Kara Carter, Logan Ralstinl, Mason Tieman, Hunter Terry, Dalton Hedrick, Dalton Russell, Daeglan Wolfe, Earnest Rhoden, Elizah Crisp, Elijah Casper, Emily Hammond, Emma Damron, Abigail Hazelbaker, Ashlynn Swords, Braden Grooms, Janna Grabowski, Bryson Perry, Connor Gray, Macie Jones, Isabella Kammer, Abbigail Rogers, Adri Quirasco, Ethan Patton, Cassidy McClurg, Charles Pollitt.
The Chorus includes Oliva Kirkkpatrick, Ethan Hazelbaker, Isaac Horner, Lita McGraw, Breanna May, Bralyn Newman, Claira Davis, Ethan Doughman, Malaya McGuire, Payton Howard, Rylee McDermott, Samantha Thompson, Sam Weiss.
Technical Staff includes Carlos Scott, Nathan McCoy and Josh Sherman. In addition, Dr. Ryan Powell will coordinate the sound and Jason Chaney oversees lighting.
Tickets for the upcoming “We Will Rock You” event February 10th and 11th performances are available in the administration office at Portsmouth West High School.