STAUNTON — Trzel the Frog likes to keep busy. They had just finished a role in Buffalo Gap’s one-act play at the high school state championship. This semester, they are student directors in Gap’s play. Trzel attends dance classes, was captain of the school marching band and plays the clarinet in the concert band.
And next week, the Buffalo Gap high school senior will be featured in The Olympians, a musical and stage production by Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School in association with ShenanArts. Trzel plays Sofia.
“I am one of the three heroines chosen by the goddesses,” Trzel said. “It was a lot of fun and wonderful.”
Trzel is good friends with the other two characters, Gap’s Lauren Guidoni, who plays Alexis, and Staunton’s Ava Quesenberry, who plays Zoe.
“It’s great to have that experience with them,” Trzel said, “and to be able to find new ways to interact with our friendship through how it works on the show.”
The Olympians book by Kara Reichel and arrangement by Peter Mills tell the story of three heroines who go on a dangerous quest.
“It’s very feminist, which I like,” said Adele Condra of Wilson Memorial. “And it has a few references to other popular musicals, which I think is really funny. To be honest, I think it’s cute. It’s a good time, but it also has a strong message.”
Condra is both part of the ensemble and assistant director. She enjoys acting, but the real reason she got into theater was to help her get closer to her goal of becoming a director and director. Condra, who is also a writer and a film major at the Governor’s School, said it was a great experience helping to direct The Olympians. She even managed to stage a fight scene.
“I’m just winged,” Wilson Jr. said. “So it’s a funny chase and I thought, OK, it’s got to be funny and they’re running, so I drew a miniature of a prop that I might want to use, and then I just did it.”
The show features songs from the past five decades, including “Wide Open Spaces” (The Chicks), “One Way or Another” (Blondie), “Venus” (Bananarama) and “Breakaway” (Kelly Clarkson).
“We have these songs that are going to be great for people who aren’t teenagers, who are maybe older than us, and I feel like younger kids are just going to enjoy how upbeat they are,” Trzel said. . “It’s going to be really great for everyone who comes to see it, and it’s going to be a lot of fun.”
The exhibit runs January 19-22 at ShenanArts in Staunton. Performances: January 19-21 at 7 p.m. and January 22 at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 for students 18 and under, $12 for seniors and students, and $15 for adults. The play is recommended for people aged 8 and over. To purchase tickets, visit www.ShenanArts.org.
The Olympians, directed by Cassie Whitacre, features students from Staunton, Waynesboro and Augusta County.
Vivi Alto (Stewarts Draft), Triss Bowersox (Wilson Memorial), Kira Harrison (Waynesboro) and Elsa Silvestri (Waynesboro) are featured as Immortals.
It also stars Jaden Golder (Staunton), Jacob Hostetter (Waynesboro) and Oliver Oakes (Staunton) as people who help or hinder the quest. JJ Redifer (Waynesboro), Riley Steele (Waynesboro) and Marina Thomas (Wilson Memorial) play an ensemble cast of soldiers, citizens and islanders.
“This cast is so talented, they just blew me away,” Condra said. “Our three seniors are super, super talented. They all play the main roles and all the younger ones I know have become very close friends. We are very united here. It’s very friendly here.”
Trzell agrees. Aside from their passion for performing, one of the reasons they would like to pursue a career in the arts after school is the relationships that develop between actors.
“The connections I make doing this are really something I couldn’t have appreciated,” Trezel said. “It’s so important to make those kinds of connections. And I feel like the arts are a fantastic place to do that.”
Megan Zuchowski serves as musical director, and SVGS students Kylie Atkinson and Marissa Stairs provide the choreography. The production team includes Corey McDaniel (SVGS Class of 2010), Dawn Davis, Kate Delaney, Susan Polley and Susan Wass.
The Olympians is presented by special arrangement with Theatrical Rights Worldwide and all licensed performance materials are supplied by it (www.theatricalrights.com).
— Patrick Hite is The News Leader’s education reporter. Story ideas and tips are always welcome. Contact Patrick (he/him/his) at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Patrick_Hite. Subscribe to us at newsleader.com.