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Fort Macleod students in cast of ‘Back to the ’80s’

Chelsie Harris (left) plays Eileen and Aby Wolff is Kim in the musical ‘Back to the '80s . . . the Totally Awesome Musical.' The musical completes its run this weekend at the Claresholm Community Centre.

Chelsie Harris (left) plays Eileen and Aby Wolff is Kim in the musical ‘Back to the ’80s . . . the Totally Awesome Musical.’ The musical completes its run this weekend at the Claresholm Community Centre.

Claresholm Arts Society is presenting Back to the ’80s . . . the Totally Awesome Musical this month.
The musical directed by Christin Slevin opened last weekend with final performances Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Jan 18-20 at Claresholm Community Centre.
Back to the ’80s tells the story of the 1989 graduating class of William Ocean High as seen through the eyes of the narrator, Corey Palmer Sr., who is now living in the year 2001.
Throughout the story, Corey Sr. introduces and provides insight into various characters.
He tells the audience of the cool kids, the nerds, the regular kids, and the faculty of William Ocean High.
The musical features hits from the 1980s by stars such as George Michael, Starship, Cyndi Lauper, and Sheena Easton.
Songs include Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, We Built This City, Mickey, Video Killed the Radio Star, Love Shack, Total Eclipse of the Heart and Walking on Sunshine.
The cast of Back to the ’80s . . . the Totally Awesome Musical includes F.P. Walshe school students Chelsie Harris and Aby Wolff of Fort Macleod.
Gazette reporter Michael McTighe caught up with Chelsie and Aby to find out more about them, and the musical.
Michael: Please tell me a bit about yourself.
Chelsie: I am 16 years old, in Grade 11 at F.P. Walshe school.
Aby: I am 17 years old and in Grade 12 at F.P. Walshe school.
Michael: What previous experience or training do you have in performance arts?
Chelsie: I have been involved with the Empress Theatre drama camps since I was six, and have been taking singing lessons for four years.
Aby: I was in several plays in Calgary before moving here in Grade 6. I was in a couple plays at F.P. Walshe — Crazy Town and a Bunch of Munch — and then the musical Annie at the Empress Theatre. I have also taken several drama camps at the Empress.
Michael: Why were you interested in being part of this musical?
Chelsie : My brother was in the Claresholm plays for two years before I finally auditioned for one. I have made lots of new friends and love hanging out with them while preparing a production.
Aby: I really enjoyed being a part of Annie. I find that the people who are involved in musicals are fun to be around and very talented. I enjoy being around them and learning from them so that’s why I wanted to be in another musical.
Michael: What challenges did you face in joining the Claresholm group and attending rehearsal?
Chelsie: Since the rehearsals were in Claresholm, Aby and I carpooled three times a week to attend.
Aby: The most difficult part about joining the Claresholm group was the drive, especially in the winter! The Claresholm Arts Society was very
welcoming. We already have a good connection with them as many of their actors and actresses have been cast in plays at the Empress.
Michael: What can you tell us about the character you play in Back to the ’80s?
Chelsie: I play a girl named Eileen, who is a new student halfway through the year. She becomes friends with the unpopular crowd.
Aby: My character is Kim, an energetic, boy-crazy cheerleader who has a twin and those who know my personal character know that I really have to act for this role.
Michael: What is next after this musical? Do you have any short- or long-term goals?
Chelsie: After this musical, I am planning on going back to the everyday grind of final exams, and school. My goal after the play is to pass my classes, and earn enough credits to graduate.
Aby: In the future I’d like to be involved in more musicals and work on my voice to have a more confident stage presence. I’m in the process of applying to universities and I hope to be involved in stage productions at a university level. I hope to keep
performing as part of my life.