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Oak Harbor High School students are ‘Puttin’ on the Ritz’

Jasmine Case-Smith and Thomas Honeycutt sing and dance in “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”  - Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times
Jasmine Case-Smith and Thomas Honeycutt sing and dance in “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”
— image credit: Rebecca Olson/Whidbey News-Times

It’s grand and it’s glitzy, like Broadway come to Oak Harbor. There will be dancing, laughter and favorites from Disney movies and popular musicals, and it’s all put on by Oak Harbor High School students in the choir program’s full-blown musical revue, “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

Buy tickets now for performances at 6:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, May 11 and 12. Tickets are $12 to the show, held at Oak Harbor High School.

Directed by Darren McCoy, the show is sure to please with a variety of show tunes, movie songs and radio favorites.

“It’s amazing,” Katie McClimans, president of the choir club, said of the show.

This is the second year the students are putting on the show and it was a huge hit last year. Fifty-three students are involved, along with community members and parents.

“It’s been really cool getting questions around town,” said Sophie Marks, vice president of the choir club. When she’s out in Oak Harbor, people often recognize her from the many shows the choir program puts on for the community and excitedly ask about “Puttin’ on the Ritz.”

“It’s not expected of high school choirs to put on shows like this,” McClimans said.

“Maybe a lot of kids in school say, ‘Oh, choir kids,’ or something, but people come out of shows awed. There’s really no limit to what we can do,” Marks said.

This is no ordinary concert. This is a full experience, with props, fancy costumes, food and a wide variety of music that the audience will recognize and fall in love with. The audience is sure to know songs from the musical “Wicked,” tunes from the movie “Aladdin” and this year’s “cry fest” song, as McClimans and Marks termed it, “Lean on Me.”

And the students are responsible for all of it, from putting together costumes to ordering the food. Student Mike Garon did most of the painting for the sets and the students have spent hours creating decorations and lighting, not to mention practicing, which is during zero period, the class held before the regular school day even begins.

“It’s put on by the students and it’s performed by the students,” McClimans said. “It’s a mass amount of time but it’s so worth it.”

“We don’t really feel like we’re just a class; we’re a family,” Marks added. “We’ve worked really hard together.”

The proceeds from the show go toward funding next year’s choir club activities, including transportation, contests and “ways we can get out in the community more, so it’s benefiting everybody, not just us,” McClimans said.

The money will also fund a new show called “Cupid Song,” which will have a Valentine’s Day theme. Since that show may replace “Puttin’ on the Ritz” next year, the students said they don’t want the community to miss out on their chance to see “Puttin’ on the Ritz” this year.

“We really want them to come. It’s a good way for the family to come together,” McClimans said, adding that “Puttin’ on the Ritz” is child-friendly.

“It’s going to be a great show,” Marks added.

The revue also features a guest appearance by the An-O-Chords from Anacortes, who delight with their barbershop finesse.

Another treat for the audience will be a sneak preview of the widely anticipated zombie music video, “Thrill the Island,” filmed at various locations on Whidbey Island and based on Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

During intermission, the audience will indulge in strawberry shortcake and chocolate fondue.

Tickets sold out quickly last year. Order tickets at ritzwillcall@gmail.com by including first and last name and number of tickets.

 

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