BHS musical theatre alumni playing integral role in ‘Footloose’ production

Zoe Evans, Staff Writer

Taylor Kelly returns to his old high school every week day for five hours, and he’s often joined by a few of his old classmates.

Kelly, Conner Harville, and Carin Lagerberg – all BHS alums – are helping Mrs. Leann Dickson and the Bearden musical theatre department with the production of Footloose.

“This is my first year interning here,” Kelly said. “I just graduated in May from Covenant College in Chattanooga, Tenn., and was hired by Mrs. Dickson over the summer to come in and intern under her this semester with both the Stage Tech and Musical Theatre classes.”

Harville helped with a leadership workshop for the class in the beginning of the semester, and he is also assisting in a possible surprise aspect of the production.

“I hope to one day be able to give back to the theatre department the way others have done for me when I was there,” Harville said.

Lagerberg assisted with auditions the first week of class. Kelly helps with anything and everything he can. He has had the opportunity to choreograph, block scenes, build sets, help with costumes, and aid in vocal numbers.

“I hope to do anything and everything I can to further the vision and legacy that Mrs. Dickson has created in the BHS Theatre department over the years,” Kelly said. “I studied a combination of theatre and music in college, so I am hoping to bring whatever fresh insight I can in those areas.”

For all of the alumni, being at Bearden brought back memories.

“Being in the musical theatre and stage tech classes was my favorite experience in high school by far,” Lagerberg said. “Not only did I learn so much about theatre, but I learned about myself as a person and learned life skills that I was able to take with me to college.”

For Harville, returning to Bearden means reminiscing about the Big River production with Kelly and Lagerberg and working with Mrs. Dickson again.

“[Mrs. Dickson] is one of the biggest inspirations in my life,” Harville said. “She ignited my creative desire even further.

“She is willing to bounce ideas off of me and visa versa. It is great getting to work in a more colleague-like setting now.”

Kelly and Lagerberg both appreciate working with Mrs. Dickson just as much.

“To say I have enjoyed working with Mrs. Dickson would be a huge understatement,” Kelly said. “There are few people in this world that I respect as much as Mrs. Dickson.

“She was such a source of encouragement and wisdom for me while I was a student at Bearden, but I had no idea that I would have the privilege of working under her four years after graduating from BHS.”

Kelly’s favorite memory of the semester so far was on the first auditions day, when everyone was extremely stressed. They played “Happy” by Pharrell Williams and had a spontaneous dance party to lighten up.

He also enjoys seeing the talent in the students every day.

Footloose is going really well,” Kelly said. “I cannot speak highly enough about this cast and crew.”