"Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" is set in 1850s Oregon, which made it an appealing choice for West Albany High School's spring musical.
"Researching the pioneer roots of our state has been really interesting for the staff and students," says director Cate Caffarella. "We selected this show because of the many student opportunities it presented and the funny lightheartedness of it."
The musical, based on the 1954 film and short story, opens its first of six performances Friday night at West Albany High School. The book is by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay with lyrics by Jonny Mercer and music by Gene dePaul.
The story is set in 1850, and begins with Adam Pontipee, played by Eli Nicholas, anticipating a trip into town to look for a wife. When he arrives, the suitors, brides and townsfolk are dancing together, making it clear that there are already 10 men for every woman in town.
Despite the odds, the women in the town are drawn to Adam, and he goes around town to meet them, vowing not to leave until he's found a wife. He sees Milly, played by Mackenzie Duda, and is intrigued. He wants to marry Milly and take her to his family home where he lives with his six brothers. Other women in town are skeptical of the quick marriage to man she's only just met.
Will it work out? It becomes clear to Milly that Adam's six brothers need wives of their own.
The cast includes 40 students, a student orchestra, stage and technical crew, who have been working on this production for nine weeks.
"We will even feature a 3-month-old baby, Emma Thompson, who is the daughter of a former student," Caffarella said.
The musical features 15 songs. A favorite among the student performers is "Sobbin' Women," Caffarella said, although she admits being partial to the recurring song "Love Never Goes Away."
Haven Barrett, a former West Albany student, is the show's choreographer. The director said other former students and parent volunteers have been a big help in putting the production together.
"It doesn't try to be serious or deeply moving, rather it is a humorous and fun, high-energy show," Caffarella says of "Seven Brides." "I think the audience will enjoy the rollicking choreography and upbeat music."