Make us your home page
Instagram

Weeki Wachee High set to bring 'Oklahoma!' to stage this weekend

WEEKI WACHEE

As the director of choirs and musical theater at Weeki Wachee High School, Morgan Burburan had no doubt she had a wonderful cast of singers and actors for this year's spring musical.

But there was one small glitch: This year's show was not your ordinary musical.

"This is a dancing show, and there were only three or four in the cast who were dancers. ... It was a little scary at first."

But after months of rehearsals — including seven solid weeks of dancing and choreography — the cast of more than 25 students is prepared to wow audiences this weekend when Weeki Wachee presents its production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma!

The show, which Burburan co-directs with Keith Meccia, follows the song and dance routines of the original score. While some dances have been shortened for time, quality has not been sacrificed, Burburan said.

"We didn't want to lessen the integrity of the show" by removing dance numbers, she said.

To help make it all possible, Burburan recruited the assistance of noted dance instructor Edwina Nelson, who currently works at John Leggio's Center for the Performing Arts in Spring Hill.

"(Nelson) is really incredible," Burburan said. "She successfully turned non-dancers into fantastic dancers."

The show stars juniors Lexi McDaniel as Laurey the farm girl and Christian Braz as Curly, the cowboy who loves her. Other performers include Laura Bennett as Aunt Eller, Nicole Piccinich as Ado Annie, Colin Brooks as Ali Hakim and Erik-Lee Troche as Will Parker.

Although she has had supporting roles in the school's productions of Meet Me in St. Louis and Into the Woods, as well as in Stage West's Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr., Laurey is the first leading role for McDaniel, 17.

The role has its challenges, McDaniel admits.

"This is actually the first time I am playing an adult role," said McDaniel, who noted that her character also has serious moments and gets put into situations that she has never had to deal with in roles as younger characters.

McDaniel said she enjoys singing Many a New Day, but her favorite is The Farmer and the Cowman ensemble.

"I love (Laurey's) attitude and sassiness in how she reacts with Curley," McDaniel said.

"Lexi has been extremely dedicated," Burburan said. "I'm so impressed by her."

Braz, also 17, is not new to taking on strong characters. He has performed as both Prince Charming and the Big Bad Wolf in last year's Into the Woods, as well as Daddy Warbucks in Stage West's production of Annie Jr. last summer.

"(Curly) is charming like the prince, but also brings a mature side, like Daddy Warbucks. ... When it comes down to business, Curly can be real serious," Braz said.

Braz said his favorite number is Surrey with a Fringe on Top, and his favorite scene is in the smokehouse with Jud the ranch hand, played by Jordan Daniels.

"Jud is a serious character," Braz said.

And while Curly and Jud are not fond of one another, Braz said he and Daniels are actually best friends.

Since the two teens have been friends for years, the fight scene in the final act somewhat unnerves the show's producer, Nicki Helsley, who is also Braz's mother.

"It is an intense fight scene," Helsley said. "As a mom, it's hard to watch the two boys do that scene. ... They're good at it."

Although he's never been a dancer, Braz said he was able to pick up the choreography. On the other hand, he found the music to be a challenge.

"Last year, we did Sondheim, and that wasn't as difficult as this," Braz said. "There are a lot of repeats, but words are different. ... It definitely was a challenge."

"Christian has been fantastic," Burburan said, adding that he's taken rehearsals a step further by taking dance lessons. "The entire cast has been very dedicated. ... They spent seven weeks alone just on the choreography, and it shows. They are all very good, strong performers."

>>fast facts

Oklahoma!

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Weeki Wachee High School, 121250 Vespa Way, north of Weeki Wachee.

Tickets: $10 in advance and $15 at the door; students, $8. Call (352) 610-1232 or visit edline.net/pages/hcsb.wwhs

Weeki Wachee High set to bring 'Oklahoma!' to stage this weekend 05/21/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 8:27pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Top things to do in Tampa Bay for Tuesday May 30

    Events

    Finding Neverland: The hit Broadway show follows the story behind playwright J.M. Barrie as he struggles to find inspiration to create Peter Pan, until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. 7:30 p.m., Carol Morsani Hall at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, 1010 N MacInnes Place, …

    Mitchell Wray, Jordan Cole, Finn Faulconer and Ben Krieger as the Llewelyn Davies Boys in the National Tour of Finding Neverland. Photo by Carol Rosegg.
  2. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  3. Restaurant review: Features Gastropub in Riverview is fine as movie theater fare, but unimpressive otherwise

    Food & Dining

    Movies aren't exactly dying. Despite all the sturm und drang of predictions that Netflix and streaming videos would kill the cinema, global box office receipts hit $38.6 billion in 2016, a 1 percent gain over the previous year. But that doesn't mean going to the cinema is precisely what it was a generation …

    Soft pretzels are displayed with a beer at the Features Gastropub in the Riverview 14 GDX  theater in Gibsonton, Fla. on Thursday, May 25, 2017.   The 5,900-square-foot Features Gastropub open in the . This element of the project is the brainchild of Philadelphia chef Brian Duffy, who appears frequently on NBC's The Today Show and the Spike TV show Bar Rescue
  4. From the food editor: I love that food is a huge part of Master of None's transcendent second season

    Cooking

    Deep into a late-night binge of Master of None, Aziz Ansari's Netflix series that returned for its second season May 12, I realized I was laying as far back on my couch as possible, blanket clutched up to my chin, eyebrows permanently raised.

    Dev (Aziz Ansari) and Arnold (Eric Wareheim) eat lunch in Modena, Italy, in the second season of "Master of None."
  5. Three 'MasterChef' contestants from the Tampa Bay area talk cooking inspiration and more

    Cooking

    When Gordon Ramsay's MasterChef begins its eighth season tonight, the Tampa Bay area will have three contestants to root for. A marketing director from Tampa, a dentist and Palm Harbor native, and an employee for a steel supply company are all trying to impress a trio of judges with their home-cooking skills.

    Jeff Philbin, from Tampa, left, Palm Harbor native Paola Annoni Patel, and Danny Flores, of Land 'O Lakes, will be competing on the season premiere of "Masterchef."