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The La Salle Falconer

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La Salle Theater Department Premieres the First Ever High School Production of the Musical Prometheus

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  • The La Salle Theater will be holding three more performances; Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m.

  • The opening night of La Salle’s performance of “Prometheus,” a musical written and composed by Michael Allen Harrison, was on Friday, April 19. The leads of the musical consist of senior Angelina Lopez, junior Bailey Fronk, and senior Isabella Sulloway-Ferreras.

  • Prometheus talking to the humans.

  • Hermes sitting on Zeus’ throne.

  • Prometheus protecting the humans.

  • Prometheus in distress, chained to a rock on a mountaintop.

  • The humans, now grown up, setting out to find and rescue Prometheus.

  • Pandora holding one of the humans.

  • Hermes taunting Hope and Prometheus while Hope is held hostage.

  • Prometheus being captured and imprisoned for stealing fire from the gods and giving it to humans.

  • Prometheus holding the goddess of hope.

  • Prometheus staring defiantly at Hermes.

  • Hope comforting an imprisoned Prometheus.

  • Hermes in distress.

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The idea for Prometheus, La Salle’s spring musical, began long before La Salle’s opening night, as Michael Allen Harrison first conceptualized this production before 2005.

It all started with an interest in mythology.

“Well, I’ve always been fascinated by Greek mythology, and I’ve just always loved the characters,” said Michael Allen Harrison, director, composer, and co-writer of “Prometheus.” He, as a kid, was captivated by “Prometheus Unbound” and “Prometheus Bound”, both dramas about Prometheus and his role in the Greek tales.

In addition to a love of mythology, Harrison quickly found a love for acting. As an underclassman in high school, he played Ensemble in “No, No, Nanette.” His junior year, he was cast as Bernardo from “West Side Story,” and his senior year, he played John Adams in the musical “1776.”

It didn’t take long for Harrison’s love of Greek mythology and musical theater to combine into an idea for a full-blown musical.

Around 2005, he was in Dutch Harbor, Alaska, doing an artisan residence at a high school when he met David Bates, the co-writer of Prometheus, who was on a teaching sabbatical. 

Within a few months, Bates had created a script, and the two were able to work together on songs. By 2009, they were ready to premiere the first version of their musical in Portland. 

This first production was more libretto, meaning the lyrics were sung rather than spoken. At the time, the script wasn’t nearly complete, as that took another decade or so. 

In time, Michael Allen Harrison and David Bates were ready to perform Prometheus as a completed musical. “I think the delivery of its message [is] a lot stronger,” Harrison said, explaining the differences between his first production and the completed version. “I think that’s the main thing.”

Harrison released an opportunity to high schools in the Portland area to apply for a chance to premiere Prometheus. La Salle applied, “and, it just so happened that they felt like, with our proposal of what we could be capable of doing, that La Salle was the best fit,” Theater Teacher and Director Michael Shelton said.

Shelton and Harrison had actually met three times before Prometheus — mostly through theater based projects, but they had an idea of who each other were. Shelton remarked that these acquaintances may have helped in working together to prepare for the musical.

La Salle had been working on some other musicals at the time, but they didn’t end up working out. Because of this, the theater department saw “Prometheus” as a perfect opportunity, educationally and theatrically, as students were able to be the first to develop their characters and story.

One main preparation for the show included understanding the characters. As La Salle hosted the world premiere, the first ever full production of Prometheus, the cast didn’t have a past performance to base their portrayals off of.

As Collin Olsen, an alum who was hired to make a documentary about Prometheus, points out, because the script is flexible, the cast has really been able to create their own characters. “When I first read the script, it was a totally different tone than what’s on stage now, which is really cool, because I think that all of these actors are so smart about what the audience will enjoy,” Olsen said.

One of those cast members was the lead in Prometheus, senior Angelina Lopez.

Lopez didn’t originally wish to be Prometheus, and instead was planning on trying out for Hope, Atlanta, or Pandora. However, at the last minute, she decided to go for it. Now she’s glad she stepped up and got the part. 

Lopez always loved to sing and be in plays. In middle school, she played a part in “Lion King Jr.” and “Fiddler on the Roof.” She originally watched her school’s production of “Hairspray” and felt great regret at not taking part in it. This inspired her future, making the most of the theatrical opportunities that present themselves to her.

“I just want to say how grateful I am for everyone involved with the show,” Lopez said. “I don’t think anyone … can truly understand how much work is put into one show.”

Helping people who aren’t immediately connected to the La Salle theater program understand the dedication is exactly what Olsen is trying his best to do.

Olsen, an alum of La Salle, is working to create a documentary highlighting all the work that theater students put in every day in preparation for Prometheus. La Salle hired him to make this documentary to promote the theater department.

Olsen has been at every practice, shooting around an hour to an hour and a half of footage each day. Although, he plans his final video report to be only around 45 minutes. “… In the end, I will rearrange all of those clips into something watchable,” Olsen said.

The documentary will be used to also promote “Prometheus” for other schools and beyond, in addition to promoting La Salle’s Theater Department.

“My favorite part was seeing what everyone else contributed to each show,” Olsen said.

Olsen’s trailer of Prometheus can be viewed online. Additionally, tickets for the next show dates can be bought on the La Salle website. Upcoming productions are Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m., Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m., and a matinée on Sunday, April 28 at 5 p.m..

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