CALVIN BERGER, Barry Wyner’s romantic musical comedy set in a contemporary high school, recently took the stage at the 2016 Texas Thespians State Festival in Dallas. The response from students and faculty was overwhelmingly effusive. The production, which was specially selected for inclusion at the Festival, premiered at Cooper High School in Abilene, Texas. Featuring Jonas Sims as Calvin, Nalani Abdullah as Rosanna, Cody Free as Matt, and Julia Hollingsworth as Bret, this CALVIN BERGER was one of just five shows selected to perform at the three-day event. Cooper High School Theatre Director Justin Radcliffe shared director billing with Cooper senior Griffin Jones. Below, Radcliffe discusses his experience in bringing the show to the state festival.
The Perfect Small-Cast Musical
Barry Wyner’s CALVIN BERGER is the perfect small cast musical for high school. With lovable, adorkable, unstoppable characters, Wyner has given us Cyrano de Bergerac for the iGeneration. Calvin, Matt, Bret, and Rosanna provide comical yet heartfelt insight into the oddities of our insecurities and how they hijack our relationship successes. The script provides great humor poking fun at a cleverly devised love triangle: Bret loves Calvin loves Rosanna loves Matt loves Rosanna.
The True Strength of the Show
Our students loved working on this show. Their love of the script always came back to the music. They responded so well to the variety of styles the show offered them to sing and this lead to some creative and fun choreography for dance minded students. The music reveals the true strength of the show.
The Most Rewarding Experience
Performing at Texas Thespians State Festival was the most rewarding experience for the cast and crew. CALVIN BERGER’s target audience is high school students, and at Festival we found a very receptive and appreciative audience for the laughs and sense of humor that Calvin and the gang portray.
Special thanks to Tams-Witmark for their generous support of Cooper Theatre. Our cast would also like to send a special shout-out to Barry Wyner for providing us with great memories of a terrific show!
Congratulations to Director Justin Radcliffe, Cooper High School, and the entire cast and crew of CALVIN BERGER!
Photos by Charles Caddell, courtesy of Abilene Independent School District