Woodland Hills High School set to perform ‘Mamma Mia!’ | TribLIVE.com
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Woodland Hills High School set to perform ‘Mamma Mia!’

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop

Woodland Hills High School gets down to business with a music boot camp.

“It teaches you about music but also to be ready for anything, because anything can happen on stage,” says senior actress Ava Karas. “Someone might forget a line to a song or a piece of the set might fall or a microphone might not work, but you keep on going. The show must go on.”

That level of confidence when performing is transferred from lessons learned in boot camp to the roles the students play through months of rehearsals for the annual spring musical. It’s definitely paid off for the school’s theater students who have won many Gene Kelly awards for outstanding performances.

They hope with this year’s show “Mamma Mia!,” a musical based on the songs of ABBA, will also be noticed with such accolades. Show times are 8 p.m. April 26-27, May 2-4 and also 1 p.m. April 27 and May 4.

When choosing a show, director Tom Crone is always looking ahead and knows the talent he has returning. They’ve been rehearsing for this show since the end of January, several days a week. There are 50 students in the production, 20 stage crew members and an orchestra of students and adults, which Crone will direct.

The students help raise $30,000 through advertisements for the program and via ticket sales. Crone says the production is self-sufficient, which teaches students about the business side of theater.

Sophomore Desmon Jackson, who plays Eddie, says being involved in theater also creates many friendships and teaches the students about life. Crone says because being involved in the high school musical requires organizational skills and time management. The students also learn to work together for a common goal.

“This show is a fun show, and the kids are having a ball with it,” says Crone, a trombone player, who has been involved in the school’s musical for more than three decades, after a recent rehearsal. “The music is great, and the audience will be familiar with the music.”

“This show will definitely be more familiar to the audience,” says senior Eamonn Blaney, who plays Sam Carmichael. “It’s been great rehearsing for ‘Mamma Mia!’ because all of the students in this show want to be here. They have lots of heart.”

The show requires a lot of stamina because there’s a lot dancing, says Karas, who plays Sophie.

“It’s such an energetic show,” she says. “It definitely keeps you in shape too. I love being part of this show because it’s challenging, and we never want to become complacent because each time there is a brand new audience out there that has never seen us perform this show. Winning Gene Kelly awards is nice, because it is so cool to perform on the Benedum stage. We have some really talented students who work so hard behind the scenes to get to that curtain call.”

At Woodland Hills, it all begins with that music boot camp.

Details: whsd.net

JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .


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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
Woodland Hills High School rehearses for its upcoming musical "Mamma Mia," with shows April 26-27 and May 2-4.
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JoAnne Klimovich Harrop | Tribune-Review
Backstage at Woodland Hills High School where there are memories of past theater performances
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