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Learning to fly
Based on his current talent pool, Arlington High School drama teacher Scott Moberly knew this was the time to present his all time favorite musical.
“Peter Pan was the first live musical I saw as a kid,” said Moberly. “I was 9 years old in Spokane.”
Not only the right vocalists and the perfect actor to play Hook, but also an outstanding technical crew inspired Moberly to take on the task of presenting “Peter Pan,” by J.M. Barrie.
“We’ve got a strong tech team this year,” Moberly said, thanks to the stage craft class taught with Bob Nydegger, the technical director of the Byrnes Performing Arts Center.
“This is the fun part of my job,” Nydegger said, adding it’s his responsibility to make sure the kids are strapped in properly and kept safe.
The flying apparatus is provided by a company in Las Vegas called Flying by Foy, and it wasn’t cheap. Moberly launched a fundraising campaign last summer and managed to raise the $7,000 needed to hire to company.
“I love the show,” Moberly said. “Everyone loves Peter Pan and it’s a wonderful message about the arts - about the fine line between fantasy and reality. It’s all about go and play, be a pirate,” he said.
“I guess I am paying homage to the Sisters of the Holy Names School in Spokane,” he added.
Moberly is hoping to keep who is playing Hook a secret.
“The actor brings something very special to this character,” he said.
About the rest of the crew, Moberly is equally excited.
“Justin Goheen is a fantastic singer,” Moberly said. The drama teacher has been at AHS four years now and he has developed a good working relationship with his talent pool.
“They know what I expect, and it makes it fluid — so easy and fun,” he said.
Now a junior, Goheen’s first appearance on the AHS stage was in “Pippin,” and he starred in last year’s production of “South Pacific.”
Moberly also had someone in mind for Little Michael.
“I had Thomas in drama camp and was keeping my eye on him for this role.”
A mother of two in the show, including Caroline Rensel who plays Wendy’s daughter, Ruth Milner is also excited.
“They’ve got Dave Kraski and the fire fighters helping for safety,” Milner said.
Other community members are also helping out, including Dave Safford, whose daughter graduated this year, and the regular standbys, Ed and Lynn Stone.
“And the director of Northsound Choir, who is now choir director at Post Middle School, Stuart Hunt is also helping out,” she said.
AHS Choir Director Lyle Forde said there has been some challenges with the music, which was originally created for Mary Martin. “We’re having to do some adjustments,” Forde said.
An ensemble with about 20 musicians will be in the pit under the direction of John Grabowski.
The actors who were learning to fly early last week said it’s a challenge to guide yourself while suspended in mid air.
“It’s hard, though, you have to keep your back straight and lean your shoulders where you want to go,” said Alexa Soriano, who plays Liza.
Rensel said flying wasn’t so bad.
“It’s a lot less scarey than I thought.”
Rensel had her first experience on stage in last year’s “Our Town.” She said she likes singing and dancing on stage, but it’s more than that.
“It’s a great way to meet a lot of good people,” she said.