Special to the Tribune-Star
MARTINSVILLE, Ill. —
Martinsville Theater Group has been abandoned by their director, for good reason, apparently. They will be left to fend for themselves opening night, in front of a live audience.
Due to their lack of polish and preparation, “Just Another High School Musical” turns out to be a farce. In fact, their first song, “We Apologize in Advance,” is just the beginning of false starts, seized upon, but un-previewed scripts, badly choreographed dancing, and botched lines.
Student assistant director Rose Cloud and stage manager Kellie Johnson attempt to pull things together by taking the reins, but end up flying by the seat of their pants.
Rather than completely winging it, the pair deposit a storage box of old scripts at center stage and everyone grabs an old standby. What follows is a mixture of Shakespeare and Oedipus Rex, Dickens, Thornton Wilder, melodrama, and Louisa May Alcott.
The script, by Bryan Starchman, with music by Stephen Murray, includes a heap of physical comedy, confusion, sight gags, pratfalls and satirical remixing, tied together with plenty of full cast big numbers and apologies.
Four fellows dressed like Blues Brothers compare their tragedies in “Life is Like a Snow Globe.” The cast stoops to great depths for a laugh in “Dress Them Up in Drag.”
The song “Intermission” is an exercise in desperation: “This means our show is more than halfway done. Maybe Act II will be better than Act II.”
In Act II, after rapping Charles Dickens and putting their own spin on Thornton Wilder’s “Our Town,” they perform a full-cast “Gratuitous Number,” which tunefully winks at its own pointlessness.
The cast and crew seem to enjoy themselves tremendously rehearsing and performing this lighthearted take on high school exuberance, procrastination, animation and winning poses. At a rehearsal, it’s tough to tell who is muffling their lines or forgetting their choreography.
The show will be at 7 p.m. March 24 and 2 p.m. March 25.
Tickets for adults are $7, students $4, and 0-3 year olds $2.
Other cast members are: Makenna Graham, Darby McNeil, Rachel Ballew, Rachel Lehman, Brittany Davison, Austin Davison, Seth Davis, Landon Logan, Kyle Wilson, Cheyenne Dye, Ashtyn Phillips, Grace McNeil, Rebecca Blanchard, and Jason Smith.