“Back to the 80’s… the Totally Awesome Musical” danced into Ben-Gil Elementary School last weekend featuring a talented group of Gillespie High School students. Directed by Leanna Sawyer and choreographed by Artie Herron, Jennifer Parker and Suzi Tiburzi, the group of over 60 students took the audiences of all three sold-out shows back in time.
Students spent months preparing for the successful musical learning lines and dance moves for the show that lasted nearly three hours. Advance ticket sales were sold out for all performances – Friday evening, Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon. Pre-sale tickets available at Dee-Dee’s Designs were sold out days before the opening show Friday evening although few tickets were available at the door before each performance.
Spectators were taken back in time to the ‘80s and joined the graduating class of William Ocean High School as they lived through their final senior year. The audiences traveled back to when the Rubik’s cube was introduced and when Michael Jackson and Rick Ashley were the Kings of Pop. The students conveyed to the largely attended shows the fun, heartbreaks and loneliness associated with high school and growing up.
The musical by Neil Gooding was separated into two Acts with a short intermission in between. Kylee Hardt was the musical’s stage manager while John Sawyer, Rick Spencer and choir parents were in charge of set and construction. Act 1 consisted of nine scenes while Act 2 was larger with 13 scenes.
The music programs at Gillespie High School have produced multiple successful musicals. The programs produce a musical every other year. In between musical years, the program ventures on a trip. Most recently, the program produced “Beauty and the Beast” in 2015 with three sold-out shows and in 2016 ventured to Orlando where they performed at Disney.