March has come in like a lion, roaring with a new season of students’ takes on hit Broadway plays to bloom across Grand Strand schools in the next two months.
One breath won’t be enough to recite all of them, but they start with Socastee High School presenting “Hairspray” this weekend through Sunday, Conway High School going “Into the Woods” next weekend and Carolina Forest High School opening a nearly sold-out run of “Fiddler on the Roof” on March 18, the lone night for which tickets remain.
Other performances consist of “The Enchantment of Beauty and the Beast,” March 19-20 at Andrews High School; “Footloose,” April 15-18 at St. James High School; “Peter Pan” for two weekends starting April 24 at Myrtle Beach High School; and “Seussical the Musical,” April 30-May 3 at North Myrtle Beach High School.
Also, the Stagestruck Players youth troupe will open “Godspell Jr.” on Friday for two weekends through March 15 at the Brunswick Little Theatre in Southport, N.C.
‘Hairspray’ to fill auditorium
At Socastee High, “Hairspray” follows in a line of annual musicals that have grown into a tradition.
Farrah Beaudry, the school’s choral director, shares this play’s directing duties with Matt Hayward, Socastee High’s drama director. She said in her nine years there, she has enjoyed helping coordinate such productions on stage, including “Tarzan” and “Legally Blonde,” then with “Seussical the Musical,” and “Shrek the Musical,” last March, “we really started to make a name for ourselves out there.”
“Hairspray” comes “jam packed with choreography,” Beaudry said, so much that some rehearsals on days off from school have spanned many hours because the cast has “to dance, dance, dance, dance.”
Beaudry talked repeatedly of the teamwork, and family and community support, going into “Hairspray,” continuing the trend for all school plays. More than 100 students and 25 parents have helped mount this play, with help from Brandy Leviner, the choreographer, who also performs in “The Carolina Opry” and “The Good Vibrations Show” at the Calvin Gilmore Theater in Myrtle Beach, and Kevin Jones, the music director and a Broadway veteran whom Beaudry said has a former student among the cast in the recent film release of “Into the Woods.”
Having sponsorships from “so many” local businesses also enhances the foundation of Socastee High’s plays, Beaudry said, counting 13 billboards ads for “Hairspray,” all paid for with funds donated through “community support.”
Asked for her favorite part of this adaptation for “Hairspray,” Beaudry said to look for “an explosive finale, and we’ll leave it at that.”
Having this weekend of shows among various local high schools stepping out on stage this spring, Beaudry said “the arts in Horry County” continue defining how “all of us are advocates of the arts.”
“Somehow or other,” she said, speaking for Socastee High’s crew, “the magic of the theater always happens, and all of this and that come together.”
Beaudry also brought up a record player purchased new online for the set of “Hairspray” and said some students asked, “What is that?”
Although Beaudry called the phonograph “just a prop” for the moment, it helps make the scenery complete, with a bunch of old 1950s and ’60s vinyl records also bought for decorating the stage.
‘Fiddler’ runs in this family
A tradition also will play out at Carolina Forest High School because in this 50-year anniversary of “Fiddler on the Roof,” Noah Pelty will play Tevye, a role that his late grandfather, Lee Pelty, portrayed more than 2,000 times professionally. Noah’s father, Adam Pelty, also has assumed Motel the Tailor’s character 300 times through the years.
Adam Pelty, in his second year as an assistant professor of theater at Coastal Carolina University, said he cherishes the “Fiddler” family heritage as “a gift.”
Watching his son, Noah, a senior, as Tevye take extra special meaning because “I had nothing to do with” casting him for the part.
“He won the role all on his own,” Pelty said, happy to see him in any character for this.
Realizing and understanding a somewhat odd, “freaky” but good feeling, to see the Tevye part graduate to a new generation, Pelty said he sees Noah Pelty as “so much like my father, without me telling him what to do.”
Thinking back to age 4, when he saw his own dad play Tevye for many years in Chicago, Adam Pelty loved that he “grew up watching my father” spend most of his adult life, from age 30 on, in “Fiddler,” the final bow taken five years ago.
Pelty also never can forget one “Fiddler” performance in the Windy City where he and Lee Pelty shared the stage in the early 1990s. During a dance, an impromptu bump arose between, then “when we started laughing hysterically” in a “father-and-son” moment that only they, and not the audience, knew why it was so “very, very, very funny.”
“I told Noah that story the other day,” said Adam Pelty, also an associate choreographer for “Billy Elliot the Musical” in North America who choreographed its run in mid-February by the N.C. Theatre in Raleigh.
Becky Bannon, assistant director for “Fiddler” at Carolina Forest High, said with all the original show dates for March 19-22 selling out, in a first for the school, one more show was tacked on, for March 18. As of Monday, more than half the tickets had moved, the sales making their own bump in filling seats since the announcement Feb. 24 of the extra show.
If you go
‘Into the Woods’
‘Fiddler on the Roof’
‘The Enchantment of Beauty and the Beast’
• 7 p.m. April 24-25 and May 1-2
• 2 p.m. April 25-26 and May 2-3
‘Seussical the Musical’
• “Chief Idol” elimination-style fundraiser modeled after “American Idol,” for new lighting in the school auditorium, each $5 and at 6 p.m.: with round for juniors/seniors on Thursday, freshmen/sophomores on March 13 and finals on March 20
• Spring choral concert, 6 p.m. May 26, free
• Lindsay Link at 399-6171 or email@example.com
Brunswick County Schools
• One-Act Play Festival, 6 p.m. Tuesday at Brunswick Community College’s Odell Williamson Auditorium, off U.S. 17 in Supply, N.C. (910-755-7416; 800-754-1050, ext. 7416; or www.bccowa.com). Donations of nonperishable foods requested.
• All-County Middle and High School Band Concert, 6:30 p.m. March 31 at Odell Williamson Auditorium. Donations of nonperishable foods requested.
• Waccamaw School of Ash in Band and Chorus Spring Concert, 7 p.m. May 5, at school.
• Cedar Grove Middle School of Supply in Chorus Concert, 6:30 p.m. May 14 at Sharon United Methodist Church.
• West Brunswick High School of Shallotte and Cedar Grove Middle School Spring Band Concert, 6:30 p.m. May 19 at Odell Williamson Auditorium. Free.
Other youth performances
Long Bay Symphony Youth Orchestra