The Excalibur

Blood Brothers — An East Ridge Production

Donovan Porter, Staff Writer

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Willy Russel’s Blood Brothers has been the first production of the East Ridge High School Theater department’s 2018-2019 school year. The show was a smash hit, earning a standing ovation at the end, much like many other East Ridge productions. The play tells the tale of two brothers, Edward, played by Charlie McCoy (11th Grade), and Michael, played by Dean Maida (11th grade) who were separated at birth. Despite the fact that they were never to supposed to meet, the two happen upon each other accidentally and become blood brothers (best friends, with a blood pact).
The show uses the general Broadway format of two acts, featuring a unique structure in a way that starts out very lighthearted, and doesn’t grow serious until the final scenes and climax. With conflict all throughout, the show is never afraid to go dark, such as with the psychological musical number Devil’s Got Your Number sung by 12th grader James Bentley used to torment the two mothers of the story. The story is so captivating, in fact, that it almost causes viewers to forget that the play began with the showcase of the brothers’ deaths. At first, this may seem like a spoiler or an element that would ruin the play, but it’s not about the surprise of the ending, but rather the buildup to such a tear-jerking scene. James Bentley, who played the role of the narrator, found this to be his favorite part, stating, “Then the final song goes all out. When Mickey is going to kill his brother and the narrator lets you know, this is where the deaths happen.” The tone of the play goes back and forth, and that’s part of what makes it so special.

While Mr. Santo, head of the drama department, directs every play on stage, Blood Brothers found itself directed by the musical director, Mr. Misner. When asked why he chose Blood Brothers, Misner stated that, “It has always been my favorite musical since seeing it as a 12-year-old in London. I think the script is wonderful and truly highlights the talent of the actors.” When bringing the script off the page and onto the stage, Misner believed that some of the struggles were “The dialect from Liverpool. And getting the audience to understand some of the British superstitions and language. Also, the show’s deep and dark story is a difficult story for young actors to tell.”

Despite thoughts to the contrary, putting on a play is more than just actors on a stage, they need a behind the scenes crew to help with audio, lights, props, and sets. While speaking with Lindsey Ross, house manager for Blood Brothers, she described her job as: “I was the house manager, so, my job is to just be in charge of all the ushers, I have a walkie talkie, I transfer upstairs to downstairs and let Mr. Roh know if anything is wrong”. Samantha Hodapp, a senior who’s worked her way up to the position of Sound Supervisor, leads a team of herself and an additional crew working solely on mics for the whole night.

Theater can seem tough to get into, and anyone who was part of Blood Brothers, from the main characters to the crew, didn’t get in for free. They either had to prepare an audition, or prove their worth behind the scenes. Hannah Marvich, a senior who played the role of Jennifer Lyons, says to “…just go for it…”. Maycee Lowe, prop supervisor for Blood Brothers, found satisfaction in seeing sets and props being used on stage, saying: “…it gives you a new appreciation for the show, like all of the little things. Especially the sets, I painted a whole lot of those”. When asked to give advice for any looking to join theatre, Misner said to “prepare your audition before the date of audition. Always perform as though it’s show time, and be willing to make the commitment. Since we do so many shows throughout the year we can only can rely on those that are willing to make the commitment to our program.”

Blood Brothers is just the beginning for the musical theater schedule here at East Ridge. The Barn theater will be putting on The Bible: The Complete Word of God – Abridged on October 17th-20th, followed by Once Upon a Mattress on the main stage on November 7th-10th.

 

The following are pictures taken throughout the production:

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Blood Brothers — An East Ridge Production