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'La Election' opens Thursday

LOHS students put together a play based on female-dominated society

REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Danielle Smith and Noah VanderVeer-Harris run through a scene in 'La Election.'Sorry, guys. Ever since Hillary Clinton was elected in 2016, the leader of the free world has been a woman. In fact, it's been unheard of for a man to even run in a U.S. presidential election in the late 21st century — at least until liberal Phillip Harley dared to challenge moderate Emily Davis and conservative Sky Johnson.

That’s how Lake Oswego High School seniors Hannah Rosenbloom, Danielle Smith and their classmates have set up the future in “La Election,” a product of the Musical Theater Workshop class. The class previously has involved students organizing a revue or composing their own work.

“We were brainstorming ideas in class and decided the story of an election would be really exciting,” Smith says.

The current race to take the commander in chief’s seat was the inspiration for the student-written show, Smith says.

“We just grabbed the idea and ran with it,” Rosenbloom says.

Opening this Thursday and running through Saturday at LOHS, the comedic work features an eclectic selection from popular musicals, with accompaniment by pianist Signe Lusk, including: “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me” from “Rocky Horror Picture Show”; “Tonight” from “West Side Story”; “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” from “The Book of Mormon”; and “Anything You Can Do,” first performed in “Annie Get Your Gun.” There’s even a tap number to “Anything Goes” to open Act II, with many students stepping into shiny shoes with metal plates on the soles for the first time.REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - DaVonte Lindsey plays a man breaking into a female-dominated society to become president.

Rosenbloom and Smith collaborated with their classmates to shape a plot rife with romance around their favorite Broadway tunes.

“There’s a lot of drama — and a lot of love interests,” says Julia Donahue, an LOHS junior, who plays a reporter named Nancy McCloud who’s smitten with a presidential candidate. “It’s an entertaining show.”

Rosenbloom plays Davis, with Smith as her faithful campaign manager — cue “You and Me (But Mostly Me)” — while sophomore Maya “Slim” Hudson takes on the role of Johnson and senior DaVonté Lindsey embodies Harley, the man who seeks to lead a female-dominated society.

“I was raised with my mom,” Lindsey says. “So I’m used to girls ruling; I was raised to respect ladies. It was strange to be saying, ‘Men rule. Let’s take back the reins, guys.’”

Rosenbloom says it’s worth catching the musical because students have invested a great deal of themselves.

“It’s more work and passion from us than we’re going to give when it’s someone else’s show,” she says. “It’s our work. It’s our blood, sweat and tears.”

It’s also a last chance to catch seniors such as Noah VanderVeer-Harris, who will perform as Harley’s campaign manager. He’s loved his experience with the Laker drama program.REVIEW PHOTO: VERN UYETAKE - Julia Donahue, an LOHS junior, who plays a reporter named Nancy McCloud who's smitten with a presidential candidate. 'It's an entertaining show,' Donahue says.

“Drama’s been an amazing experience, and I’m excited to pursue it,” says VanderVeer-Harris, who will be majoring in theater and dance at University of California, Davis. “This has been a good way to set me up for a lifetime of fun in the theater.”

LOHS drama teacher Bob McGranahan says the Musical Theater Workshop class got cut last year because not enough students forecast that they’d take it, but it returned this year. McGranahan, who is directing “La Election,” brought 20 students to the front office to demonstrate interest to bring the workshop back next year because he says forecast numbers were lower than the number of students who were actually interested.

He says people should support the drama program and “come out and see the show.”

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
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When: 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, May 26-28

Where: Lake Oswego High School 2501 Country Club Road

Cost: $10 for general admission and $5 for students and seniors