(Posted March 7, 2018)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Audiences are bound to give two thumbs up to Southeastern High School’s spring musical production.
This year’s selection is “Happy Days,” a show based on the popular television series that aired in the 1970s and ‘80s featuring the iconic character The Fonz–“Aaaay!”
“It is a fun, family-oriented blast from the past,” said Laura Madden, who is co-directing the show with fellow teacher Kelly Gootee. “Many will remember the TV show and, even if they don’t, the songs are catchy and the characters are lovable.”
Set in the 1950s, the main plot of “Happy Days” the musical is a fundraising effort to save Arnold’s Drive-In. A construction company wants to buy the land and bulldoze the diner to build a mall.
As the story unfolds, Fonzie (played by senior Nate Brakeall) and Pinky Tuscadero (senior Shale Hayner) are reunited when Pinky comes to town to be a celebrity guest judge of a dance contest to raise money for Arnold’s.
The plot also finds Fonzie debating whether or not to wrestle the Malachi brothers (senior Camden Snodgrass and junior Alejandro Neave) to raise money, even though he has a bum knee.
The large cast includes all of the “Happy Days” notables, including the Cunningham family (senior Makayla Ray as Marion, junior Nathan Roark as Howard, sophomore Brady Bair as Richie, and sophomore Mozie Van Raaij as Joanie.)
Arnold (sophomore Colter Moore), Lori Beth (senior Maecan Savage), Potsie (sophomore Eli Johnson), Chachi (freshman Connor McGlothin), Ralph Malph (freshman Jakob Maynard) and many more also grace the stage.
Madden said “Happy Days” was an easy pick for this year’s production.
“We chose this show for the fun ‘50s theme and because we had seen a production of it at La Comedia Dinner Theater a few years ago,” she said. “And we thought it would fit well with the students in our cast.”
The students have embraced the story and characters, Madden added, even though most of them have never seen an episode of “Happy Days.”
“It is always difficult with such classic characters to help students understand what the older people in the audience are expecting to hear and see,” she said. But the cast has caught on quickly. “They are doing great!”
Assisting Madden and Gootee as a student director is Jacob Hitt, a Southeastern graduate and former musical lead majoring in music education at Wright State University.
Show times for “Happy Days” are 7 p.m. March 9 and 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. March 10. Tickets are for sale at the school for reserved seats. They also will be available at the door. They are $7 for adults and $5 for students through 12th grade. For details, call the high school at (937) 462-8308.