With Fort Hays State University alumni coming into town for Homecoming, Dr. Kimberly Miller, instructor of communication studies, thought it only appropriate to have the fall musical be "Is There Life After High School?"
The opening night of "Is There Life After High School?" is at 8 p.m., Friday, Oct. 5, in Felten-Start Theatre in Malloy Hall on the FHSU campus.
"It's a musical that explores that phenomena that none of us ever really get over that person we were in high school," said Miller, director.
Instead of a script with specific characters, this play, written by Jeffrey Kindley, based on a book by Ralph Keyes, has 30-somethings reminiscing about various people everyone encounters in high school. Sometimes they reenact the events.
"Each moment kind of represents its own memory," said Miller.
Terry Crull, instructor of music and conductor, said it contains "scenes from everybody's high school experience" and "character types we all knew."
"Everybody will say, 'Ah ha, I was that kid, or they'll say, 'I remember that kid,' and they'll put names with it," said Crull.
"It'll be fun to look back at your high school no matter what age you are," said Crull.
"Even though we're different ages, we're from different parts of the country, we get it," Miller said of the cast and crew.
The cast is Amanda Hill, Hays sophomore; Laura Decker, Lindsborg senior; Emily Cline, Lyons senior; Stephanie Stevens, Wichita special student; Micah Dunn, Lakin freshman; Adam McElwain, Dodge City senior; Chris Peavey, Plainville graduate student; Karl Pratt, Hoxie sophomore; and Calder Craig, Russell freshman.
Alyssa Klaus, Hays junior, is helping to choreograph some of the more difficult scenes.
"I had actors who said, 'No one's ever successfully taught me to waltz'," said Miller. "She has."
There are 15 songs, with music and lyrics by Craig Carnelia, representing different aspects of high school life, including "Second Thoughts," "Nothing Really Happened," "Beer," "Diary of a Homecoming Queen," "Prom," "Thousands of Trumpets," "Reunion," "High School All Over Again" and "I'm Glad You Didn't Know Me."
The band is centered on-stage in this particular show and consists of Pam McGowne, Music Department staff accompanist, on piano, Chad Foust, Topeka sophomore, on guitar, Nick Foust, Topeka freshman, on electric bass, Alex Heisler, Hutchinson sophomore, on cello, Jarrett Henson, Ulysses sophomore, on drum set and Jimmy Fickbohm, Barnes freshman, on percussion.
"We're trying to present a different style this year," said Miller. Next year, she said, her and other music and theatre faculty hope to tackle something bigger.
Crull said the cast is strong because it only has nine people, making it a "close-knit company." He said he's looking forward to seeing how a show can be really "tight," because the cast works so well together. He also said he believes people will comment that they've never heard of the show, but afterwards they'll say, "it's delightful."
Miller said she always looks forward to the audience's reaction.
"I'm always curious and afraid and nervous that the audience is going to get the show the way that we expect them to get it," said Miller.
Miller expects a big turn out. With so many people in town for Homecoming, she said, "that'll tie in nicely with what's happening on-campus."
Fall Musical, 8 p.m. Oct. 5, Felten-Start Theatre.
Fall Musical, 8 p.m. Oct. 6, Felten-Start.
Fall Musical, 3 p.m. Oct. 7, Felten-Start.
Fall Musical, 8 p.m. Oct. 12, Felten-Start.
Fall Musical, 8 p.m. Oct. 13, Felten-Start.
Fall Musical, 3 p.m. Oct. 14, Felten-Start.
Admission is $12 for students and $14 for general admission. Season tickets are $15 for students and $25 for general admission.
Hays Symphony Concert, 3 p.m. Sept. 30, Beach/Schmidt Auditorium, Sheridan Hall.
Fall Choral Concert, 3 p.m. Oct. 21, Beach/Schmidt.
Wind Ensemble Concert, 8 p.m. Oct. 25, Beach/Schmidt.
Fort Hays Singers Morning Service, 10 a.m. Oct. 28, Trinity Lutheran, 2730 Fort St., Hays.