Nonstop song and dance featured in youth play

Performances this Thursday, Friday and Sunday
By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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Once On This Island
8 p.m. Thursday, July 30, and Friday, July 31,
2 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 2.
Blue Goose Fruit Shed
3550 Taylor Rd.
Tickets: $10 in advance, $12 at the door

Live, onstage at the Blue Goose this weekend, is a Calypso-flavored musical drama starring 17 local youths.

“Once On This Island,” a junior version of the Tony-nominated Broadway show, is the first production from McLaughlin Studio Music, Dance and Theater.

The musical is a retelling of the “Little Mermaid” in a Caribbean island setting where an orphaned peasant girl falls in love with a rich boy whose life she saves. Written by the creators of “Ragtime,” the underlying theme is social prejudice and its effect on love.

This is the first time Laura Gentes, of Loomis, has ever been in a live production. The 11-year-old plays the main character as a child.

“It’s a great experience. All of those long rehearsals paid off. I think it’s a good show. It’s been really fun,” Laura said.

Cassandra Palma, 16, of Loomis, plays the girl’s adopted mother and said she had a great time doing the production.

“It’s so much fun. It was great getting to know the cast. They’re really good actors,” Cassandra said.

Maryann Good, 15, of Loomis, plays Andrea, the rich boy’s fiancée. She said this is the eighth musical production she has performed in. She said she likes that she is meeting local people and the rehearsals are “right around the corner” from her home.

Maryann said that the production “incorporates everyone. We’re all on stage for most of the show.”

Nancie McLaughlin, studio co-owner, said cast members range in age from 12 to 19 and practiced four hours a day, four days a week for eight weeks to learn all of their lines, songs and dances.

“The kids have been wonderful. It’s been lots of work, but a lot of fun,” McLaughlin said.

Other local performers are Ashlee Petretti and Emily Knisley, both of Loomis, Meghan Trask, of Penryn, and Kasey O’Dell and Chase and Makenzie Kirkwood, all of Newcastle.

The show’s executive producer is Nancie McLaughlin and musical direction is provided by Greg McLaughlin. Tim Castleberry is the director, Erin Castleberry the producer, Tiffany Burnett, the choreographer and Gemma McKenney is the vocal coach.

For tickets or more information, call the studios at 652-6377