The Thomasville City Schools drama program is about to blow the lid off the big top by unveiling its spring musical. Performances of “Barnum” are set Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. at the MacIntyre Park Middle School Auditorium.
“Barnum” introduces audience members to P.T. Barnum and his circus acts as he proclaims, “There is a sucker born ev’ry minute.”
Director Casey Dyksterhouse, the drama teacher at Scholars Academy and Scott Elementary School, has directed a spring play for three years. She picked t”Barnum” for several reasons.
She said, “One of my graduating seniors has been the program the longest and I wanted something for his grand finale and I knew he would be a great P.T. Barnum. Also, the musical is not super well known and not something a lot of other schools do. It has a lot of extra roles for different talents. This made it possible to include younger students, too.”
For this production, Hays Hankinson, a Scholars Academy senior, will portray the legendary 19th century circus entertainer.
Hankinson has been involved with the drama program since he was in the ninth grade. He had found himself being able to relate to P.T. Barnum.
“It’s fun to play a character so off the wall — like myself,” he said.
He also commented on how rewarding it is to see the musical come togethe, even with the stress for himself and the other students.
Hankinson’s favorite part of the show is the ending.
He said, “The ending monologue is where we get to see a different side of Barnum, a more serious side.”
Cast opposite of Hankinson is junior Michelle Whetsell, who will portray the part of Barnum’s wife, Charity Barnum.
She has enjoyed being able to make friends with students who are not in her grade.
“I think it’s awesome that everyone gets to participate. In school, we don’t see other grades, but here we are all together. I get to be friends with people who are in the seventh grade and other grades,” said Whetsell.
Her favorite part of the show is “The Brick Chase” scene.
She said, “In this scene, Barnum is trying to build a museum and clowns are running around everywhere. It’s a lot of fun.”
Whetsell has been part of the drama program since she was in the sixth grade when she received her first named role.
The musical will showcase the talents of more than 80 students, ranging from kindergarten to the 12th grade.
Dyksterhouse said, “It can be challenging at times, but rewarding in the end.”
Her favorite parts of the musical are the big dance numbers when everyone in the cast gets to participate.
Before the show begins Friday and Saturday, the audience will be able to get a full experience and feel the excitement of a real 1800s circus. A circus tent will be on the lawn for a pre-show event at 6:15 p.m.
Tickets can be purchased at the door before the performance at Scholars Academy or Jerger. Prices are $5 for students and $10 for adults.
Reporter Susanne Reynolds can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1826.