Whidbey Playhouse presents: When you wish upon a star, your dreams come true

Lukas Lowder sings “Jack’s Lament” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”  - Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times
Lukas Lowder sings “Jack’s Lament” from “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”
— image credit: Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times

“Wish Upon a Star” is childhood at its best. Moments of magic and adventure come together with laughter and nostalgia in the Whidbey Playhouse’s Disney musical revue celebrating the child in everyone.

“Wish Upon a Star” explores a wide range of emotions, from a romantic rendition of “A Whole New World,” sung by Emily Hoyt and Tyler O’Dell, to an exciting ballet version of “The Curse of the Black Pearl,” by Ballet Slipper dancers, to the infectious hilarity of “I Love to Laugh,” performed by Richard Doyle, Allenda Jenkins and Lukas Lowder.

The show also features a wide range of performers.

“We wanted it to be an experience of children all the way through senior adults,” said director Sarah Russell, adding that with a cast ranging in age from 6 to late 60s, they succeeded.

“It’s just nice to see the community come together, old and young,” said Liz Anema, vocal coach.

“We wanted it to be a blend of experience and inexperience so they could learn to work together,” Russell said. In the cast of nearly 40, some performers are new to the stage while others have graced the stage for years.

The show also features a variety of Disney music, from “Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf,” which is from before Walt Disney made movies, to music from a recent Disney movie, “Tangled.”

And what Disney montage would be complete without the “Mickey Mouse March?”

Priscilla Wilbur, children’s chorus director, grew up with Disney and was a member of the Mickey Mouse Club.

“I had ears and a cowboy hat and everything,” Wilbur said. “I loved Disney when I was growing up. I used to put on shows in the garage when I was a kid and doing this show revives that.”

Featured groups will also take the stage, including the Shifty Sailors, the string quartet Rosario Sound, the Satin Dolls, Ballet Slipper dancers and the Oak Harbor High School Show Choir.

The Show Choir shines on-stage with a variety of music, including a colorful production of “Friend Like Me” and a performance of “Hakuna Matata” that keeps the audience laughing. Individual choir members take the stage for songs like the sassy “Siamese Cat Song,” sung by Shani King and Denae McGaha, and a heart-rending version of “I’m Still Here,” by student Michael Garon and choir director Darren McCoy.

Each song will awaken memories and emotions in listeners, as they did in performers like Lowder in his solo, “Jack’s Lament.”

“You want something to be yours,” Lowder said, adding that if the singer finds some way to relate to the song, it becomes special.

Lowder related to “Jack’s Lament” because like Jack in “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Lowder said he took a lot for granted when he was younger. When he found this song, he knew it would be perfect to take to auditions.

Lowder has been involved at the Playhouse for a couple of years. He headed straight for the community theater when he moved to Oak Harbor because he’d grown up with music and his mom taught music.

As to pursuing music as a profession, “I think it would be cool,” Lowder said, but right now, he’s working hard and considering college while enjoying parts in Playhouse productions like “Meet Me in St. Louis” and a part in “Nutcracker” at the Ballet Slipper.

Tara Hizon, Oak Harbor City Council member, auditioned with McCoy for their duet, “I See the Light,” featured in “Tangled.”

“Growing up loving the stage and loving singing --- and torturing my family, I’m sure, singing all the time --- Disney was everything,” Hizon said.

Even as a teenager, Hizon’s love for Disney music lived on as she babysat children.

“The show gives everyone, all of these little girls and teens, their chance to be a Disney princess,” Hizon said, smiling.

Shows are Feb. 23 through March 4 at the Playhouse.

While the Playhouse is always in need of volunteers, actors, stage managers, ushers and more, “I think the number one thing you can do to support your local theater is being in the audience,” Hizon said. “The show’s really been a labor of love and for this much effort to go into an off-season show, it’s really demonstrative of the commitment. We’re all volunteers here.”

“Hopefully, I can see everyone there,” Lowder added.



Wish Upon a Star

Shows: Feb. 23-March 4

Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays: 7:30 p.m.

Sundays: 2:30 p.m.

Tickets: $12.

Purchase tickets: 679-2237 or at the Playhouse, 730 SE Midway Blvd., Oak Harbor.


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