As the first year of McCracken County High School winds to a close, there are still firsts for students, faculty and staff members to experience.
About 46 students were in the cast and more than 1,600 tickets sold for the first musical at the high school. "Footloose" played three showings over last weekend in the 780-seat C-Plant Auditorium at the high school. Each performance was within 100 tickets of selling out, according to Mary Bowden, McCracken County High School theater teacher and play director.
"I could not be more proud of the hard work that these students have dedicated to the production of 'Footloose,'" she said. "We are establishing great theater traditions here at McCracken County High School and I am excited for the future."
She said the consolidation of three high schools necessitated some problem solving but the group found its niche and developed into a family-style cast through effective leadership from students.
"I had some doubts in bringing all new students together in a new department, but we have just thrived," she said.
Bowden said the cast represented a mixture of grade levels, houses, and students from choir, musical theater and drama classes as well as those new to acting.
Auditions for the musical were in late January, and students had been rehearsing since early February.
"The turnout and interest in the musical was just amazing ... the students had never seen anything like 'Footloose,'" she said.
The two play leads, who played Ariel Moore and Ren McCormack, emphasized their gratitude for the experience.
â "I can't express how blessed I feel to have been a part of this 'Footloose' cast," junior Haleigh Martin said. "It was the time of my life."
Junior Brad Walker agreed, adding: â "'Footloose' allowed me to grow as an actor, singer, and even learn a few dance moves. And I became a part of a family, one that I will never forget."
Bowden plans to continue the structure of one play in the fall and one musical in the spring at the high school next year. Last fall, the featured play was "Our Town."
Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.
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