|Show: BACK TO THE 80s
Music and Lyrics: Neil Gooding
Original Musical Adaption: Scott Copeman
Director: Michael Fudala
Vocal Director: Sharon Hand
Theatre-on-the-Hill‘s latest summer foray is the family friendly musical Back to the 80s. At first glance one would say that Back to the 80s is Grease set to the 80s and using popular 80s music. With a storyline revolving around various cliques that would be familiar to any audience member:
Set in the USA, Back To The 80′s tells the story of the senior class of William Ocean High School that graduated in the 1980′s, as remembered and seen through the eyes of middle-aged Corey Palmer (Scott Bovaird).
The then 17-year-old Corey (Caleb Hand) is madly in love with his next-door neighbour, Tiffany Houston (Kristina Parro), one of the coolest girls in the school. However, she barely notices this, as she is too busy mooning over Michael Feldman (Victor Rachal), the hottest guy around. Michael and his friends (Jon Worlton, Jonathan O’Brien, Kayaun Pierce) are athletic and good-looking – the kind of guys that Corey and his two best friends (Jon Slowik and Troy Schaeflein) dream of being. However, while they may not be the coolest guys in school, they are still one up on Feargal McFerrin III (Kevin Nepomuceno), whose best friend is his computer, and who believes the crazy notion that one day CD’s will replace cassette tapes.
Several new students arrive at the school – Mel and Kim Easton (the all-singing, all-dancing twin cheerleaders played by Rachel Slowik and Teri Karl respectively) and Eileen Reagan (Deana Vazquez), who tries desperately to fit in.
Meanwhile the teachers are having issues of their own: Mr Cocker (Scott Boland), after being in a relationship for a year with the apparently conservative English teacher, Miss Sheena Brannigan (Guinevere McGahan), confiscates an old edition of Penthouse from a student, only to discover a wedge that could drive them apart.
Throw in a Star Wars dream sequence complete with Yoda (Joseph Bovaird), high-energy dance routines, the obligatory 80′s party scene, copious amounts of blue eye-shadow, twenty cans of hairspray, as well as some of the most popular songs ever written, and the result is a musical that will not only delight and amuse an audience of any age, but will also inspire any young cast.
Scott Bovaird, the narrator going through his memories of his senior year probably had the one of, if not the most, difficult part in the whole show. Being a narrator is one thing, the fact that what he says or does pretty much cues everyone else in the cast, well that’s a different thing entirely. Scott has been strong and consistent through every viewing of the production. Though he didn’t have much to do as an actor, he does some measure of singing that was not just respectable, but well-done. Singing songs like “Wake Me Up Before You Go Go” made famous by Wham!, “Shot Through the Heart” aka “You Give Love A Bad Name” by Bon Jovi, and “Love Stinks” from the J Geils Band.