Back to the 80’s: The Totally Awesome Musical
by Vista Murrieta High School
Remember when actors became American Presidents? When
flipped up collars on polo shirts, members only jackets and blue eye shadow were
cool? When Atari was cutting edge technology?
BACK TO THE 80's
is a totally awesome musical that tells the story of the senior class of William
Ocean High School that graduated in the 1980's, as remembered and seen through
the eyes of now 30-something Corey Palmer. With the help of some of the most
popular 80's songs ever written, we follow Corey through the year as he
navigates the intricacies of high school life and love, culminating with an
absolutely radical prom night. BACK TO THE 80's is a wondrous
avalanche of nostalgia and fun for all.
Starring as Corey Jr.,
Kasey Albayati perfectly captured all
of the angst-ridden teen troubles of a semi-popular guy in love with the most
desirable girl in school. His vocals
were excellent, especially on “I’m Gonna Be” and “Total Eclipse of the
Heart”. His very energetic best
friends, Alf (Danica Ramirez) and Kirk (Chasen
Sipowicz), found their team spirit and made great buddies for Corey.
Brooke West, as the
ever-popular, pretty cheerleader Tiffany,
did a lovely job of capturing the character’s sweetness and vulnerability.
She had a nice voice with a particularly strong performance on the lead
vocal in “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”. Colin
Acda did a great job of portraying the school’s most popular guy, Michael.
His performances on “Footloose” and “Get Out of My Dreams” were
both outstanding. He was backed up
by his posse of other jocks – Billy
(Mitch Palmer), Lionel (Justin Dittamo)
and Huey (Jeffrey Lawless). All
three of them did a wonderful job of not only backing up their leader, but
taking their individual shining moments and making the most of them.
Sarah Casillas nailed the part
of the conniving and greedy Cyndi. Her strong voice
had a chance to really show itself in “Material Girl”.
Evan James O’Keefe
did an excellent job of finding his inner nerd and letting him out in the role
of Feargal McFerrin III.
His stylized, character-driven vocal on “Video Killed The Radio Star”
nearly brought the house down. As
the new girl, Eileen, Emily Goedken
deftly portrayed the shy and reserved girl who is struggling to find her way in
a new environment. Her new friends, Debbie
(Rebecca Peeler) and Laura (Arelybel
Iniguez), embraced her quickly and soon all three of them were doing a
fabulous vocal rendition of “Let’s Hear It For The Boy”.
Corey Sr, superbly portrayed by Mr. Cory Finch, served as the narrator and anchor for the story, as
well as reminding all of us of the heartache of being turned down in “You Give
Love A Bad Name”. Mr. Mick Wager did a fantastic job of playing the love-struck, moral
His vocals on “Man in the Mirror” and “Centerfold” were excellent
and well delivered. Mrs.
Lisa Wager did marvelous work as the teacher with a past, Miss
Brannigan. Her beautiful voice
was especially pleasant to experience during “Total Eclipse of the Heart”
and “Man In The Mirror”. Kudos
to the rest of the cast for showing their exuberance and support throughout the
show, with a particularly hilarious Star
Wars dream sequence being one of the highlights.
As the director, Cory
Finch did a wonderful job bringing this little-known show to the audience
and helping each of the actors find their inner 80’s high school self.
Brian Smith did great work
bringing the songs to life and putting together the rockin’ live band.
Mr. Finch’s set design was positively outstanding – from the
giant, light-up Rubik’s Cube to the versatility of all of the pieces.
The stage management team and crew deserve a shout out for maintaining
the flow of the show, as well as, the seamless scene changes.
Much praise is due to the cast, crew, staff and supporters of the Vista
Murrieta High School drama department for bringing us BACK
TO THE 80’s at William Ocean High.
Performed February 12 - 22, 2014
~ Cast ~Add Artist Page
Corey Jr: Kasey Albayati
Alf: Dannica Ramirez
Kirk: Chasen Sipowicz
Michael: Colin Acda
Billy: Mitch Palmer
Lionel: Justin Dittamo
Huey: Jeffrey Lawless
Tiffany: Anjelica Torres / Brooke West
Cyndi: Ashlyn O'Brien / Sarah Casillas
Mel: Annie Kopack
Kim: Brittany Hughes
Feargal McFerrin III: Evan James O'Keefe
Debbie: Rebecca Peeler
Laura: Arelybel Iniguez
Eileen: Raquel Deporto/Katie Goedken
Mr. Cocker: Mr. Mick Wager
Miss Brannigan: Mrs. Lisa Wager
Corey Sr: Mr. Cory Finch
Producer/Director: Cory Finch*
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