‘Madcap’ 1920s musical coming soon

Published 9:46 pm Friday, March 17, 2017

Renaissance School of the Arts will present the musical “Flapper!” next week at Ebenezer United Methodist Church.

Director Theresa Romanelli said the family-friendly musical is a “madcap” 1920s comedy about a “flapper” named Polly. The term refers to young ladies in the decade that wanted independence and care-free fun.

Polly wants to be in Broadway production known as the “Ziggfield Follies.”

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“If you wanted to be a dancer on stage, you wanted to be a member of the ‘Ziggfield Follies,’” Romanelli said. “Every young flapper wants to do that.”

Polly will be played by Smithfield High School sophomore Lilly Kitchen. The story takes place on her character’s 18th birthday as gangsters try to steal her priceless necklace in the middle of a surprise birthday party thrown by her aunt Augusta Granville.

“It’s definitely different from other characters I’ve played,” said Kitchen, who started acting at Smithfield Little Theatre four years ago.

She said she loves the 1920s, particularly the dancing.

“I love the dance moves of the ‘20s,” she said. “They’re so fun.”

The drama goes further when the nefarious Duke and Duchess of Milford scheme for Ms. Granville’s fortune. The duchess will be played by graduating Renaissance School actress Kathryn Johnson, who described her character as simply a con-artist that likes money.

For this 17-year-old actress, the best part of this era is the fashion.

“I love fashion history,” Johnson said. “It’s what I study on my own.”

Zach Luyo, 16, said his character, the Duke, is not quite as smart as his Duchess counterpart, but that he enjoys a “less serious” part. He also likes the show’s jazz music.

“I grew up with jazz and music like that,” he said.

Romance shows up in the form of Buck Wayne, played by 17-year-old Renaissance actor Jarod Levine. He said his character flies in to help Polly with her party and gets dragged into the mess with her.

“It’s fun, it’s exciting, and it brings a little bit of the old time back,” he said. “It makes you feel like you’re in a professional musical.”

Renaissance School members include young actors from elementary to high school ages, and the majority of their members are homeschooled.

“We are independent contractors that have gathered together to provide students with art programs that they wouldn’t have otherwise,” Romanelli said.

Romanelli’s 20-year-old daughter, Alyssa, is the performance’s music director and was homeschooled herself. She said the talent these performers have breaks any “homeschool stigma.”

“It breaks the stigma because of how good they are,” she said.

Her mother has been equally impressed by the young cast.

“My students are amazing,” Theresa said, “All the students have stepped up and had a chance to express their creativity.”

The musical will begin at 6:30 p.m. March 25 at the church, 1589 Steeple Drive. Tickets are $5. Call 757-275-5858 for more information.