A gilded age at Lakeland High

Published 9:40 pm Thursday, April 26, 2012

Marcus Henry, Matthew Miller and Wynter Brown get into character for Lakeland High School’s stage production “Flapper!” It had its first performance yesterday.

Lakeland High School Drama Club students were in a state of high excitement late yesterday preparing for the first performance of their latest production, “Flapper!”

Set in the carefree time between the sinking of the Titanic and the Great Depression, the musical about the so-called Roaring ‘20s was to debut yesterday evening.

Patiently herding nervous students about the auditorium and overseeing the completion of 11th-hour set adjustments, drama teacher Sara Sims said the show was poised to be a hit.

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“These kids are full of talent,” she said. “They’re not just talented actors; they’re talented musicians, singers and artists as well.”

The drama club has been joined on the production by Lakeland High’s choral department and orchestra. Art students have been working to create the set.

“There’s so many skills we try to exploit — I mean utilize — because it gives them experience,” Sims said. “It’s a great experience for them to get to dabble in all those areas.”

As described in a press release, the musical celebrates the Roaring ‘20s era, introducing the audience to “Polly Pepper (played by Samara Hardiman), a young flapper who really knows how to live in the time of Stutz Bearcat automobiles, Ziegfield girls, raccoon coats, ukuleles, beauty contests, goldfish swallowers and gangsters,” as well as various other mostly fun-loving characters.

Sophomore Wynter Brown, who plays the Duchess of Milford, said she had to get in touch with her “conniving side.”

She said she is no stranger to the stage. “I’ve had multiple roles … basically the same type of character — evil,” Brown said.

Brown’s on-stage love interest is 11th-grader Matthew Miller, playing the Duke of Milford. Miller said his character is more complex than the straight-out-evil duchess.

“He’s got a split personality going on,” Miller said. “He’s trying to be someone that he’s not.”

Miller also has prior acting experience, saying, “I’ve done every play that she’s (Sims) done, and then some.”

Marcus Henry, another 10th-grader, was looking forward to rendering his character, Tommy, who he said was a “rich boy.”

“He doesn’t need to work until the Great Depression (hits),” Henry revealed.

Performances tonight and tomorrow are at 6.30 p.m. There is also a 2:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday.

Tickets are selling at the door –—$6 for adults and $4 for students — and can also be reserved by calling 376-5525.

Children under kindergarten age are free.