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Poppy students reaching for the stars

The musical theatre students of D.W. Poppy Secondary have managed to convert the dramanasium into a New York night club for a special evening of music at shows running Dec. 12-14.

Ritz Cabaret is an original musical production with songs tailored by teacher Wayne Ablitt.

He put in countless hours re-writing and arranging the music so that our production would have its own unique musical style.

Teacher Amber Blount added that the actors were involved in creating their characters and their back story. Much of the script was developed through improvisation in rehearsal.

The set was designed and created by the school’s stagecraft teacher, Wayne Loewen, and his creative students.

There are also a few Poppy Players alumni that came back to help out with assistant directing and set decoration.

“This show is a true example of a collective creation,” she said. “For this reason, everyone involved in the Ritz Cabaret is very proud to be a part of it.”

About 75 students are involved as actors, backstage crew, set builders, and orchestra members. And they are tackling numbers that can intimidate seasoned pros.

“We wanted to explore an earlier genre of musical theatre this year so we chose songs from musicals that were set during the 1920s to 1950s,” Blount said.

The show features the music from Chicago, Cabaret, Anything Goes, 42nd Street, Guys and Dolls, and more. Once the music was chosen the story started to evolve from there.

“The collection of songs tells the stories of the various characters who work at the cabaret, showcasing their talents, and encompassing their collective dreams,” she explained. “The audience will feel as though they are a part of the story as they take on the role of the cabaret audience.”

The school did New York, New York, a show in a similar vein a few years back.

“It gave us the opportunity to work with musical numbers from a variety of shows, which is always a lot of fun for the students, as well as a great learning experience,” Blounted added.

The seating is cabaret-style at tables. Dessert and coffee will be served at intermission.

Showtime is 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 per person. They are available at

“Some tickets will be available at the door, but we suggest you buy online in advance as seating is limited due to the cabaret style set-up,” she noted.

Proceeds go towards the senior music and musical theatre tour to Disneyland in April. Students have a rare opportunity to go backstage in Disneyland and work with professional musicians, technicians, and directors to further develop their performance skills.

Source: Langley Advance – Heather Colpitts

Photo Credit: Emily Cannon

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