by Sarah Einselen
To a couple of lead actors in this weekend’s production of “Oklahoma!,” acting is more than something fun to do. It’s in their blood.
Logansport High School’s 2012 Winter Fantasy musical, “Oklahoma!” is set in a western Indian territory just after the turn of the 20th century and tells the story of love between headstrong Laurey, a farm girl, and equally willful Curly, a cowboy, set against the backdrop of a rivalry between local farmers and cowboys.
Senior Jacob Pomasl, 18, plays Curly. He’s no stranger to the part — his uncle, Chris Pomasl, played Curly in Logansport High School’s 1982 production of the musical.
The younger Pomasl has seen recorded clips of his uncle’s high school performance many times, he said, but wanted to try out for the part because “he sings all the best songs. It’s a fun part.”
“You’re expected to come out and be the cocky one that wants to run everything,” Jacob said of Curly’s character.
He will admit that parts of the character are easier to act — and his fellow actors say the brassy part comes naturally to him.
For senior Laura Cahalan, 17, playing Laurey opposite Jacob’s Curly puts her in the same role that her mother, Susan Cahalan, had in a Logansport Civic Players production during the 1987-1988 season.
“It’s neat to see the next generation come up and do something like this,” said Susan.
And a glass bottle Susan used as a prop for a prominent scene in the 1987 production — the crisis where Laurey determines how she feels about Curly — will reappear this year, too.
“I had purchased this little bottle with a little cork in it and everything,” said Susan, to use as the bottle containing the “Elixir of Egypt.”
“I had saved it all these years and I gave it to her for the play.”
Laura followed her mother into acting starting at 3 years old, she said. This will be her fourth Winter Fantasy production. She’s also been in 14 Junior Civic Theater productions.
Last seen on stage as Marian in this summer’s Junior Civic production of “The Music Man,” Laura said that leading role prepared her for the huge number of lines she’s had to memorize for “Oklahoma!”
The pair are just two of about 100 high school students involved in “Oklahoma!” on stage, backstage or in the orchestra pit, said Ann Lines, head of the high school’s drama program.
LHS last presented the musical in 1999, said Lines. She decided to bring it back this year after considering her students’ talents and what other Logansport theatrical organizations had planned.
“I really enjoyed it the first time,” Lines said, but she tries not to compare casts. The students’ strength this year is in their voices, she added, and in the fact that they’re “great kids to work with.”
While many of them have several stage appearances under their belt, some are in their first acting role.
McKenzie Price, an 18-year-old senior, will play Laurey in one scene where an alternate actor traditionally does the ballet dance for it.
Price had long wanted to be in a play, she said, but didn’t find the time until this year. She’s been dancing, however, since she was 3 years old.
And though dancing is familiar, Price has had to work hard to convey her emotions through acting.
“I never realized how much energy it took,” she said. “I’m pretty monotone as a person so having to show concern and emotion ... It was kind of overwhelming.”
Even years of acting experience didn’t make Luke Jackson’s part any easier. The 18-year-old plays Will Parker, a prominent comic character.
As a senior with 32 productions to his credit, Jackson didn’t care which leading role he got, as long as it was a lead. The goofball character he got has allowed him to “push his boundaries” as an actor, he said.
“Throughout my entire high school career I’ve been the antagonist,” Jackson said. Will, on the other hand, “doesn’t kill anybody. He’s never angry ... He’s not the smartest kid on the block but darn it, he’s nice.”
The high school will present the show at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the McHale Performing Arts Center, 1 Berry Lane, Logansport.
Tickets are $5 for students, $6 for adults when purchased in advance, or $7 at the door. The box office is open today and Friday from 8 to 11 a.m. and noon to 4 p.m., and will also open an hour before each performance. Tickets may also be reserved by calling the box office at 574-753-4116.
• Sarah Einselen is news editor for the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 574-732-5151.
WANT TO GO?
What: LHS Winter Fantasy production of “Oklahoma!”
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday
Where: McHale Performing Arts Center, 1 Berry Lane
Cost: $5 for students, $6 for adult tickets purchased in advance or $7 at the door.
For more information: Call the McHale box office at 574-753-4116.
“Oklahoma!” is set in a western Indian territory just after the turn of the 20th century and tells the story of love between headstrong Laurey, a farm girl, and equally willful Curly, a cowboy, set against the backdrop of a rivalry between local farmers and cowboys.
Cast members include Lari Rutschmann, Jacob Pomasl, Laura Cahalan, Ryan Julian, Brody Conner, Zach Hoover, Luke Jackson, Cody Copka, Alli Biggs, Grant LaDow, April Pickens, Sarabia Williams, Victoria Chambers, Sydney Hunt, Kayla Brandt, Brett McManus, Bo Bullard, Tyler Graves, Victor Boggs, Tevan Fackler, Jake Hawes and Derrick DeWitt.
The cast also includes Kourtney True, Emma Bowen, Jules Ellington, Marisha Rigle, Alanna Echols, Carly Geisler, Jennifer Kreighbaum, Avery Penn, Kaleigh Dance, Hayley Hines and Lauren Pruitt.
Additional dancers include McKenzie Price, Anna Babcock, Lizzet Lares, Maddi Zartman, Emily Overway, Espen Folkestad, Blake Hooker, Gavien Isaacs and Garrett Looker.
Additional chorus members are Courtney Sroytyr, Thanyaruk Wangruksa, Amita Thiraphanithul, Andrea Cornejo, Hannah Smith, Keigan Evans, Samantha Steele, Gavin Newton and Gwen D’Agostino.