On stage in autumn

Theater lovers looking for a show can check out area high schools.

Student actors will tackle famous musicals, a satire on murder mysteries, a classic their educators want them to know and a play based on a historical event.

Here is a look at what local high school theater departments plan for this fall.

Center Grove High School

A beloved British nanny is gracing the stage at Center Grove High School.

Students will perform “Mary Poppins” at the school in November.

The show is popular and the rights for theater troops to do the show came out last year, so director Kathleen Kersey decided to produce the show.

“I felt like we should do it. Who knows when it will be back on tour?” she said.

Part of the reason the show was picked is because it is beloved and is kid-friendly, Kersey said.

“I just think it has a great message,” she said. “We need to do kids shows for awhile and do other types of shows.”

The actress playing the title character and possibly the youngsters playing the children will stay true to the script, such as flying across the stage, Kersey said.

Franklin Community High School

Fairy tales get a mash-up at the fall production at Franklin Community High School.

Students will tackle “Into the Woods,” and the key to putting on the production will be character development, director Michael Hummel said.

Part of the reason the show was picked is because every role is integral to the plot line and the show doesn’t have a traditional ensemble, which pushes students to explore their characters, he said.

“There is so much more character development,” Hummel said. “The show is different than what we have done in the past.”

A large part of the rehearsal process will make students think about their character.

Students are asked tons of questions about their characters’ background and motives for actions. Actors are also digging deep into the meaning of the show, addressing questions such as “What are the woods?”

“The students really get to see how their characters evolve,” he said.

Greenwood Christian Academy

Hippies are coming to Greenwood Christian Academy. 

Junior high actors will be performing “Flower Power.” High school students will be handling technical aspects of the show.

The show is centered around a girl in the 1960s who wants to save the environment, director Bill Hardwick said.

“Flower Power” script plays into the musical talents of the junior high students. The script also makes it easier for the younger students to act, since they will be playing extensions of themselves, he said. 

Greenwood Community High School

Students at Greenwood Community High School will be tackling a classic drama for their fall show.

“Our Town” performances will be in November.

When picking shows, director Daniel Borns thinks about what classics every theater student should know, he said.

“Our Town,” by Thornton Wilder, is considered to be one of the Top 10 classic plays, Borns said.

The show deals with real life themes, such as falling in love and dealing with death, something the students and audiences can relate to, he said.

A lighter comedy was done last year and this is the year the students should try to tackle a more dramatic play, he said.

“It gives them a more dramatic experience,” Borns said.

Indian Creek High School

When Indian Creek High School opens its fall show in November, the director wants to get the whole school involved.

Thespians will be performing “The Diary of Anne Frank,” the first weekend of November.

Director Doug McKinley sees the project as more than 20 actors bringing the show to audiences.

He wants math teachers to work with students to figure out how much room each person had in their hide-out. McKinley also sees the theme of the book as an overall lesson against bullying for the entire school.

Some middle school students will be studying the play in English class. McKinley wants his actors to perform scenes for them. 

“I was looking for something that would get the whole school involved,” he said. “We want to make it more than just a theater production.”

So many students auditioned to be involved in the stage show that he made two separate casts of 10 people each to double the amount of students who could participate in the show, McKinley said. 

Roncalli High School

Students at Roncalli High School will be getting a history lesson when they tap dance across the stage in November.

Their production of “42nd Street” in November will utilize the skills of already seasoned tap dancers when the show opens, director Phillip Anderson said.

Part of the reason Anderson chose to produce the show is because several students are talented at tap dancing, which is a large component of the musical.

“The biggest thing is the tap and the dance,” he said.

About a dozen of the 36 students in the cast will have tap dancing as part of their choreography.

The show will also challenge the students and help them improve as performers, he said.

“We like to challenge our kids, we aren’t doing something that is necessarily easy,” he said.

The show is a classic, set in the 1930s and based on show business, which will give the students a bit of a history lesson while researching their roles, Anderson said.

After two months of rehearsals, Anderson wants the audience to notice the professionalism of the students, he said.

“I want them leaving saying, ‘Wow, that was a high school show,’ and not believing it,” he said.

Whiteland Community High School

Audience members who like a good mystery can put their detective skills to work at Whiteland.

Students will be performing “The Butler Did It” the first weekend of October.

The show is a satire, taking all the plot lines from a typical murder mystery and having fun with them, director Raenell Smith said.

Ten actors will tackle the comedy. When Smith was reading plays that the school could possibly produce, she was struck at how much fun the show came across, she said.

Plus, Smith was looking for a comedy that would be fun for the students to be in.

The show has fun characters, such as a nun, and Sherlock Holmes-type characters that help tell the story, she said.

Edinburgh Community High School is unsure of plans to produce a fall play at this time.

If you go

Center Grove High School

“Mary Poppins” 

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21 and 2:30 p.m. Nov. 22

Where: Center Grove High School, 2717 S. Morgantown Road, Greenwood

Price: To be determined.

Franklin Community High School

“Into the Woods”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 5, 6 and 7. Afternoon shows at 2 p.m. on Nov. 7 and 8.

Where: Franklin Community High School, 2600 Cumberland Drive.

Price: $10 for general admission; $8 for students and seniors.

Greenwood Christian Academy

“Flower Power”

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21

Where: Greenwood Christian Academy, 835 W. Worthsville Road, Greenwood.

Price: To be determined.

Greenwood Community High School

“Our Town”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and 14.

Where: Greenwood Community High School, 615 W. Smith Valley Road, Greenwood.

Price: $8 adults; $6 students

Indian Creek High School

“Diary of Anne Frank”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 6 and 7 and 2 p.m. Nov. 7 and 8

Where: Indian Creek High School, 803 Indian Meadows Drive.

Price: $5 in advance, $7 at the door.

Roncalli High School

“42nd Street”

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 12, 13 and 14 and 2 p.m. Nov. 14.

Where: Roncalli High School, 3300 Prague Road, Indianapolis

Price: $7 for adults, $3 for Roncalli students and kids 14 years old and younger.

Whiteland Community High School

“The Butler Did It”

When: 7 p.m. Oct. 2 and 3 and 2:30 p.m. Oct. 4

Where: Whiteland Community High School, 300 Main St.

Price: $5.

Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.