Two weekends, two shows at LHS: “All Together Now” November 12-13 and “Leading Ladies” November 19-20

By Chuck Gibson

LOVELAND, OH (November 8, 2021) – The curtain opens on a very special high school theater event on stage at the Loveland High School auditorium this Friday, November 12.

LHS Shows Producer Theresa Kovacs with the billboard for “All Togehter Now” and “Leading Ladies” coming up at LHS (Provided)

The Loveland High School Drama department will join more than 2,500 schools and theaters around the globe in performing the exclusive musical revue “All Together Now” with their opening performance Friday, at 7 p.m. Typically theater companies and even school drama departments must pay a rights fee for permission to perform a show. Not this time. Music Theater International (MTI) is providing the exclusive musical revue featuring music and songs from popular MTI shows completely free of charge. It is designed to be a fundraiser for local theaters and schools to perform over the same four day period from November 12-15.    

The free show from MTI –“All Together Now” was not even on the radar for LHS Drama director Shawn Miller until producer Theresa Kovacs mentioned it. On the heels of over a year of COVID challenges for all in the theater world, the MTI event offers support for thousands of theaters who have creatively persevered through the difficult challenges.

Miller thought it might be the right thing for the LHS kids.

“It just seemed like a fit with the what students we have,” said Miller. “Here’s 15 songs, here’s some production numbers. We have kids who love to sing, we have kids who love to dance here. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t do this.”

Not only is Miller and the LHS Drama kids doing the musical revue, they’ll perform the drama “Leading Ladies” the following weekend of November 19-20. Thus, two different  productions – a musical and a drama – on stage in back-to-back weekends at the high school.

“It’s ridiculous,” Miller said with a smile. “We wanted to make sure we had something there for our students who really love acting. There’s no dialogue in ‘All Together Now’. So we did ‘Leading Ladies.’ It’s been a lot of work.”

Some of the cast from “Leading Ladies” at a recent rehearsal (Courtesy Steve Kovacs)

Miller and the students have had some help. Producer Theresa Kovacs has helped, Aaron Marshall has helped out some. Math teacher and assistant director Hannah Dietz is really leading the way with the cast of “Leading Ladies”. 

“She’s more than assistant director, she’s directing,” said Miller. “She’s actually done the lion’s share of the work on ‘Leading Ladies’.”

This one is a team effort for which Miller is especially thankful because of the shows coming on consecutive weekends. It’s unusual because LHS usually does one show with performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Dietz says the small cast is “energetic, enthusiastic” and filled with a love and passion for playing characters. How does that translate for the audience?

Show Banner Graphic (Courtesy Kirk McCracken)

“I think they’re just gonna have a great time watching it,” said Dietz. “It’s hilarious, it’s a comedy and I think people are just going to smile the whole time they’re watching it. They’re going to remember how much fun and joy they had watching it.”

“Leading Ladies” is the second week with performances at 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday, November 19 & 20. It’s a story of two Shakespearean actors who plan to con a dying wealthy elderly woman into believing they are her two nephews to whom she plans to give her millions. They found out about her in the newspaper. 

Working on set construction for Leading Ladies at LHS (Courtesy Steve Kovacs)

“She hasn’t seen them for years and they figure, hey we’re actors, we can act like her nephews, get the money, and we’ll be good to go,” explained Miller. “Then they find out at the last moment, they misread the ad.”

It didn’t say nephews, it said nieces. Despite the error, the two decide to go on with their act believing they have the talent to pull it off. They end up feeling unexpected emotions toward people who don’t know them. Miller says it all plays out to be the hilarious comedy Dietz expects audiences to enjoy and remember.

“It’s just a fun mix-up of this and mix-up of that,” Miller said. “A nice thing about having a small cast is we can really work on creating characters, creating an identity for characters.”

Senior Amy Laufersweiler is one member of the small cast working on creating an identity for her character Aunt Florence in “Leading Ladies”. She’s the rich old lady on her death bed who the actors (Leo & Jack) are trying to steal money from by coming to her house posing as her nieces. That sets everything up for her role as they are just waiting for her to die. What stands out for her?

“It’s such a funny show,” said Laufersweiler. “I think Aidan and Miles (Leo & Jack) are doing such a great job. They are making this a really fun show. They are really getting into their characters since they have to switch from guys to the girls. That really makes the show something special.”

For Laufersweiler, the variety of characters brings to mind different stereotypical characters from old movies. They have the leading lady, the heroine, the comedic duo and she says her old lady role is an archetype of its own.

“There’s just a lot going on in the house,” Laufersweiler said. “There are so many different little plots. It’s unique because you get fun little stories you already know.”

Painting ther scene (Couresy Steve Kovacs)

Two shows, two casts, music, song, dance creating characters and a dramatic comedy, but it takes a lot more than the performers you see when the curtain opens and the stage lights up. Katelyn Naylor is a senior with a focus on stage direction; the set pieces, the lights, the sound and all the things which set the scene for the performers. She has been crew for all the shows throughout her four  year high school career at LHS. This production of “All Together Now” is different than shows she’s been part of in the past.

Another look backstage during preparation for LHS’ productions of “All Together Now”and “Leading Ladies” shows November 12-13 and November 19-20 (Courtesy Steve Kovacs)

“All Together Now’ is a bit of a different show because it is a concert style instead of a traditional musical,” said Naylor. The set is actually designed for “Leading Ladies” with just risers for the “All Together Now” “There’s not a ton to do for stage crew. We just have to make sure everything runs smoothly. There’s a bit more to do for ‘Leading Ladies’ because it is more of a traditional show.”

They’ve constructed an entire set including 12 foot walls, stairs, and doors. Naylor says they have “really fast costume changes” which must be accomplished backstage. As stage manager, Naylor has responsibility for the organization of  the crew of about 10 students.

“I’m really just the organization help, figuring out what other people are doing, making sure everyone has a job,” Naylor explained. “I work together with all the different departments, lights and sound and on stage; sort of backstage coordination.”

The shows begin this Friday when the curtain opens on the musical revue “All Together Now” at 7 p.m. They’ll do it again Saturday, November 13, at 7 p.m.

“It’s just going to be fun,” said Miller. “Altogether Now” is just fun. It’s all the favorites; the favorite songs you remember from musicals and just love. Tomorrow from ‘Annie’, and not just “Tomorrow” from “Annie” but sung by four amazing young ladies. We are just chock full of great songs, powerful kids. It’s going to be fun.”  

LOVELAND HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA PRESENTS:

“All Together Now!” on Nov. 12 and 13

“Leading Ladies”  on Nov. 19 and 20

The Curtain rises for all shows at 7:00 pm. 

Tickets are available now at the drama web site as always (Box Office | lhsdrama (wixsite.com)  ) $12.50 adults and $10.50 students and seniors.  Tickets will also be available at the door.