Laughing out loud: WHS students put on comedy

A group of high school students enjoyed making audiences laugh over the weekend during their annual spring musical, as they had a fun time showing their more humorous sides.

More than 50 Wapakoneta High School students helped put on the production of “Once Upon A Mattress” this weekend.

“This is the best opening night we’ve ever had,” senior Cedric Gegel said.

Gegel remarked this production was different than the ones done previously during his high school career.

“It’s been a nice change going from serious to comedy,” Gegel said.

The last couple productions the student had put on were more serious musicals, Gegel said, and now they get an opportunity to just make the audiences laugh.

“It’s a nice change,” Gegel said. “We actually have to wait to give our lines until the audience stops laughing.”

Gegel plays Prince Dauntless, and said his character plays a vital role, as the young prince has to get married to his princess before anyone else in the play is allowed to get married, according to a law that states this.

Many potential princesses are put through a test, a test to prove a princess is worthy enough for him to marry.

Taylor Wohlgamuth’s character and Cedric’s mother in the play, Queen Aggravain, sabotages the tests the potential princesses are being put through, because she does not want to lose her power and wants to protect her son.

“I’m the antagonist of the musical,” Wohlgamuth said.

Wohlgamuth’s husband is King Sextimus the silent, who is played by Brad Severt, who did not talk during the production — and a few of his cast mates said he had one of the hardest roles, because he was under a spell and could not talk.

“The man to man scene was the hardest,” Severt said, because during this scene he must use non-verbal communication, such has talking with his hands, to tell his son, the prince, about “the birds and the bees.”

Senior Zachary Musselman, who plays Sir Studley, said that his favorite part of the production is this specific scene.

“My favorite part is the man-to-man talk,” Musselman said. “This is where the king and prince have the ‘birds and the bees talk, and the king cannot talk.’”

Severt said this is the biggest role he has ever had in a high school production, as in past productions, he has played smaller roles, such as dancer No. 6 in a previous performance.

“We are having fun with it,” Severt said. “It’s going really well.”

Cast members, including Severt, Gegel, Musselman and Salon Gegel said that their director, Tim Smith, has been a great director this year and is someone they will miss, as they graduate this spring.

“Smitty rocks,” Salon Gegel said. “This is the best musical I’ve seen Wapak do.”

She said he brought a whole new perspective in.

“He added the piece that we never could fill,” Salon Gegel said.

“It’s my first year, and I’ve been so pleased with how well the kids worked, especially to have someone new and they accepted me and worked their tails off,” director Tim Smith said. “I’m thrilled with their work ethic.”

Smith said since this was his first year, he wanted to switch things up, and let the students have fun with what they are doing, so he selected a comedy.

“In the past, we have heavier musicals,” Smith said, “and this year, I said ‘let’s have fun.’ ”

As it is Smith’s first year directing, he wanted the students to do a comedic musical.

“I’m really pleased with the turnout,” Smith said. “It’s a slow process to start because you have to learn the music.”

A road block Smith ran into was the fact the student had to move the musical dates up, as the original dates conflicting with band students’ trip to New York.

“We had half as much time to build,” Smith said. “We had last week to be on set. The most challenging part was that Music and More was at the end of March, so we couldn’t set up. We had to wait until it was over to build it, so we built it over spring break.”

He said that during the last two weeks of rehearsals, the production really came together.

Amy Wiles said she had fun performing in the comedic musical, as she played Lady Merril.

“We do our best to help the prince get married, so we can,” Wiles said of the roles of her character.

Wiles commented while she does not have a huge role in the play, her character along with others add a spice of laughter for the audience.

“They’re not huge parts, just side roles, but they are funny,” Wiles said. “There is a lot of comedy involved.”

She said her favorite part about her character is that she passes out on stage, and it is funny.

With this being the last production for seniors, Musselman and Salon Gegel said they felt pretty good.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Musselman said.

Salon said it might be a little bittersweet.

“I’m just enjoying each show,” Salon Gegel said prior to Saturday’s evening performance, “but it might hit me on Sunday.”