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  • CBMS students Zach Lijewski and Tinna Mavica will star in the school’s adaptation of “Once Upon A High School” from November 10-11.
    CBMS students Zach Lijewski and Tinna Mavica will star in the school’s adaptation of “Once Upon A High School” from November 10-11.

Chesapeake Schools Aim For The Funny Bone With Winter Productions

Zach Sparks
View Bio
November 10, 2017

“Gray skies are gonna clear up, put on a happy face” — so go the lyrics to a song in “Bye Bye Birdie,” but according to theater teachers, those words also serve as a forecast for select nights in November and December when Chesapeake Bay Middle and Chesapeake High perform the following productions, which are designed to induce irrepressible laughter.

“Once Upon A High School”
November 10-11 at 7:00pm
Chesapeake Bay Middle auditorium

You’re likely familiar with Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and Little Red Riding Hood, but not like this. In “Once Upon A High School,” Cinderella’s wicked stepsisters have crossed through a portal, finding themselves in high school halls that serve as the perfect setting for havoc. The Woodsman seeks to facilitate their return, but when he leaves, our beloved fairy tale characters are beleaguered by problems.

“It’s a comedy that crosses between the fairy tale world and reality,” said drama club adviser Jamie Turtzo. “Many of our favorite fairy tale characters are present and get into quite a bit of trouble.”

Helping with the production is Kristen Bishoff, who lauded the cast, which features several actors who performed last year in “Willy Wonka Jr.” Eighth-grader Tinna Mavica (last year’s Charlie Bucket) is now Danica, a hardcore realist running for class president. “It is a far cry from the ever-positive Charlie Bucket,” Bishoff said. “Tinna has to work on being a gloom-and-doom kind of character, which is really different from who Tinna is off the stage.”

Fellow eighth-grader Jordan Moreno (previously Willy Wonka) is Magda, Cinderella's wicked stepsister. “She has to be pure evil,” said Bishoff, “and it is so funny to watch when she has to be mean to someone; she nails it, but then the real Jordan comes out and apologizes for being so mean.”

Zach Lijewski is the Woodsman, an incidental fairytale character who wants to be a hero. Seventh-grader Abbey McCarthy is Sadie, a mean girl in reality world. Mackenzie Ferko is Gable the fairy godmother and headmistress of fairy-tale school. Heather Suesse is Cinderella, who is in love with the prince (played by Aiden Meister). “The two of them have great chemistry,” Bishoff said. “Heather is sassy and jealous of everyone the prince talks to, and Aiden is just so over her and her clinginess. They are a great comedic duo.”

Jonathan Reichert is Bull, a “mean dude in reality.” Newcomers include eighth-grader Taylor Haney as Petra, Magda’s sister, and sixth-grader Jackson Davis as Irving, one of Bull’s cronies.

Bishoff said all cast members have at least one speaking line, which they had to learn quickly with only 30 rehearsals before the show.

“This production is heavy on acting and reacting to what is happening onstage,” Bishoff said. “This sometimes presents a problem because most of the students sometimes watch the show instead of being a part of the show onstage.”

Bishoff also praised the moral of the story. “There are a few lessons the students are learning throughout about standing up for yourself, being an individual [and] how to accept others,” Bishoff said, “but the main lesson is how only you can create and control your own destiny, and our story is not yet written.”

If you go: Tickets are $5 for students and children and $8 for adults. Tickets can be acquired from a student or purchased at the door.

“Bye Bye Birdie”
November 30, December 1 and December 2
7:00pm (Doors open at 6:30pm)
Chesapeake High auditorium

A musical comedy, “Bye Bye Birdie” is about rock star Conrad Birdie, who is drafted into the Army, and songwriter Albert Peterson, who had penned a song for Birdie to record. Albert decides, with much persuasion from longtime girlfriend Rosie, to save his record company by writing a new song for Birdie to perform on TV to the winner of a fan contest.

While most people may not think of “Bye Bye Birdie” as a comedy, Bishoff expects CHS’ adaptation to crack more than a few smiles.

“We are definitely playing up the comedy portion of this show,” she said. “It will bring the audience tons of laughter along with pretty amazing music.”

She also gave kudos to Michael Brisentine, who is serving as both director and musical director. “In addition, the choreography created by Rose Mullikin is brilliant, theatrical and precise,” she added. “You can tell the students are having fun, which means the audience will too.”

Bishoff said CHS is “going all out” with a two-story set for the MacAfee house, and costumes are time appropriate. “They will have costume changes left and right,” she promised. “It will definitely be a colorful show full of energy and pizzazz.”

If you go: Tickets are $8 for students and $12 for adults. Tickets can be acquired from the school in advance or at the door.

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