Sam Barlow Theatre Department
Barlow's 2019-2020 Season was unlike any other. Between the construction within our facility forcing us out of our origionally intended spaces, utalizing a guest director, and having to cancel the musical due to COVID, the kids (and adults for that matter) went through a lot of ups and downs. In December our students performed Children of a Lesser God in Mr. Schroeder's Classroom, then in February a group of Seniors performed Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 at the Gresham Historical Museum (Which featured alumni Sam Smith!) Then, A group of mostly Juniors directed by Heidi Thies (yes, the website girl and also vp) performed The Complete Works of William Shakespeare - Abridged. It was a crazy year, but our amazing kids made the most of it. Just like they will make the most of whatever comes at us in the Fall.
The Sam Barlow Theatre Department has been under the direction and teaching of Mr. Jeff Schroeder since 2014. In those short 6 years, the department has achieved many honors and awards. In 2016, the One Act we performed called "Bang Bang, You're Dead" placed first in the Chapter Select State One Act category at the Oregon State Thespian Conference.
Later that year, Mr. Schroeder took his first large group to The International Thespian Conference to compete with our large group musical "Stronger" from the musical Finding Neverland, as well as represent Oregon in performing "Bang Bang, You're Dead" for their One Act Festival. 26 students drove to Nebraska in large vans to compete and participate in the conference. The Large Group Musical "Stronger" ended up winning the entire competition, placing first in the large group musical category, and was asked to perform in front of over 5,000 thespians from all over the nation. Barlow now holds an international title from that conference.
In 2017, the Small Group Musical "Coffee Break" from the musical How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying qualified for the state thespian festival in April. At the state competition, "Coffee Break" placed first in its category, and was asked to participate in the showcase, and to perform the piece in front of 2,000 theatre students.
In 2018, Mr, Schroeder decided to submit out Fall Musical, Mamma Mia! to showcase at state. Each year 3 shows are chosen by a group of theatre educators to be shown to everyone in attendance at the Oregon State Thespian Conference that year. The theatre educators for the 2019 Oregon State Thespian Conference chose Barlow's musical Mamma Mia! as the Friday night show. The cast, crew, band, as well as involved VIPS traveled together to Salem to be a part of Mamma Mia! Mamma Mia was shown in front of 2,000 ecstatic student thespians in April, and it truly was the time of our lives.
Mixed in with these honors, there have been countless qualifications for state and nationals in the categories of Solo Acting, Duo Acting, Group Acting, Solo Musical, Duo Musical, Small Group Musical and Large Group Musical.
Lets take a trip down Memory Lane
Fall 2015 - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Alec Anderson (Joseph), Julianne Rathbone (Lead Narrator), Laura Rizzo (Narrator), Heidi Thies (Narrator)
Based on the New Testament story of the youngest son of Jacob, Joseph. Joseph is father's favorite son, and so he gives him a multi-colored coat. Joseph also discovers that he is able to decipher people's dreams. His brothers are so jealous that they betray him and sell him into slavery. Joseph's story is told entirely through the Narrators, where they describe Joseph's journey to escape and return home.
Winter 2015 - David and Lisa
Alec Anderson (David), Annie Gurrero (Lisa), Lexi Payne (Dr. Swinford)
This classic love story centers around two mentally ill teens in a psychiatric center, David and Lisa. David has an irrational fear that if he comes into contact with another human, he will die, whereas Lisa has two personalities: one that can only speak in rhymes, and the other that cannot speak at all, and can only write. With the help of their therapist Dr. Swinford, they are able to allow themselves to fall in love, and thus overcome their battles within themselves.
Fall 2016 - Grease
Laura Rizzo (Sandy), Tristan Craft (Danny), Heidi Thies (Rizzo), Ben Kalinkin (Kenickie)
Pure exchange student, Sandy Dumbrowski and "Greaser", Danny Zuko have a summer romance that they thought would end there. They are both shocked when Sandy shows up at Rydell High for the first day of school, and runs into Danny and his friends. Sandy tries to fit in with the "Pink Ladies", although the leader, Rizzo isn't too keen on the idea. The two teens have to find a way to be happy, even if that means someone has to change. Or so they think.
Winter 2016 - Lost in Yonkers
Robbie Cantrell (Jay), Sam Smith (Arty), Emma Stewart (Bella)
In the 1940's young brothers Jay and Arty are abruptly moved into their strict grandmother's home when their father takes a new job. They are thrown into a completely different world with their grandmother, their mentally challenged Aunt Bella, their other Aunt Gert who suffers from a speech impediment, and their Uncle Louie who is a small-time crook running from the mob. Lost in Yonkers is the story of this dysfunctional family and how the introduction of Jay and Arty affects them.
