Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’: South Forsyth’s Performing Arts puts on a production of Oklahoma!

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Kate Geiger

Practice makes perfect. South Forsyth performing arts students have worked diligently everyday after school to prepare for their upcoming show, Oklahoma. Each day small groups sing, dance, and run lines, critiquing and perfecting everything before the big day. Daegan Bennet explains how he practices outside of school, “I practice whenever I can. I perform in front of my family and friends so they can critique me.”

Kate Geiger and Kayleigh Emberton

On December 17th-20th, 2020, South Forsyth performing arts students are displaying their interpretation of the famous play, Oklahoma! Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein wrote the musical and it takes place around 1906 in a Western American setting. The play follows a young farm girl, Laurey Williams, and cowboy Curly McClain juggling romance, mystery, and action. The two and a half hour play is a large change for the theatre group, compared to their prior one hour performances. The cast, despite recent changes, has risen to the challenge. 

Lights, Camera, Action! South Forsyth used this flyer to advise for the musical. It will begin on December 17th, at 7:00 pm, and will last through December 20th. Juinor Daegan Bennet is excited for the opportunity to truly express his skill by playing the lead role, Curly. “There was a fun aspect about him that I wanted to understand and work with and he also had one of my favorite songs ‘Fringe on Top’.”

Even though the pandemic has caused shifts for the performing arts program, the show must go on. The usual preparation for shows has changed.  Usually, the smaller scenes are practiced in class, and the bulk of the preparation for the show depends on after-school rehearsals. However, this year, the rehearsals are limited and students must break off into smaller groups when practicing; however, the music, dances, and acting have all risen to the challenge and delight those who’ve been able to experience a rehearsal.

The director, Rachel Munn, comments on the recent protocols, “Props that we use will be sanitized off-stage after each use, and we are limiting the number of people that touch props and set pieces.” 

The magic that happens on and off stage during any theater performance is still palpable. Ms. Munn set off to find the cast in the middle of September. In order to audition, the students had to sing a song from the musical and read lines from different roles. The students who earned a leading role, displayed something unique to Munn in the audition process.

“Casting a musical is always such a challenging process. We have so many talented students, that it makes the decisions extremely difficult!” Munn says. “Ultimately, each student who earned a leading role really showed me something unique in the audition process, and showed what they could bring to the character and show as a whole.”

Take the stage. South Forsyth Performing Arts have worked hard to prepare the famous show: Oklahoma! Ms. Munn, the cast, and behind the scenes crew have worked hard every day to prepare for this wonderful performance despite the difficulty caused by Covid-19. Ms. Munn commented on the Corona protocols enforced by the program, “We have been rehearsing in smaller groups and are staying distant from each other (on and off stage).”

The cast has devoted all of their extra time to preparing for opening night, which is Thursday, December 17th. 

“I run lines with someone every night, practice each of my dances at least once a day, in all, that probably adds up to two hours a day,” sophomore Rachel Land–who plays Laurey–explains her devotion to her craft.

Actors are a big part of a show, but the behind the scenes stage crew keeps the show running smoothly. Emily Wallace is a sophomore at South Forsyth and acts as the Assistant Stage Manager.

“I basically am the problem solver backstage. So if an actor’s zipper gets stuck, I communicate that with the Stage Manager and let them know that they might miss their cue. So I’m pretty much the extra set of hands for anyone who needs help.”

The show premieres Thursday, December 17th at South Forsyth. Tickets are on sale now and due to limited seating, there are live streams available to those who cannot make it; streaming can be accessed at  sfhsperformingarts.com.

Students have been working hard for months and look forward to sharing their talents with the South Forsyth community through the great musical, Oklahoma.

 

UPDATE: The new dates for the Oklahoma are 01/21 – 01/24