By Elena Quach
“Don’t feel obliged to go see this show, go see it out of desire.”
Live Theatre Workshop’s current production of Paul Michael Thomson’s play “Fremont Junior high is NOT doing Oklahoma” was the light-hearted breath of fresh air I needed. I must admit I stayed up past my bedtime for this show, but it was worth it! I left the theater with a big cheesy grin and the urge to re-watch Mean Girls. Who doesn’t want to feel that way after watching a show that follows the drama of a teenage drama club president named Chrysanthemum? Maybe you should stick to watching the musical Oklahoma if you don’t.
The play follows our know-it-all nerdy musical theater drama club president and his classmates including his BFF, drama club vice president Phylicia, a coloratura soprano. Conflicts arise when they discover that the spring play is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma. The play is filled with fun, witty, independent, and somewhat tragic characters that are relatable to every 8th grader inside of us.
Ally Tanzillo’s top-notch directing brought out the best in every character played by a wonderfully funny ensemble. I can’t pick out any standout performances because each one was unique and entertaining in their own way. The ensemble includes. Jake Montgomery as Chrysanthemum, Gianbari Deebom as Alexy, Eddie Diaz as Zak, Trystan Garcia as Jack, Amaya Ravenell as Phylicia, and Tristan Kissel as Travis. The ensemble performs as one fine-tuned unit, with wonderful comedic timing throughout the entire performance. It was a joy to watch and left me chuckling to myself for the rest of the evening.
The play contains conversations that I know some adults in the theater industry would fight over right now and I am happy to see this play being produced in Tucson. I was overjoyed to see characters that remind me of the middle schoolers I teach today. I was relieved that the LGBTQ+ community was represented within a middle school setting. I thought this play would give me early 2000s middle school tv flashbacks but gave me a fresh approach to what we see in present-day middle schools all around our nation. Don’t feel obliged to go see this show, go see it out of desire.
Live Theatre Workshop requires proof of vaccination and masks required to enter the theater. Fremont Jr. High is NOT doing Oklahoma runs from April 8-23rd. For more information about tickets visit livetheatreworkshop.org