Spring 2017 - Miracle Worker
Heidi Thies (Annie Sullivan), Laura Rizzo (Helen Keller)
Based on the true story of Helen Keller and her teacher, Annie Sullivan. Young almost blind Annie Sullivan gets the opportunity to go to the Keller home to teach their child, Helen how to communicate. Helen, who is blind and deaf, begins to be taught through sign language how to communicate. Annie struggles with her defiance and refusal to cooperate for months, when finally they have a breakthrough. W A T E R, Who knew a word as simple as water could change the lives of so many.
Fall 2017 - Guys and Dolls
Isaac Chapelle (Sky), Seth Reynolds (Nathan), Brooke Collins (Sarah), Emma Beckers / Sophia Estrada (Adelade)
Gambler Nathan Detroit needs a place to host his craps game, and the garage he wants is charging him $1,000 that he doesn't have. So Nathan bets wealthy gambler Sky Masterson that he can't convince virtuous Sarah Brown to go on a date with him. Meanwhile, Adelade, Detroit's girlfriend is pressuring him to marry her. Sarah and Sky find themselves accidentally falling for each other, while Sky must figure out a way to explain to her that this all started with a bet.
Winter 2017 - Steel Magnolias
Katherine Hardenbergh (M'Lynn), Avery White (Shelby), Savannah Serviss (Truvy)
M'Lynn's diabetic daughter Shelby is planning on getting married and starting a family. While M'Lynn, Shelby, and the other women in town get their hair done at Truvy's salon, many times throughout the course of this story, they discuss everything under the sun. From the wedding, to Shelby's pregnancy, her health poses to be quite the challenge. She and M'Lynn battle over whether the pregnancy is truly worth the health risks, but Shelby decides she is willing to take the risk, and moves forward with the pregnancy. When Shelby tragically passes away not long after having the baby, M'Lynn learns that her beauty shop friends will always be there as a shoulder to cry on.
Spring 2018 - Lend Me a Tenor
Seth Reynolds (Henry), Sam Smith (Max), Lexi Cheney (Maggie), Sammy Guadarrama (Tito)
World renound Tenor Tito Morelli is set to play Othello in an upcoming opera. When he accidentally passes out after an unbelievable train of events, and is unable to perform, his assistant Max takes over for him and plans to go on as Othello, believing Tito is dead. Once Max puts on Tito's mask, chaos ensues as Tito's jealous wife, Max's girlfriend, the opera's soprano, and anyone who comes into contact with him, believes that Max is Tito. Just when you think it can't get any more insane, Tito wakes up...
Fall 2018 - Mamma Mia!
Emily Schneider (Donna), Sarah Beckers (Sophie), Avery White (Tanya), Hannah Knoll (Rosie)
Donna is a hardworking single mother who owns her own hotel in Greece. Her daughter Sophie gets engaged and decides she wants to invite her father to the wedding. Just one problem, there are three possible fathers, so she invites all three men without her mother knowing, thinking when she sees her father, she'll know which one he is. When Donna's three exes show up, she is shocked, and to Sophie's surprise, she doesn't know which one is her father. Meanwhile, Donna's two best friends, Rosie and Tanya come to Greece for Sophie's wedding, and as soon as they all see each other, they can't help but to revive the girl band they performed when they were younger. This story teaches everyone involved that it doesn't matter who your "blood family" is. Family is something you choose.
Winter 2018 - Clue: On Stage
Derron Medrano (Wadsworth), Andrew Schroeder (Mr. Green), Lexi Cheney (Mrs. Peacock), Ethan Golden (Prof. Plum), Audrey Thies (Mrs. White), Claire Hardenbergh (Clonal Mustard), Brooke Collins (Miss Scarlett)
Based on the hit board game, Clue: On Stage is essentially about a dinner party. 6 strangers are invited to a dinner party, where they all find out they have one thing in common, they are being blackmailed by the same person, Mr. Body. Once Mr. Body arrives, the 6 guests are each given a weapon. The lights go out, and Mr. Body ends up shot. This is just the beginning of many murders committed by our 6 guests. Wadsworth, the butler serves as a narrator of sorts. The guests get more and more paranoid as there are more deaths, and must figure out who the murder is before they all fall victim.
