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CHS grads continue love of theater in college

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Clackamas High School grads Blake Cranston and Jorie Jones star in the 2010 CHS production of in Les Miserables as Marius and Eponine.Clackamas High School grads Blake Cranston and Jorie Jones can’t get too much of the theater.

After starring in the CHS production of "Les Miserables" as Marius and Eponine, they went to Central Washington University, where they’ve remained active on the stage. Cranston was on a baseball team with Jones’ brother, so they’ve been good friends since they were in Clackamas County elementary schools.

At Central Washington, both are on their way to musical-theater bachelor degrees in fine arts. Cranston played Sebastian, and Jones was part of the set and props crew in Shakespeare's last play known for its magic and exotic locale.

After the run of “The Tempest” that attracted 300 to 400 people a show earlier this month, the two will perform in “The Red Curtain Revue” from Nov. 29 to Dec. 1. They’ll be part of an ensemble cast working to introduce songs from various musicals.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Blake Cranston is in costume as Sebastian, while Jorie Jones is wearing her black clothing as part of the set and props crew in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest,' which ran at Central Washington University earlier in November.“It’s one of those shows you have to see to really believe,” Cranston said. “There are numbers that people will recognize and some that they’ve never heard of.”

It’s tough to get a role as an underclassman both at CWU and CHS. Jones said her high school experience prepared her for the rigors of college and the real-world disappointments of not always being cast for shows.

“It has been such a pleasure to take a step back from being on stage and doing some work behind it,” Jones said. “Clackamas definitely prepared me for the rigors of CWU because, unlike many high school theater programs, CHS was difficult to get in to.”

Cranston remembers “Les Mis” as a “really ambitious production” for a high school, but it attracted packed houses and has paid off to remain his favorite production of those that he has been in so far. As Marius, Cranston had a memorably tender moment with Jones’ character.

“When she was dying, I made it my mission to send a letter to my girlfriend Cosette,” Cranston said. “It was interesting in the respect that I’ve never had to deal with something of that magnitude before of having a best friend die in my arms.”

“Red Curtain Revue” promises an evening of Broadway favorites, spotlighting student singing, dancing and acting skills in a variety of scenes, solos and excerpts from musical theatre at 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinèe.

For more information about the upcoming show, or to buy tickets, visit cwu.edu/theatre.