Sisters Makenna O’Dell, Abby Norman, Erin Gordon and Alison Cobb, from left, kick up their heels for the “Challenge Dance.” (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Sisters Makenna O’Dell, Abby Norman, Erin Gordon and Alison Cobb, from left, kick up their heels for the “Challenge Dance.” (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Operetta ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ opens Sequim Irrigation Festival weekend

By Matthew Nash

Olympic Peninsula News Group

SEQUIM — Whether fistfights or frolicking love stories are your thing, the Sequim High School Operetta Club has you covered for its 51st production.

“Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” starts tonight in conjunction with the first weekend of the Sequim Irrigation Festival and runs through May 20 in the high school auditorium, 533 N. Sequim Ave.

All opening night seats are $10 for the 7 p.m. show.

Tickets are $10 to $18 for reserved seats except the balcony, for the remainder of the performances: 1 p.m. Saturday; 6 p.m. Thursday, May 11 and May 18; and 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday May 12-13 and May 19-20.

To reserve a seat, visit www.shsoperetta.org. Tickets also are available at the door.

The Sequim Irrigation Festival begins today with Crazy Callen Weekend and continues through a second weekend, culminating in a Grand Parade on Saturday, May 13.

In the play, which is based on the film by Stanley Donen and book by Lawrence Kasha and David Landay, Sequim High senior Silas Baird takes the lead as grizzled woodsman Adam Pontipee living in rural Oregon in the 1850s.

There, he quickly courts and marries Milly Bradon, played by Victoria Hall. Their honeymoon is cut short when she realizes Adam’s six tactless brothers are part of the marriage agreement.

Milly prompts the brothers to shape up, but at a barn dance, the brothers find their own significant others and later decide to take the girls for their own at their eldest brother’s insistence. However, an avalanche strands the brothers and sisters, and Milly takes charge to teach the brothers that women can do more than just cook and clean.

Sequim’s version of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” is based on the 2007 revival, which features new songs and dialogue.

Hall, who has six brothers of her own, said that since the Operetta Club first performed the play in 2007, she has wanted to play Milly, who is written to be an entirely different character now.

“She seems more powerful and like she’s not going to put up with anything,” Hall said.

In the revival, Milly’s song “One Man” was replaced with “I Married Seven Brothers,” which Hall said is more confident and upbeat and shows that Milly embraces her new life.

Director Robin Hall, who served as music director for Sequim’s 2007 production, said the show blends well together and the actors portraying the brothers and sisters all have great chemistry that’s believable.

“We have 14 leads in this and everyone gets their chance to shine,” Victoria Hall said.

Baird stars in his first full production for Sequim High after acting in Ghostlight Productions’ “Titanic: The Musical” last summer in Port Angeles.

“It sparked my joy for theater,” he said.

“I’ve been asked by a lot of people to audition for this show, so I figured I’d audition and see what happens.”

Baird, with a strong bass voice, joins several talented performers, including Victoria Hall and Colleen Carpenter, who performed at the Honors Performance Festival at New York’s Carnegie Hall in February with Baird.

John Lorentzen serves once again as music director.

For the dance-heavy production, Robin Hall tasked junior Abby Norman to choreograph the production again and play one of the sisters, Dorcas. Norman was nominated by the 5th Avenue Awards program, a high school musical theater competition, last year for “Outstanding Choreography” for “Cinderella.”

“I’m proud of Abby and all the hours she’s put into this,” Robin Hall said.

“It’s a dancing show and she’s spent hours teaching these kids who don’t know how to dance how to dance.”

Most of the actors, Robin Hall said, gain their only dance experience in Sequim’s productions.

Norman said their first rehearsals focused on ballet basics from positioning to keeping balance before segueing into breakdowns for each step.

“[The play] is physical,” Robin Hall said. “It’s fun. It’s a little dangerous. Theater is dangerous, though. It’s doing dance in the dark.”

Norman and fellow stage sister Alison Cobb, playing Sarah, are pulling double duty for the show as princesses for the Irrigation Festival’s royalty court.

Victoria Hall served as queen last year and told Norman it’s not worth stressing about, especially on the busiest day, May 13, with the Grand Parade, Logging Show and more.

“Stressing will make it a thousand times worse,” Victoria Hall said.

“By 2 p.m. [last year], we were done. I was soaking wet from the logging show, but we had some time to chill out [before ‘Cinderella’]. I thought that Saturday was going to be chaos, but it wasn’t. Just take that day and enjoy. It’s your day.”

The remainder of the cast features Chris Heintz, Joe Benjamin, Seth Mitchell, Thomas Hughes, Tommy Hall, Joey Oliver, Erin Gordon, Melissa Mooney, Makenna O’Dell, Jonathan Heintz, Ryan Chen, Anthony Cortani, Caleb DeMott, Henry Hughes, Hayden Williams, Audrey Hughes, Katie Potter, Damien Cundiff, Ava Fuller, Kariya Johnson, Danica Chen, Julia Jack, Maggie VanDyken, Eden Johnson, Lili Mitchell, Payton Sturm, Genevieve King, Ben Mitchell, Erin Rosengren, Isabella Fazio and Emily Bundy.

For more information on “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” call Sequim High at 360-582-3600 or visit www.shsoperetta.org.

________

Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at mnash@sequimgazette.com.

Brothers Daniel (Seth Mitchell) and Ephraim (Thomas Hughes) match up with Liza (Melissa Mooney) and Martha (Erin Gordon) thanks to Milly Bradon’s efforts (Victoria Hall, center). (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Brothers Daniel (Seth Mitchell) and Ephraim (Thomas Hughes) match up with Liza (Melissa Mooney) and Martha (Erin Gordon) thanks to Milly Bradon’s efforts (Victoria Hall, center). (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

The brothers and sisters of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” feature, from left, Silas Baird, Victoria Hall, Abby Norman, Christopher Heintz, Colleen Carpenter, Joe Benjamin, Melissa Mooney, Seth Mitchell, Erin Gordon, Thomas Hughes, Alison Cobb, Tommy Hall, Makenna O’Dell and Joey Oliver. The show runs May 5-20 in Sequim High School’s auditorium. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

The brothers and sisters of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” feature, from left, Silas Baird, Victoria Hall, Abby Norman, Christopher Heintz, Colleen Carpenter, Joe Benjamin, Melissa Mooney, Seth Mitchell, Erin Gordon, Thomas Hughes, Alison Cobb, Tommy Hall, Makenna O’Dell and Joey Oliver. The show runs May 5-20 in Sequim High School’s auditorium. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Brothers Caleb (Joe Benjamin), Frank (Tommy Hall), Daniel (Seth Mitchell), Adam (Silas Baird), Gideon (Joey Oliver), Ephraim (Thomas Hughes) and Benjamin (Christopher Heintz), from left, have a man-to-man-to-man talk in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Brothers Caleb (Joe Benjamin), Frank (Tommy Hall), Daniel (Seth Mitchell), Adam (Silas Baird), Gideon (Joey Oliver), Ephraim (Thomas Hughes) and Benjamin (Christopher Heintz), from left, have a man-to-man-to-man talk in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

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