John Cooper’s ‘The Boy Friend’ Is ‘A Gem’ According to New Director

behindscenes
Members of the tech crew work on construction of the set for the upcoming John Cooper School production of “The Boy Friend.”

7pm Nov. 11 & 12 | 2pm Nov. 12 & 13 

Tickets $20 Adults, $10 Students/Seniors

Although “The Boy Friend,” may not be familiar, the show’s director, Cooper’s new theater arts teacher Mary Rotella, says “it’s a little gem.” The story takes place over a 24-hour period at a finishing school in the French Riviera. “Set in the 1920s, it’s a stylistic piece, where it’s possible for a boy to meet a girl and fall in love, all in one day,” Rotella said.

The show can be characterized as a “pastiche,” meaning it imitates the time period in a lighthearted, celebratory manner. Set at Villa Caprice, a girls’ finishing school located on the outskirts of Nice, the storyline has twists and turns, including cases of mistaken identity. “It’s just a lot of fun, and is appropriate for all ages to enjoy,” Rotella said.

Lead characters include Polly, played by Emily Moses; Tony, played by T.J. Gill;  Bobby Van Husen, played by Jack Whitney; Headmistress, Mme. Dubonnet, played by Mallory Bechtel; Percival, played by Spencer Katterhagen; Maisie, played by Kate Fisher; Hortense, played by Payton Russell, Lord Brockhurst played by Conor Patterson and Lady Brockhurst played by Maddie Bergeron. Performing in featured roles will be Cassidy Sellers, Alex Swanbeck, Carina Masuelli, Sam Brus, Callum Burton and Mitchell Shannon.

The choreography for the show is in full swing, literally, as Rotella is choreographing period dances such as the Charleston and The Peabody. Music Director Rae Moses said the music supports the dance, adding that the song lyrics are sweet and innocent in nature. Cooper instrumental students will be among the musicians providing the dance band music that is indicative of the time.

Technical Director Marcus Bridgewater is working with a tech crew of 20 students, the largest to date, to design, schedule and create the stage that will set the scene for this period piece.  Senior Blair Chapman is the scenic designer, senior Cameron Garrison used AutoCAD has designed how the sets are to be built.

Some portions of the set are massive, such as 16-foot walls, a circular staircase and a 44-foot by 8-foot boardwalk. “Movement is the ‘wow’ factor in this show,” Bridgewater said.

Assistant technical director, junior Amelia Davies maintains spreadsheets and tracks progress. Senior Wes Willgrubs, iss the stage manager, or the “voice of the actors,” Senior Paige Bohan is the properties manager and senior Charlotte Brighton is production coordinator who assists with scheduling and box office.

Rounding out the creative team that meets weekly to implement a united vision for the show, are Laura Targett who is the show’s costume designer, and Troy Dingle, who is the sound designer, working with Davies Noyes as lead sound technician.