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HHS spring musical is this weekend

Angie Thomas plays the lead role of Eva Peron in the upcoming Hastings High School production of Evita.

In another true testament to the strength and maturity of the vocal program at Hastings High School, this year’s spring musical is sung from beginning to end.

The dialogue in the production of Evita, which runs this weekend, is all sung.

Taking on the project is something that directors Erik Pearson, Sarah Lockwood and Robin Starch had considered for a few years. This year, they figured the time was right.

“We knew it was difficult music, but we knew we had the voices,” Starch said.

Dancing is a constant theme throughout the show, too.

“We knew we would have the dancers to cast it, and the voices to cast it,” Starch said. “We’re very fortunate that we have very well trained singers and dancers to have this pool of students to choose from.”

The play is focused on the life of Eva Peron, the wife of Argentine president June Peron. She was a champion for labor rights until her death in 1952 at the age of 33 from cancer. The lead is played by Angie Thomas.

“In her audition, she just nailed it,” Starch said. “She’s been heavily involved in the choir and the show choir program. Lucky for us, she auditioned.”

Thomas was one of several people who auditioned for the part.

“We had a lot of young women who could play the part,” Starch said. “There were at least six girls who were called back for the part — they all could easily sing it.”

Performances are planned for 7 p.m. on Friday, May 2, and 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 3. There is also a 2 p.m. show on Sunday, May 4. All performance are at the high school auditorium. Tickets are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. They are available at the door.

There are also significant roles played by young men from the high school. Two of them, Johnathan Moes and Matthew Frazier, play narrators (a role they share with Marissa Kolmer).

“It was kind of funny,” Starch said. “We needed to make sure we had enough guys. We got enough to audition, so it was wonderful.”

Cast members are Sabrina Astar, Lindsey Becker, Tanner Behny, Debbie Blissenbach, Tristen Carlson, Luisa Dillges, Courtney Fasbender, Thomas Frias, Matthew Frazier, Anton Fuchs, Lydia Greene, Kalyne Henrichsen, Jason Iverson, Claire Kilfoyl, Marissa Kolmer, Sean McAlpin, James McCord, Katherine McCord, Krissy Mehner, Johnathan Moes, Mary Parizek, Travis Partington, Ronnie Peterson, Miranda Poncelet, Andrew Rachuy, Mackenzie Ritchie, Cece Roche, T.J. Strandberg, Angela Thomas, Josh Tank, Megan Vortherms, Ben Ventry and Katrina Walt.

Behind the scenes

The play isn’t only demanding on the big cast of students. It’s also challenging for the stage managers and tech crew.

“We have really awesome stage managers that help keep us organized,” Starch said. “They’ve been at every single rehearsal. We picked this piece because we knew our singers and dancers could handle it. It’s the same thing with our stage managers.

“This is a tough piece to do. When everything is sung and there’s no dialogue, the set changes happen quickly.”

Stage managers are Maha Siddiqui and Jacob Nowlan.

The tech crew includes director Anne Blessing and students Grace Bauer, Katie Kolodziej, Emily Raway, Rachel Bruch-Andersen, Dharma Lemoine, Maddy Marcott, Brady Burkhart, Hannah Westre and Jake Kelly.

The set designer is Stephen Michael.