THOMAS – It is their youngest cast ever and they are doing their hardest show yet, but when the curtain opens Monday night, performers with the Snake River Musical Theatre department will be ready.
The group is teaming up with community sponsors to bring the acclaimed musical production "Phantom of the Opera" to the stage. The show, written and staged by Andrew Lloyd Webber in 1986 has been on professional stages all over the world. But it was just recently released by the Rogers and Hammerstein Music Library to high school students across the nation.
"What a magnificent opportunity to be one of the first schools in the state of Idaho to have the privilege to produce this show," said director Laurie Grayson. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play the renowned roles of Phantom, Christine, and Raoul."
There are approximately 55 students participating in the production, including a group of dancers from Paunie's School of Dance. The Phantom will be played by junior Sean Grayson; the lead female role of Christine is played by sophomore Baily Mitchell; and Raoul is played by senior Drew Parks.
The musical tells the story of the gruesomely deformed Phantom who lurks beneath the stage of the Paris Opera. For years, he has been frightening all its occupants with his occasional appearances. The Phantom ends up falling fatally in love with the young soprano Christine, devoting himself to training her to become a star. However, when she rejects him and falls in love with her childhood friend, Raoul, the Phantom instigates a murderous rampage.
Grayson says she realizes this is busy time of year, but hopes people will "get out of their tractors and trucks — take a break from harvest and come and see it."
Snake River typically schedules its annual musical production for February, but decided to change it to August this year to accommodate student schedules.
"Students just get so busy," said Grayson. There are students who are focused on high academics and others playing basketball. The kids are just overbooked. We hope this helps them."
The audience will find an addition of masks in this production. It is an element which has been intentionally added by the play's art director to illustrate "how people hide behind masks".
"This is a theme that really connects with teenagers," said Grayson. "It shows how vulnerable people are and how we use masks to hide ourselves."
Others involved in direction include Jana McBride (music), Sarah Jackson (acting and art) and Annie Grayson (costumes).
The Snake River High School Music Theatre production of "Phantom of the Opera" by Andrew Lloyd Webber opens Monday and runs through Saturday, Aug. 27 in the SRHS Auditorium. Showtime is 7 p.m. and all tickets are $5.