by Enrique Viveros
From July 23rd to July 25th and July 30th to August 1st Pensacola State College’s S.H.O.W., Summer High School Onstage Workshop, performed a musical production for the Pensacola community.
This year’s musical was based on the novel by Mary Rodgers and Disney films, Freaky Friday. Director Dr. Rodney Whatley was inspired to do this production by Chelsea Reynolds, a previous actress who participated in S.H.O.W. “She directed the Alabama premiere of the show a couple of years ago; I fell in love with it, I like to do new shows that have never been done in Pensacola, so it all came together, a perfect storm of Disney art,” said Whatley.
The Summer High School Onstage Workshop started around 1991 with the production of Grease.
“Our team wants to show high school students how theatre is done at the next level, and if they’d like to come and work with us, the invitation is wide open, so treat it like a door and walk on through!” said Whatley. “There is a perception by many that a job in the arts is an impossibility, but our philosophy in all subjects at PSC since my first day here is, if you have a dream, we can help you get there.”
This is the first year back since the pandemic, and one of the biggest hurdles within this production is the COVID-19 virus. “Even with restrictions being eased, it’s going to be a big challenge to get people in seats to give these students the audience they deserve after working so hard on a great script with great music.
During the performance, eleven musicians from the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra help accompany the actors as the backing instrumentals to the musical’s songs as the live orchestra.
Over forty students were cast in this musical and represented twelve high schools/PSC ranging from West Florida High to Milton High.
In this musical, Ellie, played by Aletheia Christian student Isabella Pinzone, is an average high schooler who doesn’t always see eye-to-eye with her mother Katherine, played by Pace High student Anna Catherine Morgan.
Today is very special because tonight is the rehearsal dinner for Katherine and Mike’s wedding, and reporters from a famous magazine are coming to do a cover story on Katherine’s DIY wedding.
Among the planning and preparation, Ellie asks Katherine if she could partake in the annual scavenger hunt. The rejection made Ellie think of how hard her life is as a high schooler. Katherine added to this by stating her struggles; then, they switched bodies by the magic of an hourglass passed down by Ellie’s dad. Now Ellie and Katherine have to track down another hourglass to switch back while dealing with each other’s daily lives.
Whatley said this musical, “Will literally make you hum with joy, think deep thoughts, and cry a little. It touches on dealing with grief and healing from loss, the value of family, and the power of love.”
“There is a perception by many that a job in the arts is an impossibility, but our philosophy in all subjects at PSC since my first day here is, if you have a dream, we can help you get there, ” said Whatley.