Theatre class takes it back to the 80’s


Austin Ikard

STRIKING A POSE: Jason Forst and Javier Lozano perform in a musical number for the show. Forst plays the lead, Corey, a man who goes back in time to relive his high school experience.

Amilia Velez, Entertainment Editor

Bowie Musical Theatre Ensemble showcases their very first student-directed class musical

Lights hit the stage and the audience roars. Cast members scramble backstage to put finishing touches on their hair and makeup. The moment to showcase all of the hard work put in by choreographers, directors, performers, and tech crew had arrived.

The Bowie Musical Theatre Ensemble performed four shows of Back To The ‘80s in the Bowie theatre. The musical centers around the main lead Corey as he reminisces on his senior year of high school. He relives his experiences from class elections to prom. Musical theater teacher, Marco Bazan, describes his inspiration for picking the musical.

“I always try to find musicals, especially class musicals, which feature as many ​students as possible,” Bazan said. “I want to give them acting opportunities they may not always get in our Fine Arts Musical. It’s a fun show that I’ve produced before, so I knew it would be a good time for both the performers and the audience.”

This show had a unique twist that made its mark in the musical theatre class. 

“This was the first class musical that was completely student-directed, designed, and choreographed,” Bazan said. “I was incredibly impressed and proud of what they accomplished.”

Senior Daniel Bamdad was selected to direct and produce the musical alongside his creative team. Bamdad got his start in acting in seventh grade when he performed in his first musical.

“I was always interested in acting just from watching Disney channel,” Bamdad said. “After my mom put me in my first acting class, I immediately knew that performing was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Around sophomore year I discovered directing. I still really enjoy performing, but directing is definitely what I feel stronger in.”

With Bamdad being the first to direct a class musical in Bowie history, he knew that it was important to set a good precedent. 

“I think directing the musical was a very unique experience,” Bamdad said.  “For me, it was a way of storytelling and expression.”

According to Bamdad, the process of directing and planning a show starts by having a vision and getting it down on paper.

 “I like to have the physical movement of the show tell as much of a story as the lines in the script do,” Bamdad said. “It’s definitely a process that takes a lot of work, but it’s very rewarding when you get to see your ideas and concepts come to life on stage.”

After Bamdad had his vision, he got into the details and grunt work needed to pull off the show.

“In some scenes, I knew that I wanted something very specific for blocking/ staging so I would mark up my script before rehearsal,” Bamdad said. “In other scenes, I liked to go by the natural movement of the actors and allow them to contribute to the blocking. Directing is definitely a collaborative effort at times.”

Since none of the cast members personally experienced the ‘80s, a lot of planning had to go into portraying the time period in the correct way. 

“I knew that the audience would include people who grew up and experienced the ‘80s,” Bamdad said. “It was definitely a goal of mine to give them some nostalgia. I was pretty proud of being accurate to the time period with the mannerisms, dance moves, and costumes.”

According to Bamdad, the roles in this show were different from most musicals the class performs. 

“We all played characters our own age which we don’t get to do often,” Bamdad said. “This show also has more featured characters so it was nice to see people get opportunities they haven’t gotten before.”

Along with directing, choreography is an essential part of any production. Junior Emma Flores shared her experience as co-choreographer for the musical. 

“My friend Lucy and I got the opportunity to choreograph a lot of the musical,” Flores said. “We would go through all the musical numbers and decide what we wanted to do. After collaborating on the pieces, we would teach and stage them.”

The musical included many ‘80s pop hits including Total Eclipse of the Heart, Kids in America, Walking on Sunshine, and Love Shack. According to Flores, choreography varies differently in songs and it is important to take into account the rhythm and the message they were trying to portray.

“I was really proud of choreographing Material Girl,” Flores said. “The other choreographer was out and I didn’t have a concrete plan. The number ended up looking really cool on stage.”

The musical theatre class only meets two or three times a week, so the group had to come up with ways to ensure the musical would be ready in time to perform for an audience. The class utilized FIT sessions and after-school practices. Bamdad also had to take on new roles due to some kids dropping out of the class. 

 “Putting on a theatre show is truly a team effort and will only work if everyone is a team player,” Bamdad said. “At the beginning, we only practiced in class, so it forced us to move pretty quickly.”

The spring semester is jam-packed for theatre members. Collectively, they produced senior shows, senior one-acts, and spring shows within the span of a few months.

“Time is always a challenge for any production, but more so with a class production,” Bazan said. “Because we had limited stage time to prepare, it was extra stressful getting it up and running.​ We were able to overcome those obstacles and put on a great show.”

According to Bamdad, a theatre show can only be successful if the cast is bonded. 

“As a group, we really pulled it together,” Bamdad said. “We hyped each other up backstage and really made sure everyone was having a good experience.”

Theatre closes a chapter as Back to the ’80s is one of the last shows for the 2021-2022 school year. Next year the theatre program will experience some shifts as they transition to the new fine arts building.

“Overall I think the show was really successful,” Bamdad said. “It wasn’t perfect, but that was never my goal as a director. My goal for this production was just to make sure the cast and the audience were having fun. I feel like I achieved both and that’s all I could really ask for.”