An award-winning season comes to a close for Oakton High School Performing Arts Department with its production of "My Fair Lady," April 29 — May 1, 2900 Sutton Road, Vienna. "My Fair Lady, based on the play "Pygmalion" written by George Bernard Shaw, is the story of a young woman finding herself through the teachings of an unexpected phonetics teacher. The show describes the diverse class system of post English society," describes Devon Ogden, who will be portraying Ms. Eliza Dolittle. "Eliza was a challenge — not only due to her distinct accents, but also her character changes as the show progresses." Featuring a cast and crew of more than 100 members as well as a 60-piece orchestra, the Lerner and Lowe classic will be directed by theatre teacher Robert Bromley. Dr. Cheryl Newton serves as orchestra director and the designer of the show's costumes is Linda Baker.
AMONG THE CAST will be Devon Ogden and Katie Molinaro who will both play Eliza, Daniel Stine as Henry Higgins, Daniel Johnson as Colonel Pickering, Susan Thoren as Mrs. Pierce, Julie Kun as Mrs. Higgins, as well as a grand upper class chorus and a fun-filled cockney chorus. Members of the cast recently gave audiences a sneak preview of some of the musical numbers at Oakton's Annual Night on the Oaktown. Choreographers are Lauren Coghlan, Carol Thompson, Katie Fry, and Danielle Rowan.
The technical crew has been busy working on the set.
Josh Bowman, a member of the technical crew, said, "The construction for this spring musical is the most challenging and entertaining work I've ever done."
In January Oakton performed the play, "The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek," in the Concorde District One Act Play Competition at Herndon High School. Outstanding Actor Awards were given to Julie Kun as Paige and Daniel Johnson as Dalton. Oakton also received best technical crew award.
THIS PAST FALL Oakton produced three plays: "Black Comedy," "The Shadow Box," and "The Dinner Party." "Black Comedy," written by Peter Shaffer, was directed by Elana Boulos and Laura Mudge. Boulos describes it "as a humorous play about a man attempting a handful of tasks when the power goes out. The audience ends up seeing the opposite of what the actors see. While the play lights are off, the audience can see everything because the real stage lights are on. This is a concept about actors not being able to see even though the audience can see them." Members of the cast included CJ Addams, Nichole Bottini, Samantha Dimattina, Rachel Doyle, Alida Frey, Aidan Henn, William Inman, Natalie Kakovitch, Mathew Leahy, Tom Shahryary, Joanna Shubert, Allison Sovey, and Ben Zisk.
"I learned a lot during the preparation for our play including how to do a German accent," said Mathew Leahy. "It was a great experience. I got the chance to portray a character who is completely different than what I am used to."
Tom Shahryary added, "I loved it!"
Written by Michael Cristofer, the Pulitzer Prize winning play "The Shadow Box," was directed by Sara Stevens. "This play is about three people; with all very different lives all facing the same thing — death," said Sara Stevens. "It is the journey of learning to let go and finding yourself along the way. This play was not easy, and it consumed a great deal of our lives for the first part of the year. But what I am most proud of is, we took a risk and that is something I know will stay with me for the rest of my life," added the graduating senior. The play featured an ensemble cast with performances by Peyton Craighill., Bobby Dunne, Ian Epstein, Katie Fry, Bita Ghavami, Julie Kun, Tanya Natkin, Scott Norris, Devon Ogden, Winston Orzechowski, Christy Vollbrecht, and Alex Wolff.
Julie Kun agreed with the rest of her cast. "It was amazing to be given the chance to act in "The Shadow Box" because it is a challenging piece and is rarely done in high school. More schools should be given the chance," she said.
"The Dinner Party" by Neil Simon is a comedy about love, marriage and coping with divorce. Members of the cast included Ben Caro, Lauren Coghlan, Rob Decarlo, Eric Hanson, Alison Haracznak, Daniel Johnson, Dale Kim, Stephanie Lindahl, Katie Molinaro, Katie Parker, Daniel Stine, and Carol Thompson. Student directors were Daniel Stein and Lauren DeButts.
Stein said, "Directing and acting in the fall show, 'The Dinner Party,' was probably the most fun I've ever had working on a show. It was also the best cast I have ever worked with." Fellow cast mate Alison Haracznak added, "I have never had more fun or been more proud of a show than I was of 'The Dinner Party.' Our cast had an amazing time working on the show."
AMONG OTHER activities this season the theatre department participated in the annual Vienna Halloween Parade.
In December, drama went on a 24-hour trip to New York City to see the Radio City Rockettes, "42nd Street," and "Gypsy" on Broadway. "It was such a blast to see three shows in less than 24 hours. A theatre fan's dream," Julie Kun
In May, during Memorial Day weekend drama will be visiting Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
While each season brings it own memories the Oakton Drama Department had an exceptional school year. In addition to learning about technical and theatrical elements of producing shows, the students learned from each other the importance of working together. Bromley added that "This has been a golden year. You couldn't ask for more talented, dedicated and hard working students who produce such award winning productions while they are learning and having fun at the same time."