Saint Aggie's '84

The history of a new musical as it comes to be…

Adventures in North Carolina

Last week I ventured to the state of North Carolina to witness the opening of the premiere of the two-act version of SAINT AGGIE’S ’84 at the Weaver Academy in Greensboro. I flew in on Tuesday night (it was supposed to be Tuesday afternoon – thanks United Airlines) caught the dress rehearsal and watched the first two performances, which continue on through this weekend.

It was my first time to this part of the USA and I have to say I will definitely be back…if they’ll have me. The people are really generous and warm (thanks to the booster club I was want for nothing and was taken out for some tasty meals (and picnics) in some fine restaurants (and grassy patches)), not to mention they are passionate and talented in the business of theatre…and the weather doesn’t suck, either. Too bad I didn’t pack appropriately.

Much thanks to Keith Taylor (director) Jason Kraak (musical director) and Lindsey Clinton-Kraak (choreographer), who all did an amazing job in pulling this crazy show together and making it look and sound fantastic.

In the days leading up to the opening I got to hang around the school, meeting with classes, checking out what they were up to and talking about a life in the arts. It was a busy time but I met some exceptional young people and found myself quite inspired by the place. I was interviewed by Mr. Tyler Hardin, a sophomore (I love US school terms) with his own local TV show. I’m guessing this kid will be on CNN in few years!

The show had a distinct visual style, entirely plaid, well represented in the program, setting the play in a conceptual West-Coast-of-Canada-in-the-fall-of-1983 boarding school. I thought it worked really well.

Also of note, the score was not performed by a live band. Instead, music production students at the school created backing tracks from midi files exported from my score writing software, SIBELIUS. Very interesting to hear.

Here are some photos from the show that I stole from the Saint Aggie’s ’84 Facebook page. Thanks to the photographer. I will credit you. I promise.

For the record, here’s an entire cast list. Over 60 in the company. Amazing.

Hattie Navarre: Katie Sessoms
Emily Berowne: Bonnie Flannery
Grace Longaville: Rebecca Evans
Alexis Dumaine: Cara Farlow
Adriana De Armado: Peggy Wasmund
Dull: Zina Card
Costard: Bridget Lavender
Boyet: Taylor Beyrer
Theresa Moth: Annanoa Kaufmann
Jennifer: Laura Peterson
Christine: Jenna Caporossi

James Prince: Isaac Powell
Keith Smithers-Jones: Kyle Kite
Marcus Sellar: Nick Relos
Ross McDonald: DJ Gayles
Holofernes: Caleb Taylor
Juan Gonzales: Isaac Powell

Company Females:
Giselle Abreu
Brittney Bailey
Sara Bedingfield
Joy Ben-Israel
Sarah Bernstein
Sarah Broyhill
Jada Castillo
Sydney Champion
Rachel Cumberland
Stephanie Dawson
Samantha Gates
Katy Fields
Emily Franks-North
Kyla Garland
Aliya Graves
Emma Hamel
Sarah Harrill
Kestyn Harris
Chappell Hartsell
Spencer Hodges
Juli Jackson
Ines Kaushe
Caroline Knisley
Abi Lambert
Tess League
Mariana Lehoucq
*Sarah Catherine Lucus
Emily Madden
Shannon Mann
Ellen Marion
Kerrington Misher
Zoe Murran
Taylor Neese
Kathryn Nieri
*Hannah Marshall
Cameron McClellan
Meagan McFarland
Logan Pace
Autumn Rainey
Tehya Ramey
Zoe Shirk
Suramie Slay
Roxanne Snider
Cecelia Swayne
*Carmel Tajeddini
*Hayley Turner

Company Males:
TJ Bossier
Tyler Hardin
Web Farabow
Grayson Frazier
Smith McLean
Hayden Moses
Phillip Wells
Jaevon Williams

I had a chance to look around the wonderful historic Carolina Theater (sic). Just fascinating.

I also managed to venture down the I-40 to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill to meet the affable Mr. Bland Simpso, one of the creators of the musicals, DIAMOND STUDS and KING MACKEREL AND THE BLUES ARE RUNNING (among others), two shows I’ve happened to work on as an actor. As it turned out Bland was entertaining South African playwright, Althol Fugard (ROAD TO MECCA, MASTER HAROLD AND THE BOYS, MY CHILDREN! MY AFRICA!) who was doing an artist in residence at the university. He was a delight to meet and I even got to sit with him as some playwriting students read his short play, THE COAT. It was quite an incredible experience to say the least.

SAINT AGGIE’S ’84 runs tonight through Saturday so if you happen to be in the western North Carolina you should drop by. There will be a cast recording at some point, which will be made available…and also a good quality video, which is exciting.

Well, I’m home now. Getting back to work on my new Edinburgh Fringe bound musical, MEASURES TO MEASURES, in production right now at LORD BEAVERBROOK SCHOOL in Calgary. But before I get completely submerged back into that, there’s still one more NORTH CAROLINA experience to take in: Ben Folds with the ESO!! Tonight!!

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1 Comment»

  ecap wrote @

Chris
Great work and a lot of positive responce , Looking forward to hearing and seeing what the students produce.
Jimmy in Victoria.


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