The musical “Back to the 80’s” was staged on the 23rd, 24th and 25th of February, 2012 in John the Baptist Community School, Hospital. The cast of sixty-five Transition Year students played four sold out shows in total, two matinees and two night shows. Each of the packed-to-capacity shows were hugely exciting and electrifying affairs, featuring all the great songs of the decade including “Girls Just Want to Have Fun”, “Footloose”, “Time of My Life” to name just a few of the twenty-four hits part of the show. This very exciting musical, set in the USA, tells the story of the senior class of William Ocean High school graduating in the 1980’s, as remembered through the eyes of Corey Palmer (played by Jason Gubbins) years later. The then 17-year-old Corey (Martin McCormack) is madly in love with his next door neighbour, Tiffany Houston (Michelle O’Reilly), one of the coolest girls in the school. However, she barely notices this, as she, like her friends Cyndi (Tara Sheehy), Mel (Enya Moran) and Kim (Leah Kenny) is too busy mooning over Michael Feldman (Diarmuid Murphy), the hottest guy around. Michael and his friends are athletic and good-looking – the kind of guys that Corey and his two best friends, Alf (Tomás English) and Kirk (Niall Corkery), dream of being. Yet, while they may not be the coolest guys in school, they are still one up on the geeky Fergal McFerrin III (David Tynan). Presiding over this group, stands teachers Ms. Brannigan (Emma O’Donnell) and Mr. Cocker (David Prendergast). Into the mix, arrives Eileen (Rachel Jones) whose life becomes a nightmare when Michael and his gang decide to play a practical joke. Each student gave their all to each performance, their almost professional production garnering standing ovations each night.
To stage this fantastic concert, a huge team was assembled at John the Baptist Community School. Mr. John McCarthy, Mr. Michael John English and team constructed an impressive stage, with various levels, incorporating a full car (donated by the O’Carroll family) that emerged for one particularly memorable and exciting scene. The very colourful array of costumes were designed and perfected by Ms. Niamh O’Toole, Ms. Deirdre Brennan and team, accompanied by very stylish and colourful make-up, expertly applied by Ms. Helen Clifford and a large team. The school is also extremely fortunate to have its own orchestra, made up of students from the school and lead by Ms. Geraldine McNulty. While many schools have to hire a professional orchestra to play for the school musical, this dedicated group of musicians toiled for months over the songs, to produce a sound that would rival any professionals. Their dedication was surpassed only by that of the sixty-five Transition Years students who have worked tirelessly, during school, after school, during weekends and even during their midterm break, to make the show the success it was.
At the centre of this entire process were the three producers – Ms. Geraldine McNulty (also the musical director), Ms. Rachel Hayes and Ms. Richelle Hurley. These three highly dedicated and focused individuals guided and shaped the entire group to stage such a wonderful show, often uncovering undiscovered talent and abilities. They became a common sight around the school during weekends and the midterm, as well as many evenings for various practices. Such hard work, not surprisingly, resulted in one of the best shows seen in the local area for many years.
A huge congratulations to all those involved, and a sincere thank you to all those who helped in anyway.