Tel: (+353) 53 9377308

“BACK TO THE 80’s”

[Written by Anna Dillon]

F.C.J. Bunclody has a legacy of producing musicals of an excellent standard dating back to the first ever show performed in public, “The Mikado” in 1968.  This year’s production of “Back to the 80’s” was no different.    Set in the USA, the show tells the story of the senior graduation class of William Ocean High School, narrated by the now thirty-something years old, Corey Palmer.   The musical depicts Corey’s final year in school with elections for class president, hopes of driving, Star Wars, video gaming, and finding the perfect date for the prom.

The first auditions were held way back in September.   Mr. Dale Hennessy, Mr. Tomás Earls (Producer) & Ms. Gemma Grant (Choreographer) put the students through their paces and had a very tough job choosing the cast.   But soon the decisions were made and rehearsals began.  The students had very little time to get ready compared to other schools and musical societies, with only the best part of five weeks to prepare!   The Producer, Mr. Earls, worked tirelessly staging the musical while helping the cast to get into character, to build up their confidence, and, of course, to learn lines.

Thursdays and Fridays were dedicated to dancing.   Ms. Grant also had her work cut out for her with such a short time to choreograph and teach the dances to the 4th and 5th year choruses.

Singing was in the capable hands of Mr. Hennessy.   There was over 20 songs in the show, which all had to be made perfect,         including three musical numbers that involved the entire cast:  “Man in the Mirror”, “We Are the World”, and the finale, “Time of Our Lives/Celebration”.   The students and staff involved gave up their own time to rehearse on weekends and after school to make the musical the best it could be.

The incredible work done behind the scenes cannot be ignored.   While rehearsals were taking place, Ms. Gail Connolly and her dedicated team painted the sets to an extremely high standard, Ms. Catherine Doyle and a group of 6th Years worked backstage       organising props and changing scenes and past pupil, Mr. Kevin McEvoy, worked with a small group of students on lighting and sound.

The final dress rehearsal took place on Sunday night, October 18th, and once it was over we knew it was show time!   We performed seven shows in total, including three matinee performances for local primary schools and four evening performances for the public.

The shows were a success to say the least with the cast receiving standing ovations every night.   But the musical was also a great success for those involved on a personal level.  It was most              people’s first time on stage, and it was a fantastic experience.   It was great to see people coming out of their shell and making new friends with their new found confidence.   Sixty five students           appeared on stage with 70 more working behind the scenes.   We are also very proud to say that 30 members of staff worked on the show.   I should be giving you a critique of each of the leads but they were all the same—amazing and fantastic, well done to each of them and to the choruses who were outstanding.   When the  curtain came down on the last night everyone knew that they had put on a show that not only the audiences loved, but that the late Mr. Pat Connaughton would have been so proud of.   It was clear to see that everyone really did have…..“the time of their lives.”

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FCJ Secondary School,
Co. Wexford
Tel: (+353)53-9377308
App: FCJ Bunclody