“Cougar Cabaret” Showcases Student Talent
By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD News & Journal Editor
Lincoln High School’s Spring Production was something a little different this year. Director Eileen Metheney called it an “adventure” and a “maiden voyage” since this was the first year the students hadn’t performed a musical play.
“I had been on maternity leave and didn’t return to school until the beginning of February, so there was just not enough time to adequately prepare for the typical plays we’ve presented in the past. Our students who were interested in participating opted to do somewhat of a variety show,” Mrs. Metheney stated.
High school musicals today are typically Broadway-inspired and require a sizeable budget. With cast scripts, music, costuming and set designs, the cost can be in the thousands of dollars! Although some can perhaps be pulled off for $10,000, others are more elaborate. Take, for example, Blanchet High, a coed Catholic high school in Washington state, that produced “Barnum”, a musical based on the legendary showman P.T. Barnum, founder of the Barnum & Bailey Circus. Students actually swung from trapezes 25 feet in the air and a teacher’s terrier was trained to jump onto and ride a pony! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey clowns provided face-painting tips and gag ideas. This ‘greatest show on earth” musical at a school with an enrollment of 1,078 students came at a cost of $90,000!
“Our variety show, titled ‘Cougar Cabaret’, was certainly more budget friendly, but nevertheless still a lot of work and rehearsing. In fact, it was perhaps harder than a musical because everything about it had to be made up; there was no script already prepared that we could order and learn. An upside was that it did allow us to feature more of our talented students, not just those with leading roles.”
‘Cougar Cabaret’ incorporated a look at three decades … what was popular in the 60’s, 70’s, and 80’s. With several skits and LOTS of music, it was quite entertaining and drew laughter and lots of toe-tapping and hand-clapping for a full two hours. The show’s Emcee was student Jonathan Looman.
Mrs. Metheney, also the choral director at Lincoln High School, explained the reason the production worked so well. “This year I have one of the BEST choirs I’ve ever had, and with such great vocal talent, we were able to offer a great variety of music – and lots of it – and it was very entertaining,” she said. “The students enjoyed doing it. That was obvious to the audience and they reciprocated with enjoyment as well.”
The 1960’s skit was a spoof called “the Gunslinger” featuring a saloon setting with a western sheriff as the key player. The 1980’s skit, titled “The Carrie Springler Show” was a takeoff of the tabloid talk show hosted by Jerry Springer.
60’s era music included a variety of genres such as the Supremes hit “Come See About Me” (Gayle Oberacker, Hannah Oliverio and Olivia Spino), Johnny Cash’s hit “Ring of Fire” (Zach Zahn), and “Till There Was You” from Music Man (Gayle Oberacker).
The decade of music from the 70’s began with Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary” (Olivia Spino, Gayle Oberacker, and Hannah Oliverio) followed by “Dust in the Wind” (Jacob McIntire, Timothy Scheuvront and Kallie Shingleton), “Landslide” (Erin Gallagher), “Here You Come Again” (Kalie Shingleton and Gayle Oberacker), and “Somebody to Love” (Timothy Scheuvront, Hannah Oliverio, Olivia Spino and the entire ensemble).
The 80’s music once again offered different styles of music including songs like “Separate Way” by Journey (Raeanna Jenkins, Kayegan Loss, Jacob McIntire, Hannah Oliverio, Olivia Spino and the ensemble); “Islands in the Stream” made popular by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers (Timothy Scheuvront, Kallie Shingleton and Gayle Oberacker); and “Wishing You Were Somehow Here Again” from Phantom of the Opera (Giana Loretta).
The show came to a dramatic conclusion with the entire ensemble participating in “Africa” and “The Best of Chicago”, both drawing audience cheers! GREAT instrumentation was provided by a talented Stage Band consisting of Emily Akers, Julie Channell, Mae Channell, Aubrey Cumberledge, Brittany Griffith, Ian McIntire, Rachel Mead, and Eileen Metheney.
Director Eileen Metheney offers special thanks to Assistant Director Julie Channell, Technical Director Fred Channell, the technical crew (Victoria Andrick, Falisha Clevenger, Matthew Kerns, Hannah Loar, Lilly McCarty, and Maggy McCarty), and to each and every student who participated.
Members of the ensemble included Dale Ables, Wayne Baker, Amelia Bender, Alexis Baker-Weekly, Wesley Benson, Chasity Campbell, Sandi Dennison, Adam Dotson, Erin Gallagher, Braden Hamrick, Sydney Harbert, Atlanta Henning, Raeanna Jenkins, Cheyenne Jones, Giana Loretta, Drake Loss, Rayegan Loss, Jakob Lucas, Gabe Maditz, Jacob McIntire, Amy Moore, Gayle Oberacker, Hannah Oliverio, Louis Rodina, Timothy Scheuvront, Kallie Shingleton, Olivia Spino, Robbie Stanton, Trey Stire, Dana Westfall, and Zach Zahn.
Shows were performed in the LHS auditorium last week – first to students and two evening performances for the public.