‘Reach 4 It’: A musical with something to say for us all

Just three shows left for “Reach 4 It.”

The Hood River Valley High School Performing Arts Department and writer director Mark Steighner deserve a big round of applause for this moving, humorous, thought-provoking story.

Individual characters’ feelings and motivations are rendered clearly in this story of how a group of strangers changes from competitors to friends in the context of an ego-laden televised talent show.

Not that everyone chooses a path of friendship and virtue, and there is no formulaic wrapping up of conflict and disappointment. But the audience is left with a sense of hope.

Further, the overall production is a true group effort, a product of hard work not just by the student performers but also students and adults backstage and handling lights, sound, costumes, and other critical aspects of the musical.

Steighner wrote the musical this summer. It’s a blend of satire and drama, shown through a lens of current events and our modern “idol” worship of sudden stardom.

“I was fairly apprehensive about how people would react to it, that it would make sense to people; but people seem to like it,” Steighner said.

In a way, the community has a luxury with an HRVHS musical: the comparatively long run 10 shows is about seven more than are staged at most high schools.

If you’ve seen the show once, you might consider attending again, Friday and Saturday nights and Saturday afternoon.

With any production you never really see the same show twice. Characters evolve and, since this is Steighner’s own original, he and the actors can make any changes they want from one show to the next.

“Any show is a work in progress, and if it isn’t there’s something wrong,” Steighner said.

He tells his young performers to put everything they can into every performance, no matter the size of the audience. “You never know who you’re going to touch or reach in that little audience. It could be that person’s moment to really connect with something and make a difference,” Steighner said.

In short, as the theme song says, “You’ve-got-to-got-to-got-to reach for it.”

In turn, the community can make a difference in the lives of the community members, students included, who have dedicated so many hours to the production.

Check out “Reach 4 It.” It’s a fun and rewarding night of theater.

Flags lowered: Officer Robert Libke

Gov. John Kitzhaber has ordered all flags at public institutions to be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Thursday, Nov. 14, in honor of Officer Robert Libke.

“I ask Oregonians across the state to join me in honoring the bravery and sacrifice of Officer Robert Libke,” said Kitzhaber. “Though we mourn the loss of Officer Libke, and send our prayers to his family and friends, we know that his courage and deep commitment to Oregon City will not be forgotten.”

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