A+E: St. Joseph’s Theatre Company Has Strong Opening Weekend of Musical Oklahoma!

by Brett Baligad, Senior Editor

Last weekend, St. Joseph’s High School’s Five Sisters Theatre Company presented their first musical of the year, Oklahoma!, with three more shows to come this weekend.

The St. Joseph’s and St. John Bosco go back in time with their rendition of Oklahoma! This musical marks Ms. Kateryn McReynolds directorial debut, as she has taken the reins from long time theatre director Mr. Larry Vandeventer. Ms. McReynolds is an alumna of St. Joseph’s and is a recent graduate of Princeton University.

The musical Oklahoma! takes place in the mid-1800s. A cowboy, Curly, played by senior Connor Sheehan and ranch hand, Jud Fry, played by junior Grant Hidalgo-Villanueva, both fall in love with the town’s sweetheart, Laurey, played by St. Joseph’s sophomore Gemma Villalobos. The classic western love story is chock full of romance, singing and hoedowns. 

Oklahoma! is a unique and interactive play. The Five Sisters Theatre Company featured a stage in the round that had audience members sitting around nearly the entirety of the stage. The musical truly has no bad views, as the audience members witness the action from just a few rows back.

“A round has a couple of platforms in the middle and back for cast members to perform on,” said actor and senior Jack Scalas. “In the very front row, a lot of the actors could sit next to viewers of the play which is pretty cool. Throughout the play, we also call on people, which is pretty interesting as well.”

This concept was received well by the stage crew and audience on opening night.

“I know this type of musical can be done in different ways. However, the way it was done was really good,” said stage crew member and freshman Kai Maldonado.

New actors also had positive feedback on adjusting to the interesting style of delivering the play.

“Although this is my first time performing, I have seen a lot of the [St. Joseph’s and Bosco] plays and seeing the way they set it up. It was cool to have the audience interact and have them see everything that is going on,” said actor and freshman William Pearce.

One of the highlights of the experience were audience members getting picked out of the crowd to come dance with the actors. 

“I was happy to see my friends perform,” said audience member and senior Joaquin Ramirez. “However, I was really shocked to be called up. It was really funny.”

With much of the lead cast starring in the previous, Bosco Theater Company’s Peter and the Starcatcher, Oklahoma! came with only three weeks of uninterrupted rehearsals for the cast. With actors Jack Scales ‘23 and Grant Hidalgo-Villanueva ‘24 coming off their debut performances this past October, there was a lot to look forward to as each of them respectively had a major role in the success of Oklahoma!

“We had to rely on Ms. Reynolds, the director, a lot. She did really well at preparing us and getting the cast ready for opening night,” said Jack. “I am really thankful for getting casted and I felt ready for the transition to a bigger role in Oklahoma!

Overall, St. Joseph’s and Bosco both opened strong in their respective plays, with two more productions to come in the second semester. It is not too late to go out and support the arts. The St. Joseph Theater Company invites everyone to come and see their closing weekend performances this Friday and Saturday at 7:00 pm as well as a closing Sunday performance at 5:30 pm. They also invite anyone interested in the arts to come out and audition for future plays.

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