WHS Drama Club set to stage ‘The Curious Savage’

WHS Drama Club set to stage ‘The Curious Savage’

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A year ago at this time, members of the Wooster High School Drama Club were kicking off their Sunday shoes with their production of “Footloose.” Twelve months and three productions later, they are ready to open the curtain on their final ‘Welcome Back to the P.A.C.’ show, “The Curious Savage.”

A kickoff to the Wooster City School’s “Fine Arts Festival Week,” the show will be performed in the Performing Arts Center at Wooster High School on March 25 and 26 at 7:30 p.m. and March 27 at 2 p.m.

It has been a year filled with the highs and lows of producing live theater, but one students are most appreciative of having.

“We have had some pretty amazing shows in the past year and that we were able to put on four shows in one year is a pretty impressive feat for any group, let alone a high school drama club,” said senior Sydney Ebin. “I am really proud of all our members, on stage and off.”

“It has been a whirlwind, but an enjoyable one,” said English teacher and club adviser Brett Hiner.

“I think what I am most proud of is that our team came out of the COVID cloud with a real plan, the important part of which was getting our members back on stage and showcasing the talent of our students,” Hiner added. “Over the course of our four shows, over 150 different students joined us onstage and off. That is about as fulfilling as it can get.”

Without focusing on the year that was, for the past two months the group has been hard at work preparing “The Curious Savage.”

The play tells the story of an elderly widow named Ethyl Savage, played by senior Persis Yoder, whose husband, upon his death, has left her $10 million. She intends to give the entire fortune away to people who wish to pursue their “foolish dreams,” and establish a memorial fund in her husband’s honor. The problem? Her three stepchildren — played by seniors Hayden Michel, Jhon Fajardo and Lydia Otto — strongly object.

To prevent her from doing away with their family’s wealth and ruining their legacy, they have her committed to a sanatorium called The Cloisters. It is among the gentle residents there that she finds her true family.

The show’s intimacy is what originally appealed to Hiner.

“The students actually picked this one, and I love that they brought me a character-driven, intimate show with one of the sweetest messages ever penned for the stage,” he said. “With a cast of just 11, we have really been given the chance and time to analyze and interpret character. The arc that these characters travel over the course of the show are meaningful ones, and the students have embraced that task the last two months.”

It is a show many in the group hope you will not miss.

“I hope audiences will come for the message of the show – “There are hundreds of ways of saying ‘I love you,’ you just have to listen for it” — and stay for the sweet and humorous characters,” said Yoder. “The show has many lighthearted and funny scenes and also serious moments. It’s a bit of an emotional roller-coaster that might make you think about people a little differently, and I hope audiences will come for that experience.”

An added challenge for the production team has also been planning a trip to New York City to attend the Broadway Student Summit, a workshop put on by Broadway trained talent for students interested in theater. The challenge? The trip is the weekend before opening night.

“We have had to bump everything up a week or two, rehearsal-wise, but it is not every day one gets the privilege of working with Broadway actors; in this case the cast of ‘The Music Man’,” said Kristi Hiner, the show’s assistant director. “Acting, dance and audition workshop sessions are designed to help high school students grow in their theatrical journeys. And seeing “The Music Man” on Broadway is part of the experience. There will be Hugh (Jackman” and Sutton (Foster” sightings. I don’t doubt students will be inspired and immediately apply that inspiration.”

Rounding out the cast of “The Curious Savage” are seniors Jacob Frederick, Rachel Grayshock, Zach Keating and Bethany Workman. They are joined by junior Ethan Keating and sophomore Daisy Carmon. Senior Lexxe Parsons, sophomore Emily Hammond and junior Caleb Singer-Holden serve as the show’s understudies, and junior Hannah LoGiudice is the show’s Stage Manager.

Tickets are $10 for adults, and $8 for senior citizens and students. They may be purchased at the door or online by visiting www.ticketpeak.co/whsdrama.

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