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Scoundrels at Heritage
Con artists in the French Riviera plotting to out-do each other is what’s happening on stage at a Port Moody high school this week.
Some 34 musical theatre students in Grades 9 to 12 at Heritage Woods secondary are performing in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, adapted from the movie starring Steve Martin, Michael Caine and Glenne Headly.
Taking on Freddy Benson is Grade 11 student Nathan Satore. The 16-year-old triple threat, who next month will appear in the Royal City Musical Theatre production of Oklahoma! at the Massey Theatre in New Westminster, auditioned for the Martin role “because he’s kind of laid back and fun and it suits my personality.”
Paul S. Jon, 17, wanted the Caine part of Lawrence Jamieson “because he’s suave,” said the Grade 12 student who last year was cast as Le Fou in Beauty and the Beast at Heritage Woods.
And Lindbjerg Academy student Hayley Perkins is the object of their affections. She went for the character of Christine Colgate because “she is such a complex person. I don’t want to give anything away but when I saw the show at the Playhouse Theatre a few years back, I really wanted to play her. She’s fantastic.”
The trio was on a student committee last spring that picked Dirty Rotten Scoundrels to produce for the following season.
Theatre teacher Shanda Walters said the group liked the music “and the fact that it’s really fun. We haven’t done anything quite like this before.
“It’s silly and entertaining,” she said.
The stage musical that opened on Broadway eight years ago — starring John Lithgow — is based on the 1988 flick of the same name. The narrative follows Jamieson, a British con man who seduces rich women and steals their money. His nemesis is Benson, an American who eventually becomes his partner in crime.
The two make a bet to see who can be the first to con $50,000 out of a woman, which the audience knows as Christine who portrays a naive and wealthy American heiress. But they sabotage each other’s plots in order to woo Christine, who it turns out is playing the fleecing game herself in the south of France.
Walters said her musical theatre class agreed that the show is all about connection. “These three characters don’t have a community because they are con artists but they find each other and somehow make a community,” she said. “And that’s sort of what all of us want in the end: A place to belong.”
• Dirty Rotten Scoundrels runs at Heritage Woods secondary (1300 David Ave., Port Moody) from Thursday to Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The show includes a live orchestra directed by Ingrid Gay. Choreography is by Melissa Medalla and lighting is by Nate Kelly. Tickets at $12/$10 are available at the door.