Students at North Grenville District High School have been pouring their heart and soul into this year’s production of “Loserville”. The musical, which opens in just under a month, is a rock opera based on the album “Welcome to Loserville” from the band, Son of Dork. It follows high school student, Michael Dork, as he tries to invent a way for computers to talk to each other while navigating the complex world of girls and being a teenager. “He is your typical high school nerd,” says Flynn Lystiuk, grade 11, who plays Michael in the musical. “He’s also very endearing, and good looking enough to get the girl.”
“The girl” is Holly, played by grade 12 student, Sam Primeau. Holly is a newcomer at the school who wants people to see her for her brains, rather than her beauty. Her dream is to be the first woman in space. When Michael finds out about this, he wants her help to finish writing his code, as he has been banned from the school’s computer room.
Teacher, Meredith Island, says she stumbled upon the show while looking for a good musical for high school students. “I watched it on YouTube and I fell in love with it,” she says. “I think it was a lot more relatable than the other options.”
Grade 11 student, Emma Thompson, is the stage manager and also plays Yugoslavian exchange student, Ivanka, in the musical. “We wanted something very different from what we’ve done before,” she says.
NGDHS has put on a musical for several years, but this is the first time it hasn’t been a for-credit course. Because of the loss of some key staff members, the school was not able to offer the course this year. When the students found out, they were very disappointed and made it known that they would still like to put on a show. This meant that they had to take over some of the roles that were typically filled by staff members. “It’s nice to see everyone stepping up,” Emma says. “The students that we have are really dedicated, and contribute to the project.”
Although this production is definitely more student-driven than before, Flynn says they couldn’t do any of it without Meredith’s guidance. “It’s a student driven production but, Ms. Island is the leader of leaders,” he says. “The whole reason we are taking initiative as students is because of Ms. Island.”
The 20 cast members meet from 2:30pm to 5:30pm every Wednesday to rehearse, and also get together at lunch and other free time to go over individual scenes. “We’re all working really hard to get it to come together,” Flynn says. They also have some help from NGDHS teacher, Sheryl Hubbard, who is working on choreography with student Kate Breedon, and former student, Morgan Kirkham, is helping Meredith direct.
Meredith says the best part about this year’s production is watching the dedication of the students. “I’m lucky to get to work with these students,” she says. “It’s nice watching everyone’s talents come together to help each other.” The students have their hand in everything, from the costumes and the sets, to the music, which will be played live this year by students on bass guitar, piano, and drums.
NGDHS will welcome the public to two community shows: on Thursday, May 10, at 6:30pm, and Saturday, May 12, at 1:00pm. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children (12 and under).
The students and Meredith will be working hard until then to put together a fun and engaging show for the whole family. “I’m so glad it happened this year,” Emma says, who has been putting every spare minute she has into the musical since November. “I don’t know what I am going to do when it’s over.”