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Warren Central cast prepares for ‘Descendants’

They say the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree when it comes to children following in their parents’ footsteps.  

But what if your mother or father has some pretty significant character flaws and is just downright evil.  

Is there a chance of breaking the cycle and changing for the better?

Audience members will find out in Warren Central High School’s upcoming production of “Descendants.”

Based on the Disney Channel Original Movies of the same name, “Descendants” puts a spin on some of its classic characters, WCHS head choir director Eric Johnson said.

“It tells the story of the children of four of the most infamous Disney villains — Jafar, Evil Queen, Cruella de Vil and Maleficent,” he said, who are given the opportunity to leave the magic-free island where their wicked parents live and go to Auradon, home of all the Disney heroes.

There, the children are taught how to become good.

Johnson said he has a total of 54 students – 35 cast members, 13 set crew members, two lighting crew members and four sound crew members that are participating in the WCHS stage production.

Leads in the musical include Alex Lawson, McLaurin Truesdell, Tristan McKenzie and Tanner Green, who play the children of Maleficent, Evil Queen, Jafar and Cruella de Vil, respectively.

Prince Ben, the son of King Beast and Queen Belle is played by Ryan Doyle.

Serving as choreographers for the musical are Sam Lovorn and Beth Fortner.

“The choreography is energetic, highly involved, and multi-staged and they (Lovorn and Fortner) have done an amazing job with keeping the spirit of the show, while putting our own Warren Central spin on the dance numbers,” Johnson said.

Also, Johnson said, costumes, hair and makeup for the production are bright and vivid.

“Just like our set, which is the largest and most complex set we’ve constructed in the seven years that I’ve been at WCHS,” he said.

Rehearsals for “Descendants” started at the end of November and have been held four days a week. Johnson said two more days of the week were set aside for building sets.

“By the time we finish the production, we will have totaled around 150 hours of rehearsal time and about 80 hours of set construction,” Johnson said.

In years past, the WCHS musicals have had a live orchestra, but this year professionally recorded tracks provided by the licensing company will be used since the production did not offer that as an option.

Understandably, the pandemic has been one of the most challenging aspects in preparing for the production, Johnson said.

“It took so much more planning on the part of the directors and administrators,” he said. “We were sure to follow all of the current state and federal guidelines and research. Cast and crew were required to wear masks and have temperatures taken at every rehearsal. We broke the cast down into small groups for rehearsals so that we could practice social distancing.”

“Descendants” will open at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 4. Shows will also be held at 7 p.m. Friday, March 5 and Saturday, March 6.

“Because of the pandemic, we are limited to only 200 patrons per show,” Johnson said, and currently the March 6th show is sold out.

Tickets for the remaining shows are available online at our.show/wchsdescendants, and the cost is $10 or $5 for ages younger than 10.

Tickets will not be sold at the door, Johnson said.

This year WCHS will be streaming the production beginning at 7 p.m. Friday, April 2 and Saturday, April 3.

Tickets for the stream are $10 and may be purchased at https://www.showtix4u.com/event-details/45908.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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