LAKE FOREST – Nearly 75 years ago, Daily Planet reporters Lois Lane and Clark Kent made their debut in the pages of DC Comics, kicking off decades of Superman fandom – and the superhero’s depiction in television, radio, films and more.
One of those lifelong fans, El Toro High School drama teacher Dan Blackley, has waited 18 years to put on a show featuring the classic American superhero.
If you go
A silent auction, one of the Drama Department’s biggest annual fundraisers, will be held in conjunction with Friday night’s performance. Also, lead characters will sign autographs for children after each show.
When: 7 p.m. Wednesday through March 23
Where: El Toro High School, 25255 Toledo Way, Lake Forest
Cost: $10 for students; $12 adults; tickets available online and at the door
Information, tickets: ethsdrama.com.
Starting Wednesday, the legendary comic book characters will appear on stage at El Toro High in a production of a short-lived 1966 Broadway musical, “It’s A Bird… It’s A Plane… It’s Superman!” directed by Blackley.
Blackley said he has put off directing the musical because of its technical challenges, but a burst of recent cultural enthusiasm for comic book superheroes – reflected in the success of “The Avengers,” and the “Spiderman,” and “Ironman” franchises among other films – spurred him to slate the performance for 2013, the 75th anniversary of the first Superman comic.
“All the characters people know and love from the Metropolis comic strip are in the show: Lex Luthor and the villains try to defeat Superman; intrepid reporter Lois Lane and her sidekick Jimmy Olsen try to help the Man of Steel regain his powers and save the city from destruction,” Blackley said.
“It’s the biggest show I’ve ever put on at El Toro,” he said. “We have 43 students in the cast alone.”
About 80 students are involved in the all-school musical, and auditions were open to the whole campus.
El Toro High senior football player Alec Shoffeitt, 18, tried out with friends “just to say we had tried out for a musical.” He snagged the lead role.
Shoffeitt said he has been perfecting his higher-pitched Clark Kent voice.
“I hope little kids will be happy they got to see Superman,” he said. “It should be something they’ll remember.”
Lauren Meyering, 17, will play Lois Lane, who Meyering said is independent in every facet of her life, except when it comes to Superman.
“She’s the classic comic book heroine,” Meyering said.
Freshman Kyle Monte will play Olsen, Lane’s inexperienced but eager shutterbug.
“Jimmy Olsen is a very shy kid, but very enthusiastic,” Monte said.
Special effects throughout the “Superman” show set it apart from other drama productions, said senior Amanda Koppe, 18, who landed the role of villainous professor Amanda McCoy.
“This is a comic book come to life,” she said.
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