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Spring musical celebrates disco era

Published 6:27pm Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dowagiac’s spring musical, “Disco Inferno,” brings parents closer to their children, who need advice on how to replicate the lurid fashions worn to dance clubs in 1976.

The show features memorable songs of the ’70s era, including “Boogie Nights,” “Celebration” and “Hot Stuff.”

And “Ballroom Blitz,” the 1973 hit by British rock band Sweet, which is decidedly not disco.

The musical is based loosely on the story of Faust, with Abby Schuur as devilish enchantress Lady Marmalade.

Jack (Ben Thompson) so wants to be a rock star he’s willing to sell his soul to become heart-throb Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Jenna Laymon plays his girlfriend, Jane. Both are Union High School seniors.

In a flashback to when The Beatles breakup was announced on April 10, 1970, they meet at the movie “Love Story.”

Tom (Kendall Rogers) is Jack’s nerdish friend. His girlfriend, Maggie, is portrayed by Anna Luthringer. KeyAndre Williams is Heathcliffe, the egotistical singer at the nightclub Disco Inferno. Rachel McLaughlin is Heathcliff’s girlfriend, Kathy.

Band Director C.J. Brooks, the pit boss on keyboards, wasn’t even born until the early ’80s.

Choir Director Jeff Robinson was in middle school in the Mishawaka, Ind., area.

For the bicentennial, his dad got the idea to paint their camper a patriotic red, white and blue.

Disco “is very, very fun to dance to,” Jenna said. “I listen to everything, including classic rock, old country, new country, so I actually knew a lot of the songs. We had to do a lot of research on our own to get the feel of what we needed to wear and how to do our makeup. There were so many specific things we didn’t know. I had to ask my mom a lot of questions, and she had to go with me shopping. She was born in ’64, so she was a teenager in the ’70s.”

“It’s weird,” Ben said, “because it’s in all of our music, even though we don’t realize it. We all know ‘Celebration’ and ‘Play That Funky Music, White Boy.’ It’s hard to relate to at points, bu,t at the same time, it’s not because music is universal. I used my mom, too” for fashion tips.

“I sell my soul to Lady Marmalade to become a famous singer because I’m not happy where I am,” Ben said. “Eventually, the idea fails me, so there’s redemption in the end.”

Jack — Ben Thompson

Jane — Jenna Laymon

Tom — Kendall Rogers

Maggie — Anna Luthringer

Heathcliffe — KeyAndre Williams

Kathy — Rachel McLaughlin

Terry — Zach Davis

Duke — Destin Vongphakdy

Lady Marmalade — Abby Schuur

Nick Diablo — Jeremy Zeilke

Lily (Barman) — Nathan True

Dick Clarke — Matthew McCall

The Priest — Vaughn Herter

Ensemble — Samantha Craft, Caitlyn Reed, Samantha Dowsett, Taylor Liggett, Rachel Lindemulder, Isabel Vazquez, Mercedes Bienz, Lauren Smith, Mary Leversen, Amanda Delong, Anne Zebell, Jessica Burns, Morgan Bonomo, Brianna Hall, Jennifer Schaus, Nicole Irwin, Tenneil Sink, Mary Bonomo, Steven Kruger and Adrian Leversen




Andrea Hatter, Joanna Marhanka, Miroslava Cruz, Allyson Hatter, Landon Clark and Jessica Robison




Meredith Marrs


Dowagiac’s spring musical, “Disco Inferno,” will be performed March 23 at 7 p.m. and March 24 at 2 p.m. at the middle school Performing Arts Center. Tickets cost $5 and are available at the door.



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