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On stage: It’s school musical season in Loudoun

Students at J.L. Simpson Middle School in Leesburg rehearse for the upcoming performance of “The Wiz,” directed by Martha Lynch. Courtesy Photo
Music is in the air, and hopefully spring is too, which means area middle and high schools are preparing their big theater productions of the year.

Despite missing three weeks of school and important rehearsal time, the directors all agree they're ready to perform. The show must go on.

As a veteran in Loudoun theater circles, Martha Lynch has directed over 150 shows. This year, she has focused on “The Wiz” at J.L. Simpson Middle School.

“We have 65 kids in the production and we have been working very hard. It will be a joy to watch,” said Lynch.

“The Wiz” is the rock musical version of “The Wizard of Oz,” with all of the familiar characters in the show.

“The whole company gets to do quite a few dances, and there are several big dance scenes that are fun to watch. I like the upbeat and fun music and it is fun to get creative with it,” Lynch said.

Heritage High School’s drama department is producing “Les Miserables,” led by director Montana Brown.

“This is the most challenging show we have done,” Brown said. “The music, characters that are mature and in-depth, and the set have taken a lot of resources and time.”

“We built a rotating stage set which is a stage floor on top of a floor and the middle turns around on wheels. We are hoping it all comes together. The students have set high expectations for themselves and won’t settle for anything less than top quality,” Brown said. 

The show has been edited for younger audiences, so it's family friendly, Brown explained. She added that “Les Miserables” has been her favorite show since she was 4 years old, so there is added pressure to “do it justice.”
Brown has been working with the current senior class for the four years she has been at Heritage, so it's also a meaningful production.

 “We have become such a strong group and I am enjoying seeing the seniors mentor their younger peers. I can’t even imagine the thought of them graduating,” Brown said.

Tuscarora High School is presenting “Once on this Island,” a romantic musical based on a Caribbean fairytale.
“It is a family fun show with dancing and singing. It is colorful and creative and a lot of fun,” said director Justin Daniel.

There are 46 students in the cast, and the lead is a young girl who is a fifth grader named Julian Evidente.  “She is very talented and brings a lot of energy to the teenagers,” Daniel said.

It’s the spring musical season and a great time to support the area’s talented students and schools, and see some wonderful performances. Here is a selection of the shows beginning this weekend:

Broad Run High School Presents “The Fantasticks.” 7:30 p.m. March 27-29; 2 p.m. March 30. 2 p.m. $10. Broad Run High School, Ashburn Road, Ashburn.
Heritage High School Presents “Les Miserables.” 7 p.m. March 27-29 and April 4-5 at 7 p.m.; March 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets $10. 520 Evergreen Mill Road, Leesburg.
Briar Woods High School Presents “Legally Blonde, The Musical.” 7 p.m. March 27-28;  March 29 at 2 p.m. Tickets $10 adults, $5 students. Briar Woods High School, 22525 Belmont Ridge Road, Ashburn.
River Hawk Productions Presents “Shrek the Musical.” 7 p.m. March 28, also 2 and 7 p.m. March 29; 3 p.m. March 30; 7 p.m. April 3-5 and 2 p.m. April 5. $9. Belmont Ridge Middle School, 19045 Upper Belmont Place, Lansdowne.
J.L. Simpson Middle School Presents “The Wiz.” 7:30 p.m. March 28,  Also 7:30 p.m. March 29,; 2:30 p.m. March 30; 7:30 p.m. April 4; 7:30 p.m. April 5; 2:30 p.m. April 6. $5. 490 Evergreen Mill Road, Leesburg.
Eagle Ridge Middle School Presents “The Ugly Duckling.” 7 p.m. April 3-5.  Eagle Ridge Middle School, 42901 Waxpool Road, Ashburn.
Tuscarora High School Presents “Once on this Island.” 7 p.m. April 3-5.  $10. 801 N. King St., Leesburg.


Potomac Falls HS presents, “Meet Me in St. Louis,” running Thursday thru Saturday, March 27-29 at 7:30 pm

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