Since its opening, the 2003-2004 school year has been busy and eventful for the Herndon Theatre Department. Staging three main stage productions, eight one-act plays, and offering technical support to the school's Cabaret, Fashion Show, and Talent Show has kept the theatre students and their director John Whapham on the tips of their toes.
Herndon High School began their year with bold and entertaining productions of Neil Simon's "Rumors" and "Plaza Suite" cast from the school's most experienced actors, and performed in November, 2003.
"Rumors," the first to open, was received by an extremely appreciative audience that loudly praised its sly humor and physical comedy. The cast included Wayne Jacques, Will Smith, Paris Lofaro, Jackie Gudgel, Adam Spalletta, Tommy Linn, Sarah Azzinaro, and Jen Vogel. Dressed to the nines, they donned their costumes with dignity and professionalism, belied by the inherent absurdity of their characters.
Just 10 days later, Herndon performed an equally entertaining production of "Plaza Suite," Neil Simon's biting satire about marriage and infidelity. Actors Ryan Price, Heather McGlynn, Sarah Kamins, Zain Afzal, Andrea Canterbury, John Daniels, Amy Radebaugh and Rachel Heyd
portrayed their complex roles with precision, skill, and maturity.
Mounting two full productions in November was quite an undertaking for any high school theatre program, but both shows were great successes and won praise and admiration from their audiences.
Following their debuts as comedic actors, the advanced theatre students tried their hands at directing. Eight student-directed one-act plays, including an original play by Herndon senior Ryan Price, were performed on one evening at the first ever Herndon High School One Act Play Festival. Over 70 performers comprised largely of underclassmen, strutted their stuff for faculty judges. Price's "Cure for a Broken World" and "Mother's Day," directed by Amy Radebaugh and Kate Klipfel, received honorable mentions and "Take Five" directed by Will Smith and Mehdi Raoufi was selected to represent HHS at the Concorde District One Act Play Festival.
Herndon hosted both the Concorde District and Northern
Region VHSL one-act play festivals this winter and was very proud of their entry "Take Five" that tied for first place at Districts and went on to compete at Regionals. Herndon had not competed at Regionals since 1999.
After the one-act season, HHS Theatre turned its attention to "Into the Woods," the Tony Award winning musical by Broadway legend Stephen Sondheim. The show is a favorite among musical theatre fans, but features complex music and characters that put it out of reach for some high schools. "Our production is a testament to the excellence of the choral, orchestra, and band programs at Herndon, not just theatre" says Whapham. "Without the development of strong students in each of these disciplines, a show like "Into the Woods" just wouldn't be an option." Herndon Orchestra director Ron Dillard serving as the production's musical director has the best of Herndon's theatre, choral, orchestra and band students under his baton. "It's all about collaboration" said Dillard. Herndon's production of "Into the Woods" will be performed May 7-8, 14-15 in the Herndon High School auditorium. The department looks forward to a successful spring musical, Herndon's own Tony Awards to cap off an innovative season and the Drama Booster's first ever Summer Theatre Program coming in June.