The classic Christmas story, “White Christmas,” will come to life on-stage this weekend at Windermere High School.
It’s the department’s first full production of the year, and everyone is putting their best foot forward for the show.
“We’re coming out of nowhere and coming out strong,” said Jonathan Jackson, assistant director of the theater department.
With no seniors to rely on this year, Jackson said many of the juniors have stepped up to the challenge of leading and cultivating the program.
“They’ve been thrust into leadership, so it’s a challenge for them,” he said. “It adds an interesting element. Just last year, they were sophomore. Now, they’re the leaders of everything.”
For junior Bailey Leich, getting to star in a lead role for the show is a new experience.
“It’s a lot of pressure, because it’s the first show, and we’re trying to set the bar high for Windermere,” said Leich, who will star as Betty Haynes. “But it’s been fun to do.”
Sophomore Katy Mier, starring opposite Leich as Judy Haynes, said it’s been fun to help create the traditions and legacy for the school’s theater department.
“It’s really cool,” she said. “We get to set those standards.”
Although many other area high schools put on a full production in October or November, theater director Patricia Barra and Jackson scheduled “White Christmas” for later in the season to give the students more time to adjust - something that many of the student appreciated.
“It’s a lot less of a frantic atmosphere,” said sophomore Blake Croft, who will star as Phil Davis in the show. “So it’s easier and calmer, even though it’s a lot of work to take on.”
And since “White Christmas” is a classic holiday story, it appeals to a wide range of audiences.
“I chose "White Christmas" as our premier production because it appeals to grandmas, grandsons and everyone in between,” Barra said. “Many people will recognize the beloved songs, dances and characters. It’s sure to be something everyone in the community will enjoy.”
With 46 students in the cast, the musical includes singing, dancing and even a few tap numbers.
“Judy and I have a big tap number at the start of act two, and tap is like my favorite thing ever,” he said.
Having starred in “Shrek” last year at West Orange High, junior Sam Marzella said he had high hopes of getting the lead role of Bob Wallace when he auditioned for the show.
“I was really hoping for Bob, because I really liked his character,” said Marzella, who will star in the iconic role once played by Bing Crosby.
And there is nothing quite like theater, Marzella said.
“I just love every aspect of it,” he said. “I love having people watching me. It’s a different type of energy.”
Although the Windermere High thespians hope to cement their legacy with their production of “White Christmas,” they already made a historic mark for the department earlier this fall.
After performing a one-act show called “Almost, Maine” at the district competition, the department was one of four that was selected to perform its show at the state competition, which will be held in March.
“We’re making school history as we go, so we have a legacy of success” Jackson said.