Hazelton students are ready to start performing Xanadu this Friday.

Students bring Broadway to Hazelton

Hazelton Secondary students start performing pop-rock musical comedy Xanadu JR Friday.

Young and old are invited to crimp their hair, flip up their collars and rock some legwarmers in celebration of Hazelton Secondary students’ performance of the pop-rock musical comedy Xanadu JR., beginning Friday.

A student version of the award-winning Broadway musical is set in 1980, done in the style of a classic Greek tragedy and follows a Greek muse named Kira who chooses to help and guide a struggling artist.  The musical comedy features an original hit score by pop-rock legends Jeff Lynne, Electric Light Orchestra and John Farrar,  including songs like Magic, All Over The World, Suddenly, I’m Alive, Evil Woman, Have You Never Been Mellow and Xanadu.

The students from Hazelton Secondary are working together to tell this vibrant musical story about overcoming obstacles in order to pursue one’s artistic passion.  We think you’ll agree that their communication, collaboration and creativity is a quantifying-life lesson,” says Freddie Gershon, CEO of New York-based Music Theatre International.

The show runs May 8, 9, 12, 13 at 7 p.m. at Hazelton Secondary School.  Tickets are $10 and may be purchased from cast and crew, at Hazelton Secondary front office, Mercedes Beans and Model Teas, and Bulkley Valley Credit Union, or at the door.

A hilarious musical adventure about following your dreams in the face of obstacles, the Greek muse, Kira, played by Grade 10 student Hailey Spooner, descends from the heavens of Mt. Olympus to Venice Beach, California in 1980. Kira is on a quest to inspire a struggling artist, Sonny, played by Grade 11 student Max Beertema, to achieve the greatest artistic creation of all time… the first ROLLER DISCO! (Remember, it’s 1980). But when Kira falls into forbidden love with the mortal Sonny, her jealous sisters played by Grade 10 student Marissa Denny and Grade 11 student Nevada Pakka, take advantage of the situation, and chaos abounds.

Xanadu JR. features a charmingly witty book by Douglas Carter Beane and great pop music and lyrics by Jeff Lynne and John Farrar. The student version of the show is based on the Tony nominated Broadway musical, which was based on the 1980 Universal Pictures film with a screenplay by Richard Danus and Marc Rubel, which in turn, was inspired by the 1947 film “Down to Earth.”

The cast, crew, and director are encouraging the community to purchase tickets in advance. It helps the cast perform better, knowing that there will be a crowd. It is nice to know in advance that people are excited to come and see the show and support the student’s efforts. They are hoping to have at least one show sold out before May 8. There will be a raffle every night for a beautiful silver amhalait pendant carved by Gitxsan master carver Philip Janze for those who purchase tickets at least one day in advance. Pictures of the pendant are on the group’s Xanadu Facebook event page, or the director’s personal Facebook page. For those who aren’t able to make the commitment to purchase tickets ahead of time, there will be tickets at the door as long as the show hasn’t been sold out. Check Facebook and the sign outside the school for updates.

The cast comprises of 15 students from Grades 8 to 12 who have been working hard for the last few months to present a fun night of entertainment. Most were not regular singers when they started, but now sing with confidence and character. The songs are fun, familiar, and even moving. Learning the songs had its challenges as some of the ranges and styles are quite wide. The choreography has been rigorous and energetic, much of it being taught by the cast themselves. Performers are from many of the local communities including Gitanmaax, Kispiox, South Hazelton, Kitwanga Backroad, New Hazelton, and Two Mile. Most of their parents were teenagers at Hazelton Secondary in the 1980s so the cast has had fun amusing themselves with the fashion and phrases that were popular at that time. Supporting the chorus are eight members of Hazelton’s community choir who will be much like a traditional Greek chorus: always on stage, singing and moving in unison.

The hard working and creative crew include over 10 students from all over the area too. They have created a pretty spectacular stage, including building a floor to accommodate the roller skating. A few staff from Hazelton Secondary have loaned their creatively skilled hands to help make sure costumes, props, and set pieces look great. Even former Hazelton Drama students have come back to help put this performance together.

Hazelton Secondary Student Leadership crew will be helping to promote the show and inspire school spirit by hosting a trivia contest the week of opening night. They will also be holding an 80s dress up day on the Wednesday where students can have fun dressing as their parents did in high school, and an Ancient Greek Mythology dress up day on Friday. Free tickets will be awarded to the best costumes, and winners of the trivia contests with a total of 40 free tickets going out to students that week.

The cast, crew, and director would like to give special thanks to Grace Janze, Jill McKnight, Rose Loewen, Scott Swift, John & Helen Heit, Alain Paquette, Philip Janze, Hazelton’s Community Choir, Orlando Wiebe, Sight & Sound, Nancy Stone Archer & REM Lee Theatre, Billy Starr, April & Dale Sebastian, Beth Larsen, Skyla Lattie, John Wookey, Bill Hunt, Lorraine Hnidan, Lucas Hnidan, Telus, Sight & Sound, Mercedes Beans & Model Teas, Bulkley Valley Credit Union, and the office staff of Hazelton Secondary School. There are many more who have helped put this production together so far, and there will surely be many more before opening night.

Submitted by Hazelton Secondary School

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