Spring 2019 - The Crucible
Emily Schneider (Abigail Williams), Bryce Coverdale (John Proctor), Katherine Hardenbergh (Elizabeth Proctor), Jerry James Tinio (Reverend John Hale), Savannah Serviss (Mary Warren).
Written in 1953 by the great playwright Aurthur Miller, The Crucible is a chilling show based on The Salem Witch Trials. This classic script follows Abigail Williams, an angry ex-lover of John Proctor, who plots to get his wife falsely jailed for witchcraft through a group of terrified girls who were caught dancing in the forest. The girls, fearing Abigail, comply with her story and act possessed in a court of law.Mary Warren however, testifies against Abigail, trying to do what is right, but ends up falling victim of Abigail's manipulation. Not only does Elizabeth Proctor go to jail, but so does John Proctor. In jail, John decides that he won't testify to the guilt of any other accused, and is thus sentenced to death. Hale's disbelief compels him to attempt to change Proctor's mind, but as the lights go down, his lovely wife states, "No, he found his goodness now, Who am I to take it from him."
Winter 2019 - Children of a Lesser God
Bryce Coverdale (James Leeds), Kelly Giorgi (Sarah Norman)
This show written originally by Mark Medoff, earned accolades in 1986 when it was made into a beautiful feature film starring deaf actress Marlee Matlin and William Hurt. This show follows an energetic young hearing teacher's first years at a deaf school. As a hearing professor in a deaf college, he of course faced some trials. The biggest being student, Sarah Norman refusing to communicate with him, and in turn making his job very difficult. Sarah is bitter toward him just because he is hearing, and through a blossoming romance between the two of them we learn that sometimes our differences can unite us, rather than tear us apart. But we have to give in, and build connections with one another before we skip to judgement.
*Note: This show required the students to learn a huge amount of sign language, which was taught to them by some remarkable special guests. It was also performed in Mr. Schroeder's classroom at the time, because our black box was under construction.
Spring 2020 - Musical Comedy Murders of 1940
Sarah Beckers (Helsa Wenzel), Jordana Young (Elsa Von Grossenknueneten), Kelly Giorgi (Sergeant Kelly) Bryce Coverdale (Patrick O'Reilly), *Sam Smith (Ken De La Maize) Evelyn Whipps (Nikki Crandall) Derron Medrano (Eddie McCuen) Autumn Johnson (Marjorie Baverstock), Dustin Grundmeyer (Roger Hopewell), Dana Huber (Bernice Roth).
*Sam Smith is an Alumni that graduated in 2018, that was asked to come back and play this role as a guest. We are so thankful for him, and had so much fun having him with us!
Elsa Von Grossenknueneten invites this band of misfits to her house in association with a musical she plans on producing, but they each show up with different intentions. It quickly becomes clear that no one is who they appear to be, and no one can be trusted. The night quickly turns into a wild goose chase for "The Stage Door Slasher" as someone gets unexpectedly murdered, and the gang realizes it may be in connection with the murder of a chorus girl committed months prior. As the real identities of each of the guests start to unravel, secret passageways, power outages, and weapons just add to the chaos. Can the gang figure out who the Slasher is before he strikes again?
Spring 2020 - The Complete Works of William Shakespeare: Abridged
Soulynn Perez (Soulynn), Jade Ulrich (Jade), Claire Hardenbergh (Claire), Lissy Ross (Lissy), Sofia Moldonado (Sofia), Audrey Thies (Audrey) Bethany Reiner (Bethany)
This show is exactly what it seems to be. Its the complete works of William Shakespeare. Just kidding. This farce, oritionally written by 3 adult men is about three friends who think they know a whole lot more about Shakespeare than they really do, and they decide to perform each of his works, all at once. But they change each of them to make them more "appealing." Making Titus Andronicus a cooking show, King Lear a football game, and Othello a rap battle. (Because our cast was bigger, there were a lot of changes that had to be made, so we took quite a bit of creative liberty.) There was also the addition of ridiculous props like hundreds of plastic boats, feather boas, a rubber snake, a blow up doll, a potato sack, a few light sabors, and of course loads of glitter vomit. Fanny packs, name tags, audience participation, and of course lots and lots of Shakespeare.
*Note: This was the first show in Barlow Theatre's history that was not directed by Jeff. This show was directed by Alumni Heidi Thies (yes, the girl that runs the website) And Assistant Directed by Alumni Emily Schneider and Alumni James Tinio.