West Point’s theater department performed Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” in the spring. Shown left to right: Wardrobe (Jamie Myers), Cogsworth (Brendan Williamson), Chip (Parker Lawrence), Mrs. Potts (Kim Harbison) and Lumiere (Micah Coucke) get ready for dinner. (Tribune file photo)
WEST POINT – West Point High School theater students and faculty are excited to begin the new school year, and the community is brimming with interest in this year’s school musical production. This school year brings some changes to the theater department, with the husband and wife team of Jimmy and Kim Harbison as directors and Mrs. Harbison teaching the musical theater elective class during the school day. The Harbisons plan to continue the school musical theater program begun by former director Ty Parker. The Harbisons assisted Parker, along with filling the roles of Maurice and Mrs. Potts in last year’s production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
West Point High School Principal Heith Yearwood commented, “We are very blessed to have Jimmy and Kim Harbison involved again this year. They were major contributors last year in the production and even had big acting roles in the play.”
Yearwood said he believes the students will continue to build on the great things that the theater department has done in recent years. He encourages the community to continue to come out and support the arts program at West Point.
“Through the generosity of the community, our school was able to start a program from scratch two years ago and has gone from there to having multiple shows performed by three casts last year.” Yearwood added, “The future is bright for our performing arts program at West Point High, and we cannot wait to see the opportunities that it will provide our students.”
The school’s spring musical production of Disney’s “Newsies” is now in the planning stages. Auditions are set for Sept. 1. Students at West Point are excited about the upcoming production.
Senior Joshua Couch, who played LeFou in last year’s production, said, “This year I believe our upcoming season will be the most extravagant season yet! The group has grown so much over the past two years, and our talent is here now as much as ever. I hope you come out to see ‘Newsies’ this year!”
Junior Sarah Hudson, who played the role of Belle in last year’s show, said she was blessed to perform under the direction of Parker, and while Parker will be missed at West Point, “There is no one as fit to take his position as Mr. and Mrs. Harbison.” Hudson added, “Their choice to do ‘Newsies’ has the whole school excited and will lead to a large growth in the arts department. I cannot wait to perform under their direction this year.”
Senior Brendan Williamson, who played Cogsworth, agrees with Couch and Hudson.
“I’m very excited to be a part of the theater to carry out the amazing thing we have going on at West Point. I have a lot of confidence in Jimmy and Kim Harbison. I feel that they can take West Point theater to newer and better heights,” said Williamson. “There’s no one better fit for this job than them. Last year they put a lot of time and effort into the play. They both believe in all of us, and they’ll do anything they can to make sure we have a very successful program!”
In addition to the spring musical production, the theater department is planning a couple of dinner theater nights at the school to raise funds for this year’s musical as it showcases the talents of the students. These events will feature various skits and song selections performed by theater students.
The Harbisons are looking forward to a great year and a successful show next spring.
“We have a tremendous amount of talent in our students here at West Point and a growing amount of interest in the arts, and we are blessed to be a part of this endeavor.”