The Pajama Game, 1990
In 1990 a heart warming musical, The Pajama Game, was selected to entertain the Friendswood musical supporters. Our friend Jo Boyd had always wanted us to do this show, but the right students did not come along until ’90. Following the ’89 auditions for The Music Man, the directors made the decision that only students that had appeared in a previous FHS musical or senior new to the district could audition for a lead.
Show Boat, 1991
In 1991 the talent was there and we decided to repeat the ’81 Show Boat production. The school board had approved the replacement of the 20-year old lighting system and the computerized controls were moved to the back of the auditorium. The maintenance crew built a tech booth over the Christmas holidays for the lighting equipment as well as the sound equipment which was being moved to the back. For the firsts time the light crew was able to see the stage without leaving the controls. The show was a great success and the new lighting system allowed for special effect we had never been able to do before.
For the first time since the very early years, a choreographer was brought in for the show. Isbell Brandt, a former cast member, came in when Sondra Shaaf was unable to do the choreography due to health reasons. The show was dedicated to Bennie Nipper who announced her retirement after 13 years of dedicated service to the young people of Friendswood. She touched many lives during that time and we are all better off for having had the privilege of knowing and working with her. The influence she had on the Friendswood High School musicals will be felt for many years.
Annie Get Your Gun, 1992
In 1992, we started anew with a crowd-pleasing show, a repeat of the ’78 show, Annie Get Your Gun. Kathy Powdrell, Laurie Belcher and Bob MacWilliams joined the directing staff and brought with them many years of experience. The Ed Harris family added a scholarship in memory of their beloved wife and mother, Gailya Harris. The Ray Trusty family added two scholarships one for the Best Supporting Actor and one for the Best Supporting Actress. Mike Hughes would be the first recipient of the Harris scholarship and Danny Seckle and Angie Rodgers were the first recipients of the Trusty Scholarship.
In 1993 we knew we had the right soprano in Cristina Quevedo and the right baritone in Andy Andrews. Oklahoma! was the perfect choice. This would be the second time that we performed Oklahoma!, with the first in 1974. The same creative team from Annie Get Your Gun produced a lively production with athletic choreography. So athletic that we had a “life flight” scare when a student tried to do a backward flip on his break. He was back at rehearsal the day. Judd’s shed provided for some interesting props and the picnic scene filled the stage with beautiful baskets. NO one expected to see a real Surrey with Fringe roll on to the stage during the wedding scene.
The Sound of Music, 1994
We would produce The Sound of Music in 1994 for the third time in our legacy of 25 shows. Dr. Kennedy’s favorite female role had always been the iconic role of Maria. She gave the production team clear guidelines and it would be Cristina Quevedo who would win the role. The Abbey came to life in the voices of Stephanie Schmutz, Tanya Santilli, Courtney Wissinger and Brittany Goldsmith. Young Sara Kabell and Richie Ramsey played the young love interest of Liesl and Friedrich. Trey Welch played Captain Von Trapp and the children once again came from Westwood and Cline Elementary schools. This would be the last time we used Dr. Kennedy’s chicken wire mountain that would hang above the stage. Powdrell built three rolling stained glass windows. There were still long interludes of music by the Pit Band as we changed the large sets. But by the time we got to “So Long, Farewell” the audience was completed absorbed in the Van Trapp Family’s fate.
South Pacific, 1995
In 1995 South Pacific sailed once again at FHS. The second time we produced this show. The production team welcomed a new choreographer, Susan Boldman. This production was important because it would mark the last time that would ever paint a backdrop on the back wall. We were thrilled to have Travis Watson play the difficult vocal role of Emile de Becque. Travis came with a bonus that we never expected. The backdrop of Bali Hi was painted by Travis Watson’s mother, who happened to be mural artist. This backdrop would remain on the back wall for 20 years! Sara Kabell washed her hair on stage with real water, and standout performances came from Stephanie Schmutz, Jack Ross, Kenny Black and Richie Ramsey, who played Lt. Cable, U.S.M.C. We kept Captain Bubbie’s in Galveston very busy that year putting the costumes together. Once again the set dads under the guidance of Mr. Huffman delivered a beautiful set. But Dr. Kennedy had a surprise, when a vintage WWII Army jeep drove onto the stage. We even had a small boat that is still in our storage as of 2017.
