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Tuesday, 14 February 2017 08:51

Christ the King brings ‘lost’ musical to the stage

Written by  Staff
Libby White (left) and Allison Williams are among the cast of Smile to be performed by the Christ The King High School Players. Libby White (left) and Allison Williams are among the cast of Smile to be performed by the Christ The King High School Players. Courtesy Christ The King High School

HUNTERSVILLE, N.C. — Student performers at Christ the King Catholic School are bringing a lost Broadway classic from nearly 30 years ago back to the stage as the school’s theatrical department presents its first musical.

Smile, a collaboration by Oscar-winning legends Marvin Hamlisch and Howard Ashman, will be presented by the Christ the King cast in early March. Performance dates are Friday and Saturday, March 10 and 11, at the Knox Theater inside the Charles Mack Citizen Center on Main Street in downtown Mooresville. Show times are 7:30 each evening, with a matinee performance Saturday at 2 p.m. Tickets are available on the Christ the King website’s school store under the “Fine Arts” button.

The musical tells the story of California’s Young American Miss Beauty Pageant of 1985. The production’s premiere on Broadway in 1988 was quickly eclipsed by the ballyhooed opening of Les Miserables, which effectively killed this musical theater gem, but Christ the King organizers view the musical as highly underrated and underperformed.

Smile, according to those involved in the production, is admittedly dated — one song in the production references Gerry Ferraro, President Reagan, and Gorbachev — but still captures an authentic youthful energy that exists in today’s teenagers and probes the struggles young people face in learning how to be themselves and disregard glitz and glamour.

In the play, the “girl-next-door” protagonist experiences the process of growing up by simply realizing that she does not want to be a Young American Miss, but having tried for it, looks forward to figuring out what she will be.

The interactions between teenage contestants — bonding, jealousy, gossip and consoling — are all presented realistically and comically. As part of the preparations for the production, the students are also experiencing the hairstyles, fashions and overall vibe of the 1980s setting.

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