WAXAHACHIE — Set to take the stage, and orchestra pit, are the Waxahachie High School theater department and band that have collaborated their talents once again for an annual spring musical. This year’s production, "Curtains," will take place Thursday, Jan. 26 through Sunday, Jan. 29 at the WHS Fine Arts Center.
Longtime WHS theatre and musical director, Andy Reynolds, shared that this is the first time the department has ever performed "Curtains."
“Based on the original book and concept by Peter Stone, the musical is a send-up of backstage murder mystery plots, set in 1959 Boston, Massachusetts and follows the fallout when the supremely untalented star of Robbin Hood of the Old West is murdered during her opening night curtain call," Reynolds explained. "It is up to Lt. Frank Cioffi, a police detective who moonlights as a musical theater fan, to save the show, solve the case, and maybe even find love before the show reopens — without getting killed himself."
Auditions for the musical took place during the fall semester and work began for the musical theater class once the cast was called. Since reconvening from Christmas break, the students have rehearsed and prepared for the production every day during class and after school.
“The musical is really funny, but my favorite part by far is the dancing. There are several big dance numbers in the show. Every year the musical is different,” Reynolds said. “We always have incredible talent graduate, but we always have those students waiting in the wings who are ready to step up and take the stage. I think the community is really going to enjoy seeing new faces.”
Portraying the role of Aaron Fox is senior Corey Woodhouse, who is heading to West Texas A&M in the fall to play baseball.
“This is my first big role. It’s been somewhat difficult learning all of the lines, but it’s well worth it. I love to sing, and I have two big songs in the play, so it’s been a ton of fun,” Woodhouse said. “It’s going to be really sad on Sunday for our last performance, but I haven’t been trying to focus on that.”
A classmate of Woodhouse, Miller Mottla, will portray the role of Bobby Pepper. Mottla was recently accepted to the Los Angeles College of Music where he will study music production and engineering.
“The best part about this play is the experiences I’ve had with all of the people that are cast in it. It’s really proved that with hard work anything is possible,” Mottla said.
Reynolds noted that the band is "ridiculously good" and is a staple for each musical.
“We have the best band in the state in my humble opinion and to have the cream of the crop playing in our orchestra just gives the musical an overall feeling of professionalism. Our orchestra has been nominated for best student orchestra for the past five years,” Reynolds stated.
The award-winning band and musical theater department have also submitted the musical as a Dallas Summer Musical Awards entry.
“I love everything about Waxahachie, and I especially love how the people of this community support the fine arts in our district. It means so much to our students to see people come out and enjoy their work,” Reynolds said. “To have all their hard work validated by the wonderful and gracious citizens of Waxahachie means the absolute world to them and me. The fact the WISD administration values the importance of all the fine arts in our schools is what really sets us apart from other districts in Texas.”
Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 26, Friday, Jan. 27 and Sat., Jan. 28, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29. Tickets are $10 general admission, $7 for students and senior citizens, and free for any WISD staff with an I.D. on Sunday. The ticket booth will open one hour before each show time.
Kelsey Poynor, @KPoynor_WDL