Girls just want to have fun at Pullman High School’s ‘Emma’

Reimagined Jane Austen novel comes to life for theater students; Musical uses pop to illustrate youth



Senior Keva Shull, front, plays the role of Emma. She dances while cast members sing along to “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” by Shania Twain during a rehearsal of Pullman High School’s new musical “Emma” on Monday afternoon in the Pullman High School auditorium.

EMMA LEDBETTER, Evergreen reporter

Pullman High School’s drama club, under director Andrew Mielke, will be performing “Emma: A Pop Musical” starting Friday and running through Nov. 16.

The musical is a modern retelling of “Emma,” Jane Austen’s classic novel about a young self-proclaimed matchmaker, senior Lilienne Shore Kilgore-Brown said.

“It’s a fun take on a story everyone’s kind of heard or seen in some way,” Kilgore-Brown said.

Kilgore-Brown said she plays Harriet, a high school sophomore who is one of the subjects of Emma’s matchmaking. She said Emma coaches her character to find romance, but Emma also has a love story of her own.

“It’s kind of a lot of chaotic interweaving of storylines and love stories,” Kilgore-Brown said. “But it’s all set in a prep high school.”

Senior Hunter Clark plays pop star Frankie Churchill in the musical.

“I saw the role of Frankie and I thought it would be hilarious to be a pop star who had all the women fawning over him,” Clark said. “I just like playing a stud.”

The musical also features well-known pop songs, including “Man! I Feel Like A Woman” by Shania Twain and “Girls Just Want To Have Fun” by Cyndi Lauper, among others.

“I think one of the things that drew me to this play … was the songs, they’re all popular,” assistant director Aryn Allen said. “Most of them were made famous by women, and I think that’s a really good representation we need right now.”

Kilgore-Brown said auditions were the first week of September and the cast has been rehearsing for about two hours per day since then to get ready for the upcoming performances.

“[The cast members] all work so hard,” Allen said. “Even in college, I don’t see people work as hard as they do … they’ve given their all.”

Each character in the musical is double-cast, but the casts aren’t kept separate, Kilgore-Brown said. She said she gets to act with almost everyone in the play and performances will look different on different nights because of the two casts.

“It’s really fun because you get to do different characterizations and play off of different quirks of the other people,” Kilgore-Brown said. “It’s really fun to be able to switch things up all the time and do new things.”

Kilgore-Brown said the musical should be enjoyable for everyone, especially because of the pop music.

“This show in particular, it is family-friendly,” Kilgore-Brown said. “There are little love stories but it’s very PG.”

“Emma” will show at 7 p.m. on Nov. 8, 9, 15 and 16, as well as at 2 p.m. on Nov. 9 and 16 in the Pullman High School auditorium. Admission is $5 for students and $10 for everyone else.