Young talent playing big roles in school musical


Taylor Johnson

Junior Jackson Bieger calls out one of his fellow cast members during rehearsal. Bieger is one of 23 newcomers to Bearden’s musical theater program this year.

Cameron Scott, Staff Writer

The Bearden musical theater class always produces outstanding musicals, but traditionally, the success of the show comes as a result of experience. This year, however, more than half the students are new to the musical theater program.

According to director Mrs. Leann Dickson, 80 students auditioned for the class. Out of the 36 who made the cut, 23 are entirely new to the program and will make their BHS musical theater debut on Nov. 13 for the first performance of Footloose.

“The challenge of a less experienced class is that it might take a little longer to get the harmonies or learn the choreography,” Mrs. Dickson said. “[But] this particular group is very eager to do well, and they are self disciplined for such a ‘young’ group.”

Of the 23 new students, a few of them have significant roles, including juniors Jackson Bieger and Rachel Van Doren.

Van Doren will portray Lulu Warnicker, aunt to main character Ren McCormack (Brady Moldrup). This is her first musical performance at Bearden, but she has participated in various community theatre musicals and plays.

“Mrs. Dickson is an incredible director and choreographer, and (vocal director) Casey (Maxwell) is an outstanding musical director,” Van Doren said. “Everyone works so well together as a team, making this show such a joy to be a part of.”

Footloose is about a young man named Ren, who has to leave his home in Chicago to live with his aunt in Beaumont. Immediately, he finds himself at odds with the repressive atmosphere and local minister Reverend Shaw Moore, who will be played by Bieger.

“Shaw is a fun character to play, since the way he does things is so different to me,” Bieger said. “He’s very strict and uptight, like a button-ups and suit jackets to every occasion kind of guy.

“But he’s also damaged, which makes creating Shaw a really interesting experience, since I have to look deep and create so many specific character traits. He’s a complicated character, so it’s a tough role to play for my first musical theater outing.”

Bieger has not had any musical theater training outside of theater classes offered at Bearden, and he describes it as “incredibly daunting” to be surrounded by experienced students.

“I mean, I sang in the car when no one was with me, but that was the extent of my musical training,” Bieger said.

Both students have thoroughly enjoyed their experience thus far and have described it as a “great way to end the day.”