The Mahomet-Seymour Junior High Drama Department will present its first student-led musical production, Bye Bye Birdie Friday and Saturday at 6:30 p.m.
The department began preparing for the production last year when Sponsors Miranda Crawford and Beth Hensley decided to help students develop the skills needed to put a play together.
“The students have really taken the lead on most of this,” Crawford said. “They have been the ones in charge of what the costumes and set are going to look like, what the stage crew would be responsible for; all those things.”
Crawford and Hensley worked with students last spring and throughout the summer to research costumes, order and collect all the parts needed. The 15-student production team, which includes everything from promotions, lighting, sound, art, stage managers, make-up and directors began working with their cast in December after auditions.
Crawford said the Bye Bye Birdie musical allowed for them to give a role to nearly every student who wanted to participate.
Leah Nykaza and Kyle Widener bring the characters Albert and Rosie to life, while Ryan Bushell, Miranda Morrissette and Wyatt Taber round out the main cast.
“We were really lucky because we had a lot of natural talent in there this year,” Crawford said. “We didn’t have to work with them that much because they just knew what to do and they did it.”
With a cast that includes sixth, seventh and eighth-grade students, including eighth-grade students, such as Bushell, who have never performed before, Crawford said that she’s seen a change in the actors’ demeanor since they began preparation for the play.
“In the beginning, they want to be inconspicuous, say their lines and get off the stage real fast,” she said. “We kind of force them into getting out of their comfort zone. It really gives them that self-esteem and carries over to other areas of their life. Just with the sixth graders I have in class, who are also in drama, I’ve seen this amazing return on that confidence they have.”
Tickets for Bye Bye Birdie can be purchased at the door. Tickets cost $8 for adults and $6 for students and seniors.