Baldwin High School's production of "Rock-n-Roll" turned back the clock to the 1950s - if not the real 1950s, then the 1950s of our imaginations - when teenagers were full of hope and innocence and the only things they had to worry about were football, dance parties and young romance. The show reminded me of a bowl of popcorn - light, fluffy, predictable, but tasty.
The huge cast of 42 students, half of whom were freshmen, made a big impact in the small, intimate Loudon Mini-Theater. During the big dance numbers their bodies crowded the stage, the aisles and even the doorways, and their voices filled the room. The student-choreographed dance routines included plenty of fun, period-appropriate moves.
Sebastian Rico played the shy but sincere Corndoggie, who works up the courage to ask his dream girl Betsy Lou (Melissa Jensen) to prom. Rico did a great job of portraying an awkward, confused but infinitely relatable teenager.
Kenny Komatsu was brilliant as Corndoggie's dumb but enthusiastic friend Duffy. His open- mouthed, vacant expressions had me laughing out loud. Jesie Rocetes was great as the popular, talkative Mannfred. Rocetes has an attractive voice and a confident presence onstage.
The supporting roles were filled with talented performers as well. Janolan Endrina showed off a beautiful smile and a powerful singing voice in the role of Darlene, the head cheerleader. Endrina would have been another lovely choice for the role of Betsy Lou.
Julianna Scharnhorst was appropriately awkward as the clumsy wannabe cheerleader "Bumpers." JJ Tuliau played it cool as the swaggering superjock Forrest. Jonathan Sifton showed off an impressive pair of lungs as the bellowing leader of "Da Wheels" biker gang, Hubs. Dylan Bode, Alex Hutaff-Bautista and Johnny Nguyen played Frankie, Butch and Bud, Forrest's jock pals. In my favorite moment in the show, Dylan Bode rocked the house as Johnny Sapphire, an Elvis-esque rock 'n' roll star who had the cast dancing and the audience cheering. Bode certainly knows how to work a crowd!
"Rock-n-Roll" opened last Friday and plays again this weekend: 7:30 p.m. Friday; 3 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday; and 5 p.m. Sunday at the Loudon Mini-Theater on the Baldwin High School campus. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for kids 17 and under. No reservations are necessary.
The chorus comprised rally girls Justine Finney, Kiana Siliado, Demi Ann Botuyan, Jordyn Clarke, Madeline Hamada, Serena Perry and Leilani Alpa; rally boys TJ Idemoto and Josh Eldred; waitresses Maddy Scharnhorst, Chloe Madriaga, Erika Maglhaes, Kyra Natividad; biker girlfriends Annika Otterson, Amber Osterstock, Leilani Aipa; jock girlfriends Ana Fayt, Amanda Galvao and Abbie DeLaveaga/Kaitlyn Brunner; jocks Miguel Morales and Justin Cox; and high school students Jamie Long, Lorena Abreu, Brittany Holland, Angel Alfonso, Katie Thompson and Isabel Bayron.
The production team included director Linda Carnevale, assistant director Erika Magalhaes, musical director Tana Larson, production manager Julianna Scharnhorst, choreographers Serena Perry, Sienna Minnock and Jesie Rocetes, and a host of other behind-the-scenes volunteers.
Let "Rock-n-Roll" take you back in time to a world of song, dance and innocent teenage romance.
* Contact Mirabel Bradley at firstname.lastname@example.org