Small cast, big laughs at Goessel High School spring musical

GOESSEL – In a throw-back musical, vocal music teacher Braden Unurh and his cast of Goessel High singers will be performing You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown May 8, at 7 p.m. and May 9, at 3 p.m. at the Goessel High Auditorium.

There will be no limit on attendance, though masks will be mandatory and social distancing is highly recommended. For residents unable to attend the live performance, a streaming option will be available by contacting Unruh at unruhb@usd411.org.

Unruh chose this year’s musical because of its small cast, which allows for more social distancing on stage.

I have a lot of great talent, so it needed to be a show that would feature a lot of good personality traits – a diverse amount of personalities. We have really great actors that can show a wide range, from serious to comical to juvenile to sassy to just outrageous characters,” he said.

From the opening number – You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown – Unruh said students’ talents will be on full display.

While the number is a full five minutes, “There’s so much going on in it, it’s like you can watch a different part each time, and see some new tidbit you hadn’t noticed before.”

The Baseball Game is another number showcasing not just the main characters, but the whole cast.

It involves a lot of improvisation acting, and doing some things in slow motion. It’s funny to watch them change little things in the ways they play off each other. It’s just a very fun song,” said Unruh.

The improvisation of actors is one of the highlights of the show, “They do a great job of doing just hilarious, outrageous acting behind the scenes. It’s been fun to watch them bring each part of the show alive with their own creativity,” he said.

With just 11 cast members, “we’ve become pretty tight-knit. At every rehearsal there’s a lot of laughter. It has a good mix of taking responsibility of all the things they need to do and having a great time doing it,” said Unruh.

Students have already done the hard working hard not only on the basics of memorizing lines and blocking, “Our first off-book rehearsal went very smoothly. Now we are working on more frosting-type things; the icing on the cake, the non-essentials of looks and lines. It makes it so much more fun that we can add the extra things that make it come alive.”

Unruh is proud his students chose to commit time and effort to the musical, on top of other activities.

The non-COVID-related challenge, we don’t typically do a musical in the spring. Our kids are super involved in Goessel. All of our cast is involved in sports, forensics, their studies and big projects, things other than the musical. The challenge is finding the energy to put into yet one more thing, and they’ve done a fantastic job,” he said.

Unruh added, he would be remiss in not giving credit to the behind the scenes crew of lighting, sound, set design and creation. He said one of the most unsung members of the crew is the most important – Marcia Brubaker who plays piano and is a one-woman musical crew.

Without her, this doesn’t happen. We’re not playing with a pit orchestra or a band. As one pianist you get a musical score that has lots of instrumental cues, and tis hard to know what to add and what to leave out. The kids and I don’t realize how amazing what she is doing is, even on the fly. Without her, this doesn’t happen,” said Unruh.