March 20, 2024

CC’s ‘Dogfight’ builds on last year’s successful musical production

The musical “Dogfight” will run April 16-April 19 with four evening performances at Brooks Theatre on the Raymond Campus.
BY: Cathy Hayden

RAYMOND – Following the success of last year’s revival of musical theatre, the Fine Arts Department will again produce a spring musical that combines the talents of theatre, dance, band, choir and music industry into one cohesive performance.

The musical “Dogfight” will run April 16-April 19 with four evening performances at Brooks Theatre on the Raymond Campus. Director of Theatre Alison Stafford and Marc Rivet, in his second year as Piano and Music Industry Instructor, will once again team up on the production. Among students in the cast are those in Stafford’s Lendon Players theatre group and others in Fine Arts programs who auditioned.

Last spring’s show “The Spitfire Grill” “was the most successful theatrical production at Hinds” in at least 25 years, Stafford said.

“The current goal is to do a regular play each fall, and a musical each spring. To that end, we offered a new class in fall 2023 to help introduce interested students to the world of musical theatre called Musical Theatre Workshop,” she said. “There were close to 20 students in that class! The plan is to offer that class every fall to help students prepare for the musical in the spring.”

Like with “The Spitfire Grill,” “Dogfight” is utilizing live musicians backstage under Rivet’s direction. It will include six musicians total, with the drummer and guitar player being music students. Landon Murin, of Hattiesburg, is involved with choir, rock band, and jazz combo; he was also the guitarist for “The Spitfire Grill” last spring. Dylan Stanley, of Raymond, is the drummer. He is involved in marching band, rock band, jazz band, jazz combo, steel band, percussion ensemble and choir.

“ ‘The Spitfire Grill’ offered a certain intimacy due to its small cast size and orchestration. We are very excited to be putting on a larger production with a larger cast and orchestra,” Rivet said. “Although ‘Dogfight’ has some incredibly heartbreaking slow songs like ‘Pretty Funny,’ this show is filled with high-energy numbers like ‘Some Kinda Time’ and ‘Hey Good Lookin’ ’ that invoke the blues and rock influence of the 1960s.”

Based on the Warner Bros. film with screenplay by Bob Comfort, “Dogfight” is a hauntingly beautiful musical showing the journey of “a young soldier [who] learns the power of compassion when he plays a cruel joke on an unsuspecting girl,” according to the Music Theatre International website mtishows.com. The show is set in November 1963 and features three young Marines who “set out for one final boys’ night of debauchery, partying and maybe a little trouble” before being deployed to Vietnam.

The show features music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul. Pasek and Paul wrote the music for musicals such as “Dear Evan Hansen,” “The Greatest Showman” and “La La Land.”

The student cast and crew

Gavin Standish of Vicksburg is playing the male lead, U.S Marine, Private First Class, EDDIE BIRDLACE.

Alayna McDonald of Raymond is playing the female lead, diner waitress, ROSE FENNY.

Vance Woodall of Brandon is playing U.S. Marine, Private First Class, BERNSTEIN.

Amari Jordan of Pearl is playing U.S. Marine, Private First Class, BOLAND.

Taylor Harris of Pearl is playing MARCY, a brash, crass, nearly toothless prostitute.

Mack Talley of Florence is playing not too bright, U.S. Marine, Private, FECTOR.

Reno Kane of New Orleans is playing rather cocky U.S. Marine, Private First Class, STEVENS.

Bryceton Thomas of Clinton is playing U.S. Marine, Private First Class, GIBBS.

Camryn Harris of Byram is playing Rose’s mother, MAMA.

Alli Henry of Madison is playing several roles, two of which include Native American party guest, RUTH TWO BEARS and CHIPPY, a tired prostitute.

Jameson Williams of Brandon is also playing several roles which include civilian PETE, a U.S. Marine SERGEANT, a WAITER & BIG TONY the tattoo artist.

Adayah Wood of Jackson is playing several roles in the ENSEMBLE.

Destiny Lloyd of Lena is playing several roles in the ENSEMBLE.

Whitney Southam of Flowood is the STAGE MANAGER.

Paige Southam of Flowood is the LIGHTBOARD OPERATOR

Caleb Thomas of Jackson is the SOUND ENGINEER.