50 Stories for 50 Years is a yearlong series, written by Hannah Ratzer. Throughout the 2017-2018 school year we will be republishing stories from all 50 years of past publications. We hope to show off Kennedy’s rich history and success through this series. This 50 for 50 story is curated by guest writer Anna Reinhart.
Opening night is approaching for this year’s spring musical The Wedding Singer. At this time in 2006, the cast of Cats was preparing for their debut as well. As the first high school in Iowa to put on Cats, the cast was rushing to meet the deadline of May 27, their opening night. The Wedding Singer debuts on April 19 at 7 p.m..
Marc Hammes has been directing plays for a long time. But this year’s production of Cats is something different altogether.
Even two and half weeks before the production debuts on May 27, the drama department, which is becoming the first high school in the state to put on Cats, was receiving loads of attention.
According to Hammes, in the weeks prior to the performances, the cast was observed and interviewed by the Gazette and a Cedar Rapids Community School District videographer, which Hammes says never happens. In addition, he has been on interviews for KCCK radio and Z102.9 in Cedar Rapids.
He, along with the rest of the cast, has seen the difference that the attention makes. “All it’s done is make us get ready faster,” Hammes said.
Jordan Hobson, sr., who plays Mr. Mistoffolees, has seen the benefits of the publicity. “We’ve taken [the process] really seriously with how big of a production this is,” Hobson said.
And their hard work has been noticed. Carly Bossert, the Gazette reporter who observed a day of rehersal said that she was “impressed with the caliber of singing and acting and the set,” She also noticed the level of professionalism with the cast.
Despite all of the attention, Hammes knows that the cast is gearing up for the final week before the show will debut. “I look forward to seeing people’s reactions: audience, cast, crew, family, friends,” Hammes said.
In the mean time, the cast is working to show audiences what high school students are capable of producing. “We already have high expectations for ourselves,” Hammes said. “Now, it’s a matter of putting it together and performing to that potential.”
The Wedding Singer is in its home stretch of production. Be sure to catch the show April 19 at 7 p.m., April 20 at 7 p.m., and April 21 at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m.. Adult tickets are $10 and student tickets are $6.