STERLING — The names Ruby Keeler, Dick Powell, and Joan Blondell don’t mean anything to today’s high school students – maybe not to their parents either, for that matter. But the 15 students in the Sterling High School Theatre’s fall musical production “Dames At Sea” are learning a lot about those at one-time famous movie stars and many other things about 1930s Hollywood movie musicals. The show is a loving valentine to 1930s movie musicals and will be staged at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, Nov. 11-14 in the school’s theater.
“Dames at Sea” is a fun and frivolous musical send-up of movie musicals like 42nd Street where an understudy must step in to fill the shoes of an incapacitated lead and become the star of the show. With a good measure of the “let’s put on a show” exuberance from the films of Judy Garland and Mickey Rooney and a large dose of the elaborate musical numbers from the Busby Berkeley movie musical extravaganzas, “Dames at Sea” manages with to provide plenty of fun and high energy musical moments to the well-known story.
The show has music by Jim Wise and book and lyrics by George Haimsohn and Robin Miller. It was originally produced in New York off-Broadway in 1968 and propelled a young Bernadette Peters to stardom. The show had its Broadway debut only six years ago.
“Dames at Sea” tells the story of Ruby, played by junior Karissa Wilson, just off the bus from Utah with dreams of becoming a star on Broadway. Dick, who happens to be a sailor who aspires to become a big-time songwriter, is played by senior Josiah Watney. Their chance meeting kicks off a whirlwind day in which Ruby goes from chorus girl to budding star and love triumphs on the deck of a battleship that becomes the ad hoc venue for her Broadway debut.
Junior Ella Wellman will play big-time Broadway diva Mona Kent. Playing Dick’s good-natured sailor pal, Lucky, is sophomore Micah Svaty. Senior Noah Svaty will be seen in two roles in the show: the harried theater producer Hennesey and Captain Courageous, the battleship’s commanding officer. Claire Chesney will play the part of wise-cracking chorine Joan.
Completing the show’s cast as various backstage characters and sailors are Bella Brownlee, Zoe Harding, Olivia Kilgore, Judah Kuhn, Sophia Schneider, Carson Gray, Luke Hooker, Adam Schweizer, and Charlie Simpson-Eighmy.
Sterling High School Theatre director Betsy Dutton is directing the show with choral music teacher Clark Comley as music director. Choreography for the show which includes tap as well as production numbers is being done by Piper Harding and Rachel Thomson. Wayne Beaver is designing the backstage to battleship setting for the show.
Tickets for the musical will be $10 for adults and $5 for students and will be available at the door before each performance.