“Back to the ’80s” follows Corey Palmer Sr., now in his 30s, as he reminisces about his high school days as a senior at William Ocean High School.
Palmer is the narrator of the show commenting on events as they occurred in those years through his 17-year old son, Corey Jr. “Back to the ’80s” is loaded with jukebox tunes of the era certain to stir memories and deliver laughs to many in the audience.
“Back in the ’80s” opened Friday at The Theatre in the Park and plays again Saturday and Sunday. It runs through July 22.
This is the first time the show has been produced at The Theatre in the Park. Curtain time is 8:30 p.m.
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Director David Hastings, head of theater at Olathe South High School, says the play takes the audience back to 1989.
“Although the times move pretty fast, we will always love looking back on this time because it will live with us forever,” Hastings said. “As we rehearsed this show I said the same thing to the cast. Let’s have the time of our lives and make memories that will last forever.
“You will know every song in this show. And songs stick with you. Music often attaches itself to some of your greatest memories.”
Langston Hemenway, professor of music and director of bands at William Jewell College, is making his first appearance at The Theatre in the Park. He portrays the senior Palmer and serves as a narrator offering comments on what occurs on stage and provides his internal thoughts through his younger version, Corey Jr.
“I play the old guy reminiscing about having the best times of his life in high school,” Hemenway said. “I’m enjoying it so much. I hope in the future to be involved in all aspects of theater.”
Corey Palmer Jr. is played by Alec Bridges, a senior at Lee’s Summit North.
Corey Jr. has been in love with his next door neighbor, Tiffany Houston, since they were kids, but she only has eyes for Michael Feldman, the most popular guy in school.
Bridges has been active in theater in high school and the Summit Theater Group. He plans to attend the University of Central Missouri to major in theater education.
“I hope to continue acting as a hobby but I like teaching for my career,” he said.
Michael Feldman is portrayed by Alec Walberg, a graduate of Olathe Northwest who also is interested in theater education. He plans to attend Emporia State.
“Feldman is a good character for me to play. He’s actually kind of a bad guy, arrogant, mean and a football star, all the things I’m not,” Walberg said. “I like playing a bad guy. It gives me an opportunity to develop my character.”
Korrie Murphy, of Blue Springs, plays Tiffany Houston, one of the most popular girls in school.
“She’s easy for me to play. I relate to her really well,” Murphy said.
This is Murphy’s first show at The Theatre in the Park.
Murphy graduated from UMKC this spring with a degree in business.
“Back in high school I thought about trying theater for a career but when I got to college I realized it wasn’t for me. I like it for a hobby,” she said.
“Back to the 80s” plays tonight and Sunday and runs again July 19, 20, 21 and 22 at The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park. All shows are at 8:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 for adults $6 for youths and children three and under are free. For more information go to www.theatreinthepark.org.
If you go
“Back to the ’80s” plays Saturday and Sunday and runs again July 19, 20, 21 and 22 at The Theatre in the Park in Shawnee Mission Park. All shows are at 8:30 p.m. Ticket prices are $8 for adults, $6 for youths and children 3 and under are free. For more information go to www.theatreinthepark.org.