Fiddler on the Roof, 1996
Fiddler on the Roof – a new TRADITION at FHS. In 1996 the Production Team mounted one of the most beautiful stories in American Musical Theatre. From the prologue – Kevin Held brought to the role of Tevye to our patrons explaining that there is a balance in the villagers’ life. The team of Brooke Beauchamp and Kevin Held partnered to share this amazing story about life, home, miracles and matchmaking. The audience fell in love with the daughters who were played by Gina Quevedo, Brittany Goldsmith and Wendy Ward. John Ramsey would play Lazar the Wolf and Gavin Everett played Motel. The bottle dance was amazing with Justin Weatherall, Ben bowman, Indy Wijay. Each night, Sara Trevino climbed up a 12 foot rolling stage ladder with a 13-foot length dress and Wild Fire scene paint and lighting brought the nightmare scene to life. But it would be Quyen Le’s soulful playing of The Fiddler that closed the show as a celebration of life. Jonathan Middents, set designer for the University of Houston, the Houston Shakespeare festival and parent of Alice Middents inspiration brought the idea of using the artwork of Chagal as inspiration for our set. AND then there was that one night when: John Middents, Ed Weatherall and many other set dads were working on the revolving three faced home of Tevye – that as they worked it kept inching down stage to towards the apron. Luckily there was a work table downstage just above the Baby Grand Piano because as Kathy Powdrell stood in the house checking the set it slowly began to fall and eventually completely fell over crushing the table. The Baby Grand, however, was untouched. That was a night. Then it would be 12 weeks later when we realized the bottles (filled with sand for balance) were infested with crickets and there were some screaming UIL One Act Play students running out with the bottles onto the porch. What a show!
My Fair Lady, 1997
Our first outing with My Fair Lady. Brooke Beauchamp played the iconic Liza Doolittle against Kevin Held’s Higgins and John Ramsey’s Col. Pickering. This marked the first year that we began to venture out in to scenic drop rentals. A new choreographer joined our team and Rebecca Fischer provided a lively market scene full of flowers, Button Dancers and dance crates. The actors under Kathy Powdrell’s quidance mastered the various Brittish accents. The Ascot scene was beautiful. That year parent Steve Ramsey molded and constructed an authentic dictaphone (that we still have in the prop closet.) Most importantly the two sided split stair case entered our scenic world and would be used for many years to come.
The Music Man, 1998
This would be fourth production that we mounted of The Music Man. John Ramsey led the cast with very little trouble, complete with a Russian Split at center stage. We continued to rent scenic drops. The dads were amazing, Mr. Weatherall, Mr. Middents, Mr. Huffman, Mr. Ramsey continued to build amazing sets. The Train entered our life that year. We had a new choreographer that year, Rachel Wallace. We built bleachers to accommodate the town hall meeting. Young Paul Panzarella played Winthrop Parool. With the help of Westwood Elementary and Cline Elementary we had a wonderful “children’s” Band.
Crazy for You, 1999
Our creative team is always thinking ahead. In 1998 we were feeling adventurous and decided to take the leap and bring Crazy for You to the FHS stage in 1999. Billed as a “new” Gershwin Musical for the directors it was love at first sight. Crazy for You tells the 1930’s story of a New York banker Bobby Child who is sent to Deadrock, Nevada to foreclose a rundown theatre. However he falls in love with Polly Baker the theatre owner’s daughter. This was not only a departure for this creative team but Dr. Kennedy decide to break from her tradition of never announcing the TITLE of the Musical until just before auditions. She did not want the students to campaign for roles. However, there was extensive tapping in this show especially by the character Bobby. Jared Bourgeois practiced all summer on his tapping and won the role. This year the black vintage 1930’s limo was built by our wonderful dads complete with window dressings provided by the moms. Our prop parents built 25 1930 wooden phones and we had 25 female dancers all enter stage thru the limo. Amber Human played the Nevada owner of the theatre. However the mirror/dance between Bobby Kessling and Jared Bourgeois stole the show complete with break-away bottles.