On March 22 through March 25, Wrangler Theater put on their 7th annual musical, Violet, directed by theater and theater technology teacher, Mr. Cotton, and assistant director, senior Dylan Rusley.
Based on The Ugliest Pilgrim by Doris Betts, the musical is about Violet, (Tyler Coomes) a young girl who is on her way to get a terrible scar that she received by an axe, healed by a famous preacher and faith healer.
On her way to Tulsa, she encounters many interesting faces while on the bus to her destination. On one of the rest stops, Violet encounters two young men, Flick (Sam Danielson) and Monty (Dalton Cameron). Flick and Monty become very significant characters in the story, caught in a sort of a love triangle, both competing for Violet's love. Violet soon takes note of all her experiences in her sacred journal.
Once Violet reaches Tulsa, she’s greeted by the Preacher (Trevor Gonzalez). Violet begs him to heal her scar, but he essentially tells her God will do his work when it’s time. Distraught, Violet says her prayers to the herself after losing all hope in the Preacher and herself. Realizing her scar will stay forever, she goes back to see Flick, where she eventually gets healed, not physically, but spiritually.
What was very interesting about the musical was that it switched between time periods. It would shift from the present to past. Sometimes, it would even show present Violet and young Violet (Katie Bell) interacting with each other. This gave the musical a way to tell the history of her character, without explicitly telling us what happened, which was a very creative move.
Some high points during the show included: the church choir singing with Lula Buffington (Kylie Willingham), belting out such ridiculous notes that it made the theater feel like an actual church; Flick persuading Violet to “Let it Sing” in his unforgettable solo; and finally, Violet’s incredibly emotional solo of “Look at Me,” that definitely gave goosebumps to the audience.
Senior Tyler Coomes did such a wonderful job capturing the essence of Violet. It was almost like Coomes went through the exact same situation Violet went through in the musical. Her acting was amazing and her voice was heavenly.
Not to mention, junior Katie Bell gave such a great performance by showing the innocence and vulnerability of young Violet. Her dysfunctional relationship with Father (Michael Jati) is such a powerful one and one that can relate to many young girls (besides the axing part).
The addition of the church Ensemble added some extra light to the musical, giving such an energetic feel and happiness to the slightly dismal story.
Although full of incredible songs and acting, the only issue was that the music was slightly overpowering. It was a little hard to hear some of the actors sing while the band was playing. Especially when the actors were singing some of the low notes.
Overall, Violet was an exceptional musical that provided the audience with the messages of self-acceptance and determination. With such marvelous actors and singers, it’ll be hard to say goodbye to the seniors who performed in their last production with Wrangler Theater; however, it was a spectacular play with memorable characters who will be cherished forever.