Retro Musical and Ghostly Comedy Take the Stage By Vikki Damon

Blithe Spirit cast members

Nease’s musical theatre students performed the musical “Back to the Eighties” on April 18th and 19th in the PAC. Both Mrs. Poe and Mrs. Laird’s classes participated in the production. In addition, the drama department hosted an additional performance, with Mrs. Laird also directing Nease’s annual spring play; this year, the play was Blithe Spirit and was performed on April 6th, 7th, and 9th.

Back to the Eighties is a musical in which every song is a famous hit from the 1980s, such as “Time of My Life”, “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go”, “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, and “Material Girl”. The story follows an awkward teenager named Corey (played by Parker Tenney) who is desperate to ask out Tiffany, the prettiest cheerleader in school, and become the class president. The only thing that stands in his way of those goals is Michael, the school jock. The cast underwent rigorous rehearsals from February until opening night. The costume, hair, and makeup crew strived for authenticity in their wardrobe and style choices for the actors, making sure that each article of clothing and makeup technique was true to the fashions that made the 1980s so unique. “Costuming isn’t just going with what fits the setting,” says Elizabeth Stitt, a member of the costume crew. “You have to take into account the character and the emotions and who they’re supposed to be. It’s more complex than people make it out to be.” Sophomore Bri Rankin, who was on the publicity and advertising committee, says, “We are all very proud to be a part of this production and this department. The show is sure to be a product of hard work and passion.”

Blithe Spirit, Nease’s spring non-musical play, was a comedic straight play about a doctor whose wife had died. After getting remarried to another woman, his ex-wife’s ghost comes back to haunt him, which brings a lot of comedy into the show. There may have been only seven cast members, but that does not mean the production was any less entertaining or satisfying than the forty-five-member cast of the musical. Blithe Spirit’s actors and behind-the-scenes crew tried to create the perfect setting for the play, which takes place in England in the early 1940s. The play was co-directed by Mrs. Laird, the drama teacher, and Alexis Gilliard, a senior student. About directing the play, Alexis says, “I’ve totally enjoyed working with these actors and the tech crew. It’s definitely an experience that I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I hope the audience has as much fun watching it as we did producing it.” The play starred Alexandra Hudson as Ruth Condomine, the ghost.