The Maricopa High School Theatre Company is on a fantasy bent this year.
[quote_box_right]If You Go
What: “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe”
Who: Maricopa High School Theatre Company
When: Nov. 10-11, 7 p.m., Nov. 12, 2 p.m. & 7 p.m.
Where: MHS Performing Arts Center, 45012 W. Honeycutt Ave.
How much: $5[/quote_box_right]
The fall production is “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” In spring, look for the students’ version of the musical “Beauty and the Beast.”
The journey to Narnia is Nov. 10-12 at 7 p.m., plus a Saturday matinee at 2 p.m. “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is based on the book by C.S. Lewis and is adapted for the stage by Cindi Calhoun, the MHS teacher who heads the theater department.
Calhoun wrote the play over the summer. She said the well-known story should draw families to the Performing Arts Center for a night of entertainment.
She said she kept very close to the book, which is full of good and evil, betrayal, redemption, mythical creatures and assorted talking animals. It follows the adventures of the four Pevensie children in wartime England. Sent out of London during the Blitz, they stay in the country home of a professor.
The youngest child, Lucy, finds an old wardrobe and quickly discovers it is a portal to the mystical land of Narnia, which is completely encased in eternal winter and ruled by the White Witch. Lucy’s older siblings eventually follow her there. They become the center of a power struggle between the White Witch and the lion Aslan, the rightful king, who has reappeared after a long absence.
“This is the first time I’ve had a super-intensive villain role,” said senior Tyler Curtis, who plays the White Witch. Theater-goers may remember her as Madame Thenardier in MHSTC’s spring production of “Les Miserables.”
“She’s evil because she likes it,” Curtis said. “She wants power.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum is senior Sarah Ledbetter, who plays Lucy, an 8 year old. “Apparently I’m great at playing children,” she said. She was Gavroche in “Lez Miz,” but this is her first major role.
“I’m kind of stepping out of my comfort zone,” she said.
Ledbetter said the planning for this production has been very smooth. Part of that is put on the shoulders of the stage manager, sophomore Aidyn Curtis (Tyler’s little sister). She helps with blocking and calling cues. She’s also in charge of attendance at rehearsals.
Aidyn has performed in previous MHS productions, but now has a perspective from the other side of the footlights.
“I did really enjoy the audition and call-back process,” she said.
Scores of students have been cast. It is not uncommon for an actor to take on more than one role, but senior Nikolas Mase has three parts. Mase will give voice to Aslan while also playing the professor and Santa.
The White Witch’s henchmen are wolves, and leading up the pack are senior Carlos O. Venegas and junior Ivie Keene. Both have been very active with the theater program and read together during casting.
“I’ve always wanted to play bad guys,” said Keene, who also loves the fantasy aspect of the story.
Venegas, who, like Tyler Curtis, intends to major in theater, said he loves that the play adaptation is Calhoun’s work.