- Sarasota County Schools
Booker High School to Showcase “Tuck Everlasting”
by Rebecca Abrahamson, VPA Coordinator & AICE English General Paper Instructor at Booker High School
SARASOTA COUNTY, December 10, 2019 – The award-winning Booker High School Visual & Performing Arts (VPA) Theatre department will present the area premiere of “Tuck Everlasting”, a musical based on the cherished children’s novel by Natalie Babbitt.
The poignant musical follows Winnie Foster (played by Bridget Marsh), a young girl living in a rural town, who encounters the immortal Jesse Tuck (played by Ryan Modjeski), and with him, the lure of everlasting life. The show explores the appeal of living forever as well as the beauty inherent in knowing that time is finite and emphasis on cherishing each fleeting moment.
The show runs at 7:00 PM from December 12 through December 14, with matinee showings at 2:00 PM on both December 14 and December 15. All performances will be held in the Booker High School VPA Theatre. The department also has a preview show scheduled for area middle school students on December 11.
Director Scott Keys said he was drawn to this title for many reasons, but a huge attraction for him was the way it deals with unusual questions of love and life.
“I find the story and the score to be charming, and while it involves fantasy elements, it’s not seeped in magic,” Keys said. “It explores the humor, the pathos, the pain, of what that question of immortality is about—and the greed that can come with it.”
The show has also presented him and his cast with new territory musically, with a score that’s less traditionally Broadway and more flavored with Celtic-folky notes. Its vibe is more “cool” than those in the typical cannon, Keys observed. His cast, he said, manages the style well and are all capable singers and storytellers, and the tale they weave together is powerful.
“There are moments in the show that I’m touched by every time we’re in rehearsal,” Keys said.
Not only does the story present rich terrain from a performance standpoint, but the technical demands of the show have presented excellent learning opportunities for production and design students as well. The production team has constructed a turntable platform that—along with its integral part in underlining thematic elements such as the cyclical, revolving nature of human existence—also is a marvel to behold as a spectacle.
“This was a feat of engineering that really pushed us into unchartered territory,” Keys said.
In the end, the questions of the story—if you could live forever, would you? If you were immortal, what age would you lock yourself into?—delve into provocative, heady topics, but the bottom line message, Keys said, can be expressed into something relevant to all of us, advice the patriarchal immortal Angus offers the young Winnie Foster in Babbitt’s novel:
“Don’t be afraid of death, Winnie. Be afraid of life unlived.”
Tuck Everlasting runs at 7:00 PM from December 12 through December 14, with matinee showings at 2:00 PM on both December 14 and December 15. Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for students and available by calling our box office at 941-355-2967, option 3. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.bookervpa.com/tuck. Director: Scott Keys; Musical Director: Johnnie Mnich; Choreographer: Cynthia Ashford; Production Coordinator, Technical Director, Lighting Designer: Nick Jones; Costumes: Heather Clarke.