Theater-goers looking for anything from a classic musical to a Shakespearean comedy will find it in Johnson County this spring.
Hundreds of local students will take the stage in the coming weeks for their high school’s spring shows.
Some are doing large, full-scale musicals that invoke famous fairy tale stories or are tackling a true tale of a life of crime.
Other schools are putting on smaller plays after staging their musicals in the fall. One play at a local high school is student directed.
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Here is a peek at what local high schools are doing in their theater department this spring.
Center Grove High School
Two students will direct an Agatha Christie murder mystery for Center Grove’s spring play.
Seniors Taylor Ward and Adrianna Goss are directing “Mouse Trap,” by Christie.
The murder mystery play will be at 7:30 p.m. April 7 and 8 and 2:30 p.m. April 9 at the school, 2717 S. Morgantown Road, Greenwood.
The show’s small cast of eight students was ideal for student directors to work on together and students had seem other productions of the play and enjoyed it, said Kathleen Kersey, producer of the play.
“We thought it would be a good one for them to direct,” she said.
The plot takes twists and turns and is a “whodunit” play that will keep audiences mesmerized, Kersey said.
The first time she saw the play, she saw audience members betting nickels and dimes, trying to figure out who the murderer is, she said.
“People were having fun, trying to figure out who did it,” she said.
Greenwood Community High School
Multiple fairy tales are covered at Greenwood Community High School’s spring musical.
Students will take on Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s “Into the Woods,” at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the school, 615 W. Smith Valley Road, Greenwood.
The musical is a mash up of multiple fairy tales with portions of stories about princesses, Rapunzel and Cinderella told. Jack from “Jack and the Beanstalk” makes and appearance, as does Little Red Riding Hood and her wolf.
Sondheim’s music can be tricky to pull off, but the show was picked because the students have the talent, director Daniel Borns said.
“The students that we have in the program and where we are at in this point seemed like a good fit for them,” he said.
Borns wants to make sure that his students are challenged so they grow, he said.
Actors are working with extra instructors to make sure they get the music down, he said.
The show deals with mature themes, with some character’s endings being different than the fuzzy fairy tales the students may have grown up with, he said.
Greenwood Christian Academy
Characters on stage at Greenwood Christian Academy will be doing a little match making.
“Hello Dolly,” will be April 28 through 30 at the school, 835 W. Worthsville Road.
The plot focuses around a matchmaker in the 1890s.
Picking the play meant Bill Hardwick, director, had to do some matchmaking of his own to make it work, he said.
The music and characters of the play fit perfectly with the talent he had, he said.
“You try and look at the talent and cast you have and pick something they can pull off,” he said.
Most of the show is student-guided and Hardwick will take student considerations into account with every aspect of the production, he said.
Indian Creek High School
A beloved fairy tale will be at Indian Creek High School this weekend.
“Cinderella,” will be Friday and Saturday at the school, 803 Indian Creek Meadows Drive, Trafalgar.
The show is a family-friendly classic that the community can enjoy, director Doug McKinley said.
The plot of a young woman who escapes her stepmother with a fairy Godmother and goes on to marry the prince has lots of musical numbers where multiple students could get involved, said McKinley.
“We try our hardest to pick family-oriented musicals that our community will appreciate. It is a great musical that we can get a number of students involved,” he said.
Students will also grow in their skills with a ballroom dancing scene and multiple chorus numbers, he said.
“I am always in hopes that your students not only get a great musical experience but they will learn to work together as a family,” McKinley said.
Roncalli High School
Roncalli High School students will be tackling classic Shakespeare at their show.
Thespians will perform “Much Ado About Nothing,” at 7 p.m. March 16 and 17 and 2 p.m. March 18, at the school, 3300 Prague Road, Indianapolis.
The show was picked because the school did Shakespeare a few years ago and kids enjoyed it, director Kim Buckley said.
And the show has 27 parts, which enables her to cast lots of students and allows them to have the experience of being in a show, she said.
“Our primary goal is to pick a show that has lots of parts for kids,” she said.
Doing Shakespeare means the students have to familiarize themselves with the iambic pentameter and old English he wrote in, she said.
Students were given two scripts, one traditional and one that broke down what was being said in contemporary language.
That has allowed the students to understand what is going on and to build their characters that way, she said.
And they are seeing that the themes Shakespeare wrote about hundreds of years ago still are applicable to their lives, Buckley said.
“These are things that we still deal with every day,” she said. “The costumes are different and the language is different, we are still talking about teens falling in love and teens fighting with their parents.”
Whiteland Community High School
He pulled off con jobs worth millions, all as a young adult.
And in May, Whiteland Community High School will help tell the story of how Frank Abagnale pulled off his heists, learned from his mistakes and became a productive member of society.
“Catch Me if You Can,” will be at 7 p.m. May 12 and 13 and 2:30 p.m. May 14.
The plot revolves around Abagnale’s life of crime, director Raenell Smith said.
The musical has a great score, and students also will learn strong lessons, she said.
Abagnale was caught and spent time in jail for his crime sprees. After his sentence, he opened his own security business and would teach the FBI how criminals think.
The lesson that young people make mistakes and can bounce back from mistakes will resonate with students and audiences, she said.
“From it too, we learn that even poor choices can be corrected,” she said.
Note: Franklin Community High School’s spring show has already happened. Students in Edinburgh are not doing a spring show.