GuilliamsA Scioto County Mother’s Day Weekend Tradition, the awe-inspiring spring production of the Portsmouth West High School Theater Department will not disappoint and on May 10-12th, the Vern Riffe Center for the Arts will be transformed into the turn of the century frontier for the Rogers and Hammerstein musical, “Oklahoma” under the direction of Linda Tieman.
The lively and talented cast of characters bring life and story to these pioneers and you will find yourself cheering for their success. The musical numbers are familiar and the cast of nearly 60 students move effortlessly through the scenes and find ways to pull the audience into the early 1940’s America.
Addison Guilliams, a PWHS senior, who has been in multiple theaters productions in both lead and ensemble roles, is a perfect Laurey, the attractive, strong-willed, very independent farm girl. Guilliams has performed in both lead and ensemble. “This is so different, Momma Mia is so upbeat and funny and this is pretty dark,” Guilliams said. “It’s a challenging show. The issue of men holding power over women in this society is pretty much a theme. The Music is awesome and has really great messages that are very relevant today.” Guilliams plans to attend Marshall University to study Psychology.
Levi Kouns, no stranger to the PWHS productions, will portray one of the central characters, Curly, a rough and rowdy cattle rancher who has his eyes on only one beautiful young farm girl, Miss Laurey. Their attraction to each other quickly turns to conversations of love and you will find yourself identifying with these young characters and their struggles. “This is a total contrast for me because I normally play the comic relief and this time I’m one of the dark characters,” Kouns said. “Even though we talk about the dark parts, a lot of this is fun and upbeat and I think anyone can come to this show and enjoy it for what it is.”
Curly and Laurey’s close friends, Will Parker portrayed by Evan Green, the iconic wheeling and dealing cattle rancher and Anna Lovins/Zoe Hannah Rawlins play Ado Annie, a charming and very smart young woman. “she’s is kind of in a love triangle with Ali and Will and she’s kind of ditzy and at times, you think, did that just come out of her mouth?,” Rawlins said. “There is s scene where she literally kisses two guys in the same scene and she doesn’t think a thing about it.”
Lovins is not a stranger to playing the split role parts. “It’s amazing to play, it’s fun, it’s definitely a comic relief part, fun to play and get to go through the scenes and try not to laugh,” Lovins said. “Playing the shared roles allows for an opportunity to learn because you get to experience two different sides of the show, the lead half and the ensemble and to see it all and all of the different amount of work.”
“The most interesting thing to me in the musical, is that there is like an 11-minute long ballet sequence with no dialog, it’s really good and I’ve never seen something quite like that before,” Green said. “I think the reason it would be accepted other than it’s a classic, is it’s very early 20th century. There are very dark moments, contrasted by very funny silly comic relief, which is my character.”
Every cowboy story has a devilish side, and ol’Jud Fry (Cole Tackett) fills this role with such skill. “My part as Jud, I’m still trying to interpret what my role is because it’s so free for interpretation. You can see it in so many different lights…there are times when I’m trying to take advantage of Laurey and other times, the way I play I’m trying to take care of her,” Tackett said. “Then, in the burlesque scene, that’s the kind of person I am, my character’s trying to pay for love rather than being able to obtain my own. It’s difficult to not be awkward because I’m not used to no one talking. It’s like your laughing at the ignorance of reality.”
Alicia Smith, another senior, plays Aunt Eller who will balance out the cunning Fry with a moral compass that comforts not only her niece Laurey, but also the entire town. “Aunt Eller a very special character that is like the heart of the show, because she pulls everything together and tries to see the good in everyone.” Smith plans to attend Shawnee State in Exercise Science and then physical therapy later on.
Alexis VanDyke, a senior dancer and member of the ensemble, plans on attending Shawnee State studying PreMed and possibly going to New York for Med School.
Hunter Maynard as Ali Hakim, “There’s a part where Ado Annie thinks I (Ali) wants to marry her, but then I don’t want to marry her.”
Isaiah Norman, a senior playing Slim states, “My part, I’m with other guys in the ballet, and Jud does not have anyone else. My part is like a robot. It’s up to your own interpretation.” He plans to go to Shawnee State in business marketing.
“It’s also hard because it’s very emotional on people, there are people who go through domestic abuse or being taken advantage of,” says senior Trista Ball. “I was literally watching them and I was in tears, it’s really beautiful and yet heartbreaking.” She is planning on taking a year off from school and wants to look in the field of photography.
Ivy Ferguson, senior in the ensemble and dancer, “I plan on going to Shawnee to get my bachelor in Nursing and then probably to Marshall to get my master’s.
Senior Timmy Thompson is going in a different direction. “I’m going to the SCCTC for auto tech to be a mechanic,” he said. “I‘ve always liked to work on autos and I fix my own stuff.”
Landon Perkins is Andrew. “It’s a little bit about your occupation, there’s a big rivalry between the farmers and the cattlemen, not liking each other and what they do,” Perkins said. “This show very well does relate to modern day. What people need to focus more on is not so much on what our characters are saying, but how much we’ve changed so far, but have a lot more to change.”
Jenna Mullins as Gertie says, “She’s this girl from the next town over, she and Lori have like a conflict because Laurey wants Curly and Gertie has Curly, plus she has this insanely annoying laugh.”
Cast of Characters: Alicia Smith – Aunt Eller, Addison Guilliams – Laurey, Anna Lovins – Ado Annie, Zoe Hannah Rawlins – Ado Annie, Jenna Mullins – Gertie, Layla McCleese – Ellen, Levi Kouns – Curly, Cole Tackett – Jud Fry, Evan Green – Will Parker, Hunter Maynard – Ali Hakim, Isaiah Norman – Slim, Landon Perkins – Andrew Carnes
Ballet Trio: Aris Setty, Julianna Parlin, Abigail Hazelbaker
Cast of Dancers and Ensemble: Ivy Ferguson, Ashlynn Pfau, Haven Hileman, Charity Teeters, Bailee Wireman, Alexis VanDyke, Jalynn Williams, Lexi Collins, Sailor, Chandler McClurge, Cienna Newman, Bethany Smith, Savannah Baker, Trista Ball, Bryson Ratcliff, Dacota Wetmore, Alexa Leist, Kinsley Scarberry, Nikki Grashel, Madison Howard, Talisha Osburn, Angel Hammond, Jesi Guilkey, John Jones, Jacob Bays, Taran Willis, Matt Justice, Taylor Pennington, Ryan Thompson, Corey Hackworth, Andrew Abrams, Xavier Camden, Nick Gray-Student Director, Timothy Thompson-Federal Marshall
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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