Westerville News & Public Opinion

South students excited to take on 'Gatsby'

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LORRIE CECIL/THISWEEKNEWS
Principal cast members for Westerville South's production of The Great Gatsby rehearse a scene for the play to be presented Feb. 6, 8-9. From left are (row 1)-senior Curtis Mitchell as Tom Buchanan, senior Carlie Freeman as Myrtle Wilson, senior Jacob Williams as George Wilson, senior Sophia Rodriguez as Jordan Baker, sophomore Nic Hayman as Nick Carraway, senior J.J. Pierre as Meyer Wolfsheim, senior Caitlin Cahoon as Daisy Buchanan, and senior Tristan Freshly as Jay Gatsby; (row 2)-senior Halima Ali as Ms. Michealis, senior Gabe Gaudoin-Perry as The Cop, senior Jackson Bandy as Chester McKee, and senior Beoline Uwampamo as Mrs. McKee.
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Westerville South High School theater students will transport audiences back to the Roaring '20s next weekend, with dance troupes, a jazz band, elaborate costumes and a famed story of money and love.

The Great Gatsby will be performed at 7 p.m. Thursday and Saturday, Feb. 6 and 8, and at 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 9 in the auditorium at the school, 303 S. Otterbein Ave.

General admission tickets will be $6 and will be sold at the door.

To capture the glitz and glamour of the tale, Director Matt Wolfe has borrowed 1920s-era costumes from Otterbein University and recruited a 10-person dance troupe to perform period dances, and members of Westerville South's jazz band will be on stage throughout the show.

A large stage crew will add effects that showcase author F. Scott Fitzgerald's elaborate symbolism.

"It does feel rich and elegant," Wolfe said of the production.

The show has generated a lot of buzz at the school, Wolfe said, as students generally enjoy reading The Great Gatsby as part of their language-arts classes.

"What I didn't count on was when I announced it ... the students that hadn't gotten to the book yet went out and read it," Wolfe said. "I started getting text message and messages over our Facebook page about approaching the characters. They were starting to analyze the text even before we started the rehearsals.

"That ended up being an exciting part of it for me."

The show also is exciting, Wolfe said, because it features a senior-heavy cast, and many of the actors are students who excelled in other extracurricular activities at South and have just now decided to try their hands at acting.

Their hard work has set a good example for younger students, Wolfe said.

"They've just worked really hard," he said. "It's really a system where (underclassmen) are looking up to these actors."

With the popularity of the 2013 movie version of The Great Gatsby featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, there has been a lot of excitement for South's performance of the piece, Wolfe said, and he said he hopes that will translate to big audiences next weekend.

"The response has been great, so we hope people put their money where their mouths are and come and sit and see the show," he said.

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