The Duncan Banner

February 20, 2013

Duncan Little Theatre goes back to the ‘80s

Derrick Miller
The Duncan Banner

DUNCAN —  

The 1980s returned Friday with full fashion sense and the same rhythm as the decade did when it exited 24 years ago.
Duncan Little Theatre brought back the ’80s with high-waisted pants, numerous cans of hairspray and the same catchy music with its production of “Back to the ’80s.” The musical comedy took the best known memories of the decade and put them in a high school senior class.
Sam Moffatt and Sydney Henricks, both juniors at the Duncan High School, did a great job of portraying their characters. Both showed that high school, no matter what decade, never truly changes. There’s still the popular students, the outcasts and those who fall in the middle.
What amazed me most about their performances is how far both have come since I first met them. Both have blossomed in their talents and have grown into well-rounded individuals. Their singing voices are strong and help tell the story better than straight acting ever could.
The fact neither was alive in the 1980s is also a point to acknowledge. For a moment, you almost forget they weren’t alive when music videos were regularly played on MTV or when many of the bands referenced were big names.
But Moffatt and Henricks weren’t the only two playing their characters brilliantly.
For instance, there’s Justin Sullivan as the class nerd. Sullivan has been a constant performer in Duncan Little Theatre plays, much like Henricks and Moffatt.
Sullivan started with DLT musicals, and undoubtedly, will appear in musical and other plays season after season. Sullivan was a point of humor in the show, predicting the future and sparking a bit of dramatic irony as the audiences realizes his predictions would come true.
Think of it: A world run by computers, computers in every classroom, DOS a thing of the past. Needless to say, statements like these gave the audience a few chuckles.
Sullivan was joined with his character’s friends, played by Mackenzie Cook and Heather Amaya. Both did a great job singing back up and taking lead on “Let’s Hear It for the Boy.”
Eric Schmidt, who portrayed the popular jock and ultimately the villain of the show, did a great job at playing opposite of Moffatt’s all-round good guy. Schmidt, who has made appearances in other DLT productions, was teamed with John Mirth and Lee Treadaway as his friends.
Schmidt’s voice was in check, adding successfully to a duet with Moffatt as they sang “10,000 Miles” by the Pretenders. Treadaway showed his dance moves, which are also top notch. And Mirth added another young, fresh face to the lineup.
Ken Jones and Tara Jackson were the teachers who had their own problems to deal with. Jones always amazes me with his voice, and Jackson did an awesome job keeping up with him.
The production was filled with top notch performances. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Hudson Moore, Skyler Wilkerson and Kayce Miller, all of whom played their parts to brilliance.
While I don’t remember much from the 1980s, with the exception of  “An American Tail” and “Batman,” tidbits started to come back to me. I don’t quite remember the clothing, but I definitely remember the music.
In the end, the music always brings it back.
DLT will perform “Back to the ’80s” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Simmons Center. This performance, like other DLT performances, are made possible through a grant from the Oklahoma Arts Council.