Seventeen students and three faculty members line up in front of the Hesston College theatre director, accompanist and vocal coach for their first read through/sing through this past Sunday afternoon. Jittery legs are scattered throughout the line-up, bumping up and down. Giggles interrupt the silence between lines, and ecstatic smiles light up everyone’s faces.
The excitement for the spring musical, “Tuck Everlasting,” is palpable. According to Rachel Jantzi, director of theatre, the musical is a part of theme: This year’s line-up of plays stem from pieces of literature. “Tuck Everlasting,” which will run in early March, joins the fall play, “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” and the upcoming production of “Charlotte’s Web.”
“I chose this play for many different reasons,” said Jantzi. “One reason being because it has recently been on Broadway, but also because I am friends with one of the lyricists and knew it would be a great production to have.”
The production features a diverse cast of 20 actors, including domestic and international students, faculty and staff.
Raelynn Reeves, a sophomore, has a large portfolio of experience tucked under her belt. She plays the role of Winnie Foster, the protagonist of the show.
If you’ve met Reeves, you understand why her stature is one perfect for playing the role of an 11-year-old.
“This is my first main role, but it also kinda follows the typecasting of I’m a little girl,” said Reeves.
Reeves says she’s thrilled to be working with many of the cast members of this show. From a duet with Tanner DeGrado, singing Jantzi’s favorite song, to getting to work with Margaret Wiebe, the library director, in a different setting.
“I went into this audition knowing I wanted to be Winnie, with Tuck Everlasting being my favorite book in high school,” she said.
Alex Miller, a freshman, is another student who is no stranger to the stage. Miller has been involved in theatre since he was six, and is delighted to play the role of Jesse Tuck, another lead.
“I think it’s a great show,” said Miller. “I love the music. It has a very light and energetic feel and I think it will be fun to work on the show, but especially with the music.”