Stratford Playhouse Presents 'Me & My Girl'
Set in the late 1930s, the musical tells the story of an unapologetically, unrefined cockney gentleman named Bill Snibson, played by senior Matthew Hopper, who learns that he is the 14th Earl of Hareford. Nonstop tomfoolery unfolds as Bill attempts to prove himself worthy of his inheritance. As he and his fishmonger girlfriend Sally, played by sophomore Lauren Dodds, wrangle for his aristocratic family’s approval, every attempt to groom Bill for nobility results in riotous chaos. This toe-tapping, Tony award-winning musical is a true blockbuster and a fantastic show for the whole family!
The production process has not been short nor easy. Students auditioned in May of 2016 and spent a portion of their summer break in rehearsals and dance classes. Rehearsals were put on hold when school started and began again once Avenue Q: School Edition closed in October. Since then, the cast and crew have been working tirelessly to craft a performance both strong and captivating.
The result of such hard work has been more than a stellar performance; it has changed the actors for the better.
“It has been one of the hardest things I've had to do, yet still one of the most fun. I've had to learn how to whistle, how to manipulate a hat, a bunch of songs and dances, a cockney accent, and how to stay fresh and energetic with everything I've had to practice a thousand times,” said Hopper, adding, “My biggest hope is that I can make people laugh. If I can do that, it'll all be worth it.”
Junior Addi Barrett spent her freshman and sophomore years in the ensemble of the musicals. Now, she is stepping up and taking on the role of the status-seeking, gold-digging Lady Jacqueline. “I can honestly say that as someone who has been involved in vocal performance and musical theater since a very young age, Lady Jacqueline is one of the hardest roles I've ever taken on. Her physicality is unique to a very specific time period and part of British upper-class culture, and the stamina required to portray such a commanding character did amaze me,” Barrett disclosed.
“Doing this show has truly been amazing. I feel like I've grown so much as an actress and dancer. This role has been challenging to get into, because on top of being in love and really telling the story, I have to do it with an accent!” Dodds explained. “But having all of my friends there and working with Matt, who is awesome, has made the workload so much more fun and has made the show much easier to get into.”
“This show is overflowing with comedy and drama to offer everyone, and I hope the audience loves it as much as I do. Being a part of a classic musical with such specific style like this one, has, I think, brought out full commitment in all of us,” Barrett noted. “At heart, Me and My Girl is simply a story of class distinction dissolving to reveal that we're all just people trying to get along, and I'm ecstatic to get to be involved.”
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