BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. -- Briarcliff High School is attempting to break the mold with the production of its new musical, "The Hired Man."
The musical portrays a working class family affected by the brutal challenges of war and rural life and is set to honor the 100th anniversary of World War I, which broke out in Europe in 1914. The shows are set for 7:30 p.m. March 7 and 8 and 3 p.m. March 9 at Briarcliff High School.
“The Hired Man brings an exciting challenge to our student cast and crew as we pull out all stops to transport our audience to working class rural England during the physical and emotional strife of a world war,” said Director Ian Driver, a classically trained British actor. “We’ve brought in two dialect coaches from New York City to teach the students the Cumbrian accent, from the area of Northern England bordering Scotland where the story takes place.”
Driver added that the script calls for a number of young children, so Briarcliff Manor elementary school children are also participating. In addition, the story includes a racing dog, and a locally owned greyhound will join the cast for added authenticity, representatives said.
Howard Goodall was 26 in 1984 when he composed "The Hired Man." Goodall has been an enthusiastic advocate for the Briarcliff High School production, representatives said.
“If you had told me then that this show, The Hired Man, rather unusual for the time — a full year before Les Miserables opened in London and moved the goalposts somewhat of what a 'musical' might be — would one day be performed in a High School in Westchester, New York, by young people as yet unborn I would have laughed in disbelief," Goodall said. "And yet this is where we are today, by some strange and delightful miracle."
Vocal Coach Regina Leon said she is excited for the production.
“The Hired Man story is truly told through the music — the lyrics are rich, and the themes are haunting and emotional,” said Leon. “The students like to say that the audience will be on an emotional roller coaster.”
Tickets are $15 online at showtix4u.com. Backstage passes are an additional $5 each and can be purchased online or at the performances. A limited numbers of tickets will also be available at the door. For questions about tickets, residents are asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.