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‘Crazy For You’ offers a little bit of everything

by WayneTimes.com
February 17, 2024

It is not uncommon for a student to enter Marion Junior-Senior High School in seventh grade, audition for the musical and hold a role for the next six years.

This year’s musical, “Crazy For You,” features a special twist as two of the leads and the stage crew manager will be participating in their seventh productions as Noah Hamill, Jill Edinger and Ethan Welch all played children of Will Rogers in “The Will Rogers Follies” as sixth graders.

“It’s crazy just thinking about it,” says Hamill, who plays Bobby Child in “Crazy For You,” which will be performed at 8 p.m. on March 8 and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. March 9 in the MJSHS Auditorium.

“I know that I am going to sob at the last show,” says Edinger, who plays Polly Baker. “I have always admired the leads through the years and now I am one of the leads. I am just pleased to know that all of my hard work paid off.”

Welch was part of the cast in sixth and seventh grade, but has opted to be a part of the stage crew for the last five productions.

“I like the behind-the-scenes action,” he says. “You are not in the spotlight, but you are still doing your part in putting it all together.”

More than 40 MJSHS students make up the cast of “Crazy For You,” a romantic comedy that features the music of George Gershwin.

“I love the show, but it is a huge show,” says Director Shelly West Thompson. “We are making progress and starting to pick up speed now. The set is huge, the stage is enormous and there is a lot of dancing. It’s a very ambitious project.”

Having several students returning from the cast of 2023’s production of “Anything Goes” was a factor in Thompson’s decision to go with “Crazy For You.”

“I knew that they could do the tap because we did a lot of that last year,” Thompson says. “I also knew that I had students who could cover all of the roles.” 

Senior Maddie Bonafede plays Bobby’s mother, Mrs. Lottie Child, who she describes as “headstrong and powerful.”

“I’d say it’s actually pretty similar to my personality because I like to be in charge, too,” Bonafede says.

Other roles include a “Cowboy Trio” that features sophomores Aidan Rittenhouse, Aaron Meyer and Tobey Roegiers.

“I like the group singing parts, especially the trio that we are in,” says Roegiers, who plays Sam. “We’re all just good friends singing together.”

Meyer, who plays Mingo, says he is enjoying taking on a larger role in his fourth musical.

“I have definitely gained more confidence,” Meyer says. “When I was in seventh and eighth grade I was terrified to sing in front of people and now I find joy in it.”

Junior Bella Keyser, who plays Irene Roth, also has a bigger part this spring.

“I like it because this is my first big role,” Keyser says. “I like the fact that I get to have lines and I have been dedicating a lot of time to memorizing them. I like to sing and I like to perform and I really love musicals.”

So does senior LeeAnne Taylor, who plays Patricia Foder and is in her sixth musical. 

“I get to hang out with my friends in my grade and also friends in younger grades,” Taylor says. “It’s just really fun for everyone to be together.”

Senior Haden Williams worked on lighting as a sophomore but has been part of the cast the last two years.

 “It’s super fun,” says Williams, who plays Bela Zangler. “I really like spending time with fellow students and working hard toward a common goal.” 

Alivia Vandergrift, a senior who plays Perkins, is in her fourth musical and appreciates every moment with the cast.

“Being able to spend time with everyone is great because once I leave school it is going to be work, work, work,” Vandergrift says. “I enjoy it because I know that once graduation comes that we will all be going our separate ways.” 

Before they do, there are more rehearsals and more time to polish the production. 

“The chemistry gets really, really strong throughout each show,” says Rittenhouse, who plays Lank Hawkins. “You grow a lot of respect for each other.” 

For Hamill, who hopes to earn his Master’s and eventually a Doctorate in music education, the show is special.

“It’s sad and I am definitely going to miss it,” Hamill says. “But, I feel that this show is going to be a good one to go out on because everyone is amazing.” 

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