If Tri-City theatre companies and dance schools want to see the fruits of their labour on a high school stage this month, they’d best look to Heritage Woods.
That’s because many musical theatre students at the Port Moody secondary are either current or former students of such respected institutions as the Lindbjerg Academy of Performing Arts and Caulfield School of Dance and have credits that include Theatre Under the Stars, Vancouver Opera, Gateway Theatre, Align Entertainment and Footlight Theatre — to name a few. “They’re talent is remarkable,” Heritage co-director Zelda Coertze said of her cast.
Take, for example, Tiana Jung who will portray the sister, Wednesday, in school’s presentation of The Addams Family. Jung has been provincially recognized for her vocal talents and hopes to get into NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts after graduating in June.
Then there’s Jillian Perkins, a Grade 10 student playing Morticia who is currently performing in Align’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the Michael J. Fox Theatre.
Mercedes Leyh, Grade 11, is also a Lindbjerg, Align and Footlight fellow and, along with Coertze and Marlo de Vaal, helped to choreograph the steps for Addams.
As for the boys, Trevor Walls — aka Gomez — has been on the theatre scene since the age of three and helps with kids’ arts camps at the Evergreen Cultural Centre. The Grade 10 student wants to get in the California Institute of the Arts.
Tiana’s brother, Marcus, who also plays her brother in Addams, Pugsley, studies hip hop at Caulfield and voice with Elaine Lindbjerg while Michael Gladkey is a Heritage stage veteran with Little Mermaid (King Triton), The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Mitch Mahoney) Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (ensemble) and Throughly Modern Millie (ensemble). In Addams, he’s Mal Beineke.
The only rookie cast member playing a lead is Braden Callander-McLeannan, who takes on the part of the straight-laced Lucas Beineke, Wednesday’s boyfriend.
“I heard about the musical theatre class from a friend,” the Grade 10 student said, “and I was really bored at the time. It’s really helped me grow as a person.”
In total, 48 students in grades 9 to 12 are involved in the show. Coertze said Addams was picked because its ensemble roles are just as strong as the leads.
“There’s a lot of really juicy action for everyone,” said Coertze, who is co-directing a Heritage show for the first time as a full-time teacher within the school district (Addams is also co-directed and co-produced by Shanda Walters).
The theme of Addams attracted the students, she said. “There is a lot of darkness and fear of embracing the unknown: Wednesday is scared of love, Mr. and Mrs. Beineke are scared of Gomez and Morticia’s ways and they are scared of losing Wednesday. I think many families can relate on different levels to this.”
• The Addams Family runs Feb. 26 and 27 and March 3, 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. at Heritage Woods secondary (1300 David Ave., Port Moody). Musical direction is by Hayley Perkins. Tickets are $12/$10 at the door. Call 604-461-8679.
Heritage Woods secondary is offering a pair of complimentary tickets to The Addams Family. Email email@example.com by Monday, Feb. 22 to enter.