The Eagle Dispatch

The Student News Site of Woodrow Wilson High School

The Eagle Dispatch

The Eagle Dispatch

    Opening the Curtain to Opening Night

    Karen Akers
    Pictured: Mia Houck as Jane Porter and Cohen Shrader as Tarzan.

    Opening night for Woodrow Wilson High School’s Theatre performance of Disney’s “Tarzan” was completed on Friday, Feb. 23, at seven o’clock in the auditorium. Jerri Stack, director, explains that she was overjoyed by the magnitude of the performance.

    In addition to opening night, the group performed both Saturday and Sunday shows. Throughout the course of this week, the cast will also be presenting to local schools across the area, including Beckley Stratton and Park Middle School. Roughly 4,000 students are estimated to be in attendance.    

    The story of Disney’s “Tarzan” is set in the 19th century and is based on the book, “Tarzan Man Of The Apes” by Edgar Rice Burroughs. Senior Ava Swartz, Tarzan’s Human Mother and Gorilla, describes the main premise of the play, “The key concept of Tarzan is about finding where you belong. It’s a story about finding who you are in both society as well as who you are to yourself.”

    Cohen Shrader, who plays the role of Tarzan, relays his excitement for other schools to see the work and dedication of the class performed on stage, “School shows have always had a special place in my heart. With a younger audience comes a more vibrant audience, and that makes a world of a difference.” Always loving the art of theatrics, Cohen is proud to represent his school with such a big part. While difficult at times, Cohen admits that he would not give up being on stage for anything.  

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    After each performance, the cast always exits first for a meet and greet in the lobby. Seniors make posters as a reflection of their years spent in the auditorium. Mia Houck, one of 12 seniors and actor of Jane Porter, expresses great joy for being in the program. “The three years I have done theatre at WWHS will always be one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had here. From the friends we make to the shows we perform, I have loved every bit of it.”

    In order to prepare for a total of ten shows, students were required to stay late after school, rehearse on weekends, and practice at home. Each costume and set piece was made by the hands of the community. Woodrow’s Honors Chemistry and Honors Physics teacher, Mrs. Mary-Jo Snow, served as the director for costume making with assistance from Ms. Erica Hampton, Ms. Jessica Snow, and Mr. Steve Stack. This year, the challenge of building their own sets was accepted, as Academy of Careers and Technology hand-constructed all pieces.  Mr. Shane Treadway and Mr. Daniel Harper were the instructors of the course responsible.  

    A total of three public viewings will once again be presented this weekend: Friday, March 1 at seven o’clock, Saturday, March 2 at seven o’clock, and Sunday, March 3 at two o’clock. Ticket sales are exclusively online through popular website, “” Due to Woodrow being unable to attend a school showing, a free, one-time ticket will be available to students at the door.

     The best way to support Woodrow’s theatre company is viewing performances.

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    About the Contributor
    Landon Skeens
    Landon Skeens, Editor-Chief
    A current junior at Woodrow Wilson High School, Landon Skeens serves as Editor of the Eagle Dispatch. Throughout his time at the school, he has enjoyed many extracurriculars: drama club, theatre, newspaper, band, and chorus. However, the arts have always remained a constant in his life. During moments of freedom, Landon can be found reading psychological thrillers or classic works of literature. If you ever need to find him, don't worry just look for an iced coffee-filled Stanley. "Writing is tremendously important to me. It is not only an expression of myself but a physical manifestation of years of work, slowly improving my craft. The written has much power, influencing the reader’s perspective of topics.”
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