South Allegheny goes 'Back to the '80s'
South Allegheny High School students are getting unlocked in time with their spring musical, “Back to the '80s.”
The show begins in 2001 with the central character, Corey Palmer Sr., played by high school senior Ryan Bednar, looking back on his teen years in the era of MTV and K-Cars. He sees a past version of himself and his friends. His reflections are set to the music of the era.
“It's very consuming,” Ryan said of the school's efforts to get ready for the show, which runs Thursday through Saturday.
Ryan, who got involved with the musical after being in the stage crew for last year's “Camp Rock,” said he liked the experience so much he came back this spring and talked a couple of buddies from the football team into coming with him.
His recruiting efforts are no doubt appreciated at the school, which had gone six years without staging a musical until last year.
Looking for a follow-up hit, producer Terri Mitchell said the review of '80s hits “is the perfect thing” for a school still building interest in drama.
“The story is built around the songs,” said Mitchell, who is a speech therapist for the district.
Featured songs like “Man in the Mirror,” “Lost in Your Eyes” and “Love Shack” may be pushing the 30-year mark but the cast of characters which includes cool kids, regular kids, nerds and outcasts, has a timeless appeal.
Freshman Ashley Dingledine, who plays the new girl at school Eileen Reagan, said of her character's story, “It's heartbreaking. I get stabbed in the back because I'm the new girl.”
The cliquish girls reject her and she is betrayed by a cute boy in her class. After she hits a low point, others try to help sing her out of funk with “Don't Worry, Be Happy” and “Come On Eileen.”
Senior Tyler Templeton, who plays Eileen's jilter Michael Feldman, said the character is a stretch for him.
“It's the complete opposite of me,” said Tyler. “I'm not popular or mean.”
Still, Tyler said he's getting into the role, especially the singing parts. “I love the music. I've been listening to '80s music since we started this.” Tyler, who plays guitar and is in two bands that do punk and metal music, said he is trying to talk his extracurricular bandmates into covering “Footloose” somewhere down the road.
Sophomore Carley Nicomatti, who plays a popular girl named Tiffany Houston and is the young Corey's love interest, said the play has given her insight into times gone by.
“They talk differently than we do,” she said, comparing characters to her classmates. “They say ‘radical' and nobody says that now.”
Even if some of the slang sounds funny, Carley said emotional appeal of the songs rings true. “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” is fun, she said.
Other fun aspects of the show include nerdy references to “Star Wars,” “The Karate Kid” and other touchstones of that era. Celebrity watchers will appreciate the famous name amalgamates used for all the main characters.
Junior Jenni Urban, who'll be showing off some of her best dance steps while playing the best friend character Alf Bueller, said portraying a male character isn't that tough, “Once I get into costume.”
“That's what musicals are about,” she said. “Being a whole different person.”
Eric Slagle is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1966, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Last of the downtown mansions’ demolished in McKeesport
- UPMC McKeesport president reiterates hospital will remain open
- White Oak council puts restrictions on solicitors, second-hand shops
- Pleasant Hills council passes chicken ordinance
- McKeesport man whose dog bit officer waives charges to court
- Lincoln to amend seismic testing ordinance
- Oily sheen on Monongahela River remains under investigation
- 3 Councils of Governments release plan for land bank deal
- While waiting for land bank, Clairton moves forward on property remediation
- McKeesport, neighboring school districts to receive more overall funding from state
- McKeesport church plants Peace Pole in hopes to counteract violence