Heritage Christian students set to perform semi-annual musical | SteamboatToday.com

Heritage Christian students set to perform semi-annual musical

Ben Ingersoll

— Heritage Christian School drama teacher Christel Houston isn't worried about her young actors and actresses being a little over the top in the school's latest semi-annual play, “Jonah's Druthers.”

For every shy voice, Houston asks for more Western twang. When sixth-grader Jada Krieger delivered her lines in Monday's first dress rehearsal, Houston begged her to force a little more "sass" as one of her lead characters.

There still are a few more dress rehearsals to go in the school's latest musical, a production first- through sixth-graders have been working on since January.

"We had auditions for speaking parts and solos," Houston said. "After they got to know the play a little bit, I let them try out for parts they knew they were interested in. I kind of went looking for something that would be different from anything we've done.”

Last year, Heritage Christian put on a play that was set in Babylon. The year before was a production based entirely under water. And the year before the underwater setting, the school performed a musical set on a deserted jungle island.

Houston and the young actors and actresses are familiar with "different" by now.

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She's also familiar with producing lengthy musicals with younger generations, having done it for 21 years. But this time, the fifth- and sixth-graders have taken on a heightened leadership role to lift the weight off Houston's directing shoulders.

"We put them together in families onstage so that every group has a fifth- or sixth-grader, or two, a third- and fourth-grader and they each take care of each other," Houston said. "It's kind of a picture of how we work here. It helps me because I can't keep everybody straight. It's the whole school."

The younger student-actors play the role of chorus singers, taking backstage to some younger students' solos throughout the Western-themed musical.

Onstage, flannels are tucked into blue jeans that cover leather boots. The girls sport pigtails, flowing dresses and, of course, leather cowgirl boots.

"For some of these kids, it's a lifestyle that's very easy for them to slip into," Houston said. "They all brought pretty much their own clothes. This is very Steamboat-y kind of style."

The one-and-only showing of “Jonah's Druthers” will take place in Heritage Christian's cafeteria/auditorium at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. A pre-play dinner will be served at 5:30 p.m., and admission is free.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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