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Massena spring musical takes audience back to the 80’s

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MASSENA - Are you ready to go back to the 80’s?

That’s where Massena High School cast members will take you with this year’s spring musical production.

Tickets are now on sale for “Back to the 80’s,” a musical that’s jam-packed with tunes that listeners from that era will easily recognize, from “Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” “Footloose,” Material Girl” and “Video Killed the Radio Star,” to “We Are the World,” “Dancing on the Ceiling,” Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and “Walking on Sunshine.”

“It’s very 80’s, all the bright colors and high-energy stuff of the 80’s,” said senior Emily Lambert, who plays the role of Tiffany Houston.

Back to the 80’s” tells the story of the 1989 graduating class of William Ocean High as seen through the eyes of the narrator, Corey Palmer Sr. (Terry Chapman), who is now 30 and living in the year 2001. He reminisces about the 80’s, his school days and his love for Tiffany Houston, moving the story along with comments on the action taking place and providing the thoughts of his younger version, Corey Palmer Jr. (Ken Chapman).

“It’s Corey Sr. talking about the events of his past in his high school years. Junior is the Corey of the past,” Mr. Chapman, a senior said.

Although Corey Jr. is madly in love with his next door neighbor, Tiffany Houston, one of the coolest girls in the school, she barely notices as she focuses on Michael Feldman (Brody LeCuyer), the hottest guy around.

“He’s not popular, but he’s not a bottom-tier nerd. He really wants to fit in a lot. He’s really trying to go after his neighbor, Tiffany,” Mr. Chapman said.

By the end, he noted, Corey has climbed up the social ladder.

This isn’t Mr. Chapman’s first time on the stage at Massena, but he said this year has been different.

“I’ve had big roles in the past. I think this is the one with the most lines. It’s really been fun because you recognize the songs,” he said.

In this case, he said, the actors can hone their lines by visiting YouTube and checking out the original songs that they’ll be performing on the stage.

“The familiar songs made it easier. All the songs are upbeat. They’re more fun this year because they’re songs we grew up with,” Mr. Chapman said. “Dance-wise, it’s more challenging.”

Emily Lambert takes on the role of Tiffany Houston, one of the group of girls that “Just Want To Have Fun.” She has been Corey Jr.’s neighbor since they were born, and they are good friends, but she seems oblivious to his feelings for her.

“As soon as I found out (about the production) I Googled the show and found ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun,’” she said.

Her character, she said, is “like the nice one” in high school.

“It (the role) is definitely what I was hoping for,” she said.

A veteran of the Massena Central spring productions since her freshman year, Ms. Lambert said “Back to the 80’s” is “a different show.”

“In the past it’s been more traditional musicals,” she said.

She said the best parts about this musical are the dancing and the bonding with other cast members, most of whom are also veterans of the Massena stage.

“We have like two new people” and no freshmen in the cast, Ms. Lambert said.

Sophomore Brody LeCuyer is Michael Feldman, the coolest guy in school who drives a car, stars on the football team and has the girls falling at his feet, including Tiffany Houston.

This is his second production.

“I am the secondary male lead. It’s a pretty big deal for me. I wasn’t really expecting anything more than ensemble until my junior or senior year,” he said.

Michael Feldman, he said, is “the antagonist of the story” who all the girls love in the beginning, but who bottoms out at the end of the show.

In his role, Mr. LeCuyer said he gets to sing the song, “Footloose,” made famous in the Kevin Bacon movie of the same name.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s a song that a whole lot of people know,” he said.

Still, he said, the song is a challenge for him.

“It’s a little bit above my range. I’m working on it. I have worked a lot on some of the songs at home” with YouTube, Mr. LeCuyer said.

When it comes to dancing, however, “I do pretty well,” he said.”

Mr. LeCuyer said this year’s production should be a hit with the audience.

“I think it’s going to draw a lot of people in who grew up in the 80’s and know the songs,” he said.

Other cast members are Reed Chapman, Joey Pease, Abbie Truax, Hanna Siddon, Laura Cook, McKay Burley, Andrew Loffler, Anthony Scruton, Lucas Benedict, Lindy Chapman, Sarah Murphy, Katie Frego, McKenna Lagarry and James George.

The students at William Ocean High School include Micah Larrow, Margaret Mauch, Megan Wells, Kristian Fino, Danielle Fleury, Jackie Tulip, Michael Stenlake, Tiffany Alderson, Silken Kershner, Brianna Avery, Kristen Canales and Bailey Cortese.

Tickets are available now at the box office in the high school lobby, which is open from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. The tickets are $10 each.

Those who want tickets but can’t get to the box office during those hours can contact Chris Lincoln at 764-3710, ext. 3128, 769-3736 or email clincoln@mcs.k12.ny.us.

The production will be staged at 8 p.m. March 22 and 23.

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