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Kick off the holiday season with theater

Young actors perform in productions at Barlow High, Corbett Childrens Theater and Gresham High


Young East Multnomah County actors are bringing to the stage two beloved classics and a modern spin on Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” this month.

Here is a roundup of November theater productions at Barlow High School, Corbett Children’s Theater and Gresham High School.

by: CONTRIBUTED PHOTO: BARLOW HIGH SCHOOL - 'Inspecting Carol,' Barlow High School's November production, combines Dickens classic tale with hilarious holiday comedy.

‘Inspecting Carol

Holiday cheer meets hilarious comedy with Daniel J. Sullivan’s “Inspecting Carol,” on stage at Barlow High School.

“The storyline is so funny, you just get wrapped up in it,” said Madi Stevens, a senior playing Dorothy, a happy-go-lucky British lady.

When a small theater company performs its annual production of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” everything that can possible go wrong does.

On top of that, the financially struggling theater is renewing a grant essential to its existence. Dorothy and her husband Sidney are the only ones unfazed, bubbling with happiness and wit.

“The take-away of the show is that even though you may have trials and it may not seem possible, you can still overcome them and have a successful show,” said Clarke Anderson, a senior playing Phil, “the anger management guy.”

The show also features Larry, who always has new script ideas; Walter, the war veteran who doesn’t know his lines; Luther, the kid who is too big to play Tiny Tim; MJ, the stage manager trying to keep the show on track; Zorah, the flaky director and company owner; and Kevin, who inherited the theater’s floundering financial situation.

Will the spirits of Christmas past, present and future ever be the same after the madcap adventure? Find out this weekend.

The show runs at 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, Nov. 14-17, at Barlow High School, 5105 S.E. 302nd Ave., Gresham, with a Sunday matinee at 3 p.m. Admission is $8 for adults and $6 for students. The box office opens one hour prior to performances.

“Inspecting Carol” features a cast of 12 and crew of four. The play is directed by Ronda McBeth.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: JIM CLARK - The nuns of the abby try to answer the question 'How do you solve a problem like Maria?' in Corbett Children's Theater's production of 'The Sound of Music.' From left, Jordan Ziese as Mother Abbess, Emma Stewart as Sister Berthe, Maddie Carmen as Sister Sophia and Madison Dody as Sister Margaretta.

‘The Sound of Music’

Corbett Children’s Theater is returning to its roots with the first musical it produced 14 years ago.

“I think it’s the music people just love that keeps this play alive,” said Jachob Wolff, a Corbett Charter School sophomore playing German Admiral von Schreiber. “The play is a reminder to take joy in the simplest things.”

In the revered Rodgers and Hammerstein classic set in Austria, a postulant (played by Corbett High senior Jamie Layton) proves too high-spirited for the religious life and is dispatched to serve as governess for the seven children of a widowed naval captain.

Maria captures the heart of the stern captain and his children, prompting Baron von Trapp’s marriage proposal. After the couple’s honeymoon, they discover Austria has been invaded by the Nazis. The family narrowly escapes over the mountains to Switzerland on the eve of World War II.

“I hope audience members take away the message to follow your dreams and stay loyal to your family,” said Jordan Ziese, a Corbett High School freshman playing Mother Abbess.

Actors and directors note that the play has noticeable script differences from the 1965 movie starring Julie Andrews, but said the message from both versions is relevant today.

Students said they appreciated learning more historical context surrounding the Holocaust and how it relates to modern conflicts.

“I hope audiences find a deeper meaning,” Layton said. “I hope they can look at how good people can do bad things they would have never done on their own — and how they could have been pushed in that direction.”

The show runs at 7 p.m. Nov. 15, 21 and 22; 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 16 and 23; and 3 p.m. Nov. 17 at The Chapel, 27132 S.E. Stark St., Troutdale. The Saturday matinees are sing-alongs, with lyrics projected on the walls. Two theater supporters are celebrating their birthdays at the play.

Tickets are $9 for students and seniors and $11 for adults. Matinee prices are $2 less. Online reservations are encouraged. For more information, call 503-939-3447 or visit corbettchildrenstheater.com/1140/sound-of-music/.

“The Sound of Music” features a cast of 47, with eight crew members. The show is directed by Angel Williams, with vocal direction by Kathy Johnson.

by: OUTLOOK PHOTO: LISA K. ANDERSON - Gresham High seniors Arianne Melton and Devin Bailey star in 'Hello, Dolly!'

Hello, Dolly!

Glamorous costumes, dazzling sets and huge dance numbers await audiences at Gresham High School’s production of “Hello, Dolly!”

The iconic American musical centers on Dolly Levi, a big-hearted matchmaker who pairs up New York ladies and gentlemen in the 1890s.

Amid the matchmaking, Dolly sets herself up with Horace Vandergelder, a well-known “half a millionaire.”

“The play is about taking chances and doing something you wouldn’t ordinarily (do), instead of living with the day-to-day monotony of life,” said senior Arianne Melton, who plays Dolly. “It’s about true love.”

Melton is joined by senior Devin Bailey, who plays Horace. Bailey said the musical’s energy and time period is fun and challenging. “Everybody sits, stands, acts and talks differently,” Bailey said.

Angie Hahn, a senior, and Brandon Bailey, a junior, play off each other as Minnie Fay and Barnaby, offering comedic relief.

Director Sara Dempsey said she selected the musical after spending 16 days in New York last summer visiting her son.

“The excitement of going out and doing something different was inspiring,” she said. “We get so caught up in our everyday lives that we don’t take the time to find the joy in our lives. I’m hoping audiences will have a joyful time and maybe even be inspired by Dolly to do something adventurous and fun.”

The play went through several evolutions, beginning as a farce called “A Day Well Spent” in 1835. From a one-act farce, it became a full-length play, “The Matchmaker,” in 1955. And in 1964, Jerry Herman created the hit musical that went on to become a Broadway classic.

Performances run at 7 p.m. Nov. 22-23 and 29-30 and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24 and Dec. 1, in the Gresham High School auditorium, 1200 N. Main Ave., Gresham.

Tickets are $10 for students and seniors and $12 for adults. For more information, visit ghsdrama.yolasite.com or for group sales, call 503-674-5516.

The play features a cast of 50, an orchestra of 20 and 50 additional crew members.



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