PITTSBURG — So good, it had to be done twice.
The Pittsburg High School Theater Department will perform “Band Geeks” one more time 7 p.m Tuesday at the high school auditorium. A $5 donation is suggested.
Tuesday’s performance will be a fundraiser and refresher before roughly 70 PHS theater members travel to Wichita and perform “Band Geeks” in front of 1,600 people at the Kansas Thespians’ state conference on Thursday. “Band Geeks” was one of four performances chosen statewide.
“I think we do musicals very well,” Director Greg Shaw said of why “Band Geeks” was selected.
“I think we built really strong characters, our actors on stage,” he said. “Our tech I think did an outstanding job of the details. Tech is one of those unsung heroes. When it’s great, it goes undetected and everyone goes, ‘Man what a great show.’ And when it goes bad everyone goes, ‘O my gosh, that was awful. Did you see those lights and those sound problems?’”
The performance was chosen after being nominated by a representative from Kansas Thespians, who watched the musical when it was performed in November.
The musical hits on social issues and stereotypes in high school, something to which Shaw said everyone can relate.
Shaw said he found out the first week of December. The students did a dress rehearsal on Saturday and Monday before the Tuesday performance.
The PHS Theater Department will travel Thursday morning to the Hyatt Regency in Wichita for the thespians’ three-day state conference. On Thursday night, PHS will perform in front of 1,600 other Kansas students and theater members.
The cast seemed excited for the chance to perform in Wichita.
“I think we’re ready,” said Derek Brumbaugh, who plays Elliot, the high school band’s captain. “I’m more nervous because we are performing in front of a massive audience (in Wichita). It’s three times larger than the biggest possible crowd at PHS. So the stakes are a lot higher, but I think it will help with adrenaline and make us more pumped up for the show.”
Olivia Joy, who plays Laura, a flute player in the band, also feels the stakes are higher.
“Definitely more nervous because of the size of the crowd,” Joy said. “But I really just want to put on a good show so we can represent our school really well.”
The cast members thought the show was something to which people could relate. They also thought the script was “funny.”
“I think our community really loved this show because it resonated,” Shaw said. “It’s a great deal of fun, the music is wonderful, it’s a funny script … It’s extremely entertaining.”
This is the first time in five years the PHS Theater Department has been selected to perform at the state conference, where they will also take part in acting workshops.
Cast members include Derek Brumbaugh (Elliott), Jack Warring (Jake), Olivia Joy (Laura), Will Jewett (Spitz), Makayla Bockover (Natalia), Jared Wilde (Stewart), Alli Baden (Nicole), Will Schindler (Alvin), Maddie Weidert (Molly), Derrick Sumner (Kyle); Andrew Ortolani (Mr. Hornsby), Cassie Hut-McLarty (Ms. Dixon), Maddy Emerson (Joyce), Coral VanBecelaere (Jamie), Aspen Lloyd (Jordan), Lydia Winters (Jessie), Macy Frasco (Jackson), Maddie Baden (Maggie), Alexis Daniels (Minnie), Taylor Redd (Millie), Hailey Denton (Felicia), Liz Graham (Valerie), Emma Stalnaker (Phyllis), Natalie Harris (Tonya) and Angela Ortega (April)
Production staff are Greg Shaw (director), Susan Laushman (vocal music director), Maggie Stephens and Mollie Stephens (choreographers), Chuck Boyles (technical director), Anita White (program/poster, Jon Commons (lighting design/stage manager), Miranda Madden (sound board operator), Abby Wilson (light board operator), Ethan Jewell, Evie Shawn, Rachel Ruiz, Susan Caffrey, Reagan Wood, Taylor Plain, Autumn Lindsay-Gaikowski, Jadrien Reece and Devin Coulter (construction/deck crew).
Pit band members are Cooper Neil (instrumental music director), Susan Laushman (voice music director/piano, Reyna Valenzuela (piccolo), Kristen Geiger, Amanda Hoffman and Alexandrine Perkins (flute), Izzy Lunday (clarinet), Ryan Amick (reeds), Kayte Keller (bari sax), Sebastian Johns and Alex Madl (trumpet), Christian Adams and Hannah Oertle (trombone), Cameron Lee (tuba), Zach Uttley (electric bass) and Ethan Ortiz (drums).
— Michael Stavola is a staff writer at The Morning Sun. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @MichaelStavola1.