The talented group of singers and actors from Portsmouth West High School are putting on the vibrant musical, “Mamma Mia” the first and second weekends in March.
Linda Tieman, the high school music teacher and the one putting on this show, has put on some very powerful shows in the past, some more than once, but she says this is the first time she has done this one. Speaking with the seniors in this musical, Alicia Smith, Alexis VanDyke, Addison Guilliams, Ivy Ferguson, and Isaiah Norman, one could get the sense that they are truly enjoying doing this particular musical.
Guilliams, who is in the ensemble, and has played the lead in several of Tieman’s musicals, is this time putting on a new hat, as the student director. She, in a brief overview of the musical, says, “it is about a young girl who has grown up her whole life without her father and is about to get married and she wants to know who her father is before she gets married, so that way he can give her away. It’s just her journey throughout, finding her three possible dads for her wedding and all that comes with that. When Sophie invites her dads to her wedding, her mom doesn’t know, so she’s trying to keep the dads a secret, but the mom (Donna) does end up seeing them and it all explodes from there.”
Guilliams plans to attend Marshall University and major in psychology. ”It’s a lot of fun and I really enjoy the creative process,” she says playing the student director. “I’ve gotten to choreograph some stuff and it’s been really fun to bring out the comedy in this show and put my own little twist on stuff.”
VanDyke, another senior, who has been with Tieman for four years now is also in the ensemble. She says, “I plan on becoming a dermatologist,” after she graduates this year.
Smith, also a veteran singer with Tieman, is the production manager aas well as in the ensemble. She says that Tieman offered this to her and she immediately said yes. The other seniors say that both she and Guilliams are easy to work with, in their leadership roles. She plans on going to Shawnee State University in the Physical Therapy program.
Ferguson, one of the other veteran seniors, is playing her first lead role as Sophie in the show. “I am very nervous, but I think this past few weeks have helped me become more comfortable in it.” She plans on also going to SSU in the nursing program and minor in psychology.
Norman, the only boy senior, is in the ensemble and this is his second year being in a show for Tieman. “Honestly, I wasn’t even trying to get in this, but she asked me to do it, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made,” Norman said. “I’m just here.” Norman plans to also attend SSU and take something in business.
This small group talked about how the costumes are so fun with lots of floral beachy wear, but also the typical sequins, the disco suits, the one-pieces, and Norman says he has to wear a wet suit, with flippers and goggles.
Some of the other main cast, who are not seniors, spoke candidly about their various parts and how fun they were.
Chandler McClurg, who plays Rosie says about her character, “She is a spunky old lady who is very loud and doesn’t care what anyone thinks, and I really enjoy playing her, because I get to let out my wild side.”
Xavier Camden says he plays Harry Headbanger and says, “he is like really happy and kind of like, wow, all the time and he also plays the guitar.” And, Runions, doubles and plays Harry Headbanger also, but Camden says that Runions truly does play guitar, unlike himself. They both said that they love playing the part and it is a lot of fun.
And after they both said that, the entire group of kids said in unison, that the play was a lot of fun and that the costumes were especially fun.
Nick Gray, who plays Bill Austin, says, “He is a great adventurer and kind of uses it as an escape from reality, so throughout the musical, he has to face things like the possibility of being Sophie’s dad, he’s always running away from actual reality.”
Levi Kouns says he plays another possible father of Sophie, Sam, and says, “he is kind of like this half depressed disheveled guy who is still in love with Donna and kind of messed it up the first time. He just wants to fix it and he wants to be Sophie’s dad and make sure she doesn’t make the same mistakes that he did.”
Evan Green, plays Eddie, who Green says, “I work at the hotel and a younger guy,” But added humorously, “I’m basically just general help, I’m a bartender, preacher, a cameraman, I have quite a few different jobs in the show.”
Lucas Tackett, laughingly says he is ‘the hot guy’, but truly, he plays Sky, the fiance’ of Sophie.
Julianna Parlin plays the mother of Sophie, she says, “It is very fun, she’s a very scattered woman.”
Haven Hileman says she plays Ali, one of Sophie’s best friends, “she’s very bright and bubbly, pretty much me, but an older person.”
Bailee Wireman plays Lisa, another of Sophie’s friends and she says, ” It’s fun, cause you still get to play your young bubbly self, but you’re old.”
Delainey Ayers is a double for the part of Tanya, who she says is “one of the dynamo friends and she’s very sassy and she has three husbands and she marries for money.”
Jaylnn Williams is another double for Rosie, and she says, “She’s a spunky old lady, who has a thing for Bill Austin, she never gives up.”
After speaking to some of them individually, when asking about Tieman, the entire group had nothing, but good things to say about Tieman. They said again in unison, “We love her, we are lucky to have her, she works very hard,” and then some even said, “too hard.”
Finally, when speaking with Tieman, “There are a lot of new people this year, we lost a lot of seniors. They are having a good time, this show is mostly music.” She added that for this show, “We have 52 people in the show.” This number of kids in a show would be difficult, but as the kids and others say, she is up to the challenge and more.
After visiting with all the kids and Tieman too, it seems that if one has the time, going to one of the presentations, will be worth the time and money spent.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740) 353-3101 ext. 1928