‘Back to the ‘80s’: THS presents musical comedy this weekend


TUPELO – With a cast of characters named Alf, Huey, Michael, Cyndi and Tiffany, and a soundtrack that includes “You Give Love a Bad Name,” “Footloose” and “Total Eclipse of the Heart” it’s easy to guess when the new Tupelo High School musical is set.

“Back to the ‘80s” is the story of the senior class at the fictional William Ocean High School, complete with a Rubik’s Cube-like set, big hair and leggings.

“It’s a completely cliche ‘80s plotline, and it’s fun,” said sophomore Kaitlin Flowers, who plays Laura.

The musical comedy has it all: two teens who say they’re dating Don Johnson and Anthony Michael Hall, a student who wants to be Michael Jackson, and a boy who doesn’t make enough money for his “Material Girl” girlfriend, and more.

The students even got together to watch ‘80s teen movies to get in the spirit.

That helped, said director Allana Austin, since the cast members weren’t even born until the mid-’90s.

“They knew about half the songs. Some they’d never heard of,” she said. “But they knew the fashion.”

It’s junior J.J. Garcia’s first play at THS, and he plays Corey – a nod to Haim and Feldman.

“He’s just an average kid. He worries about what everybody thinks about him, and he’s trying to get the love of his life,” Garcia said.

That’s something he can relate with.

“It’s funny,” he said. “Times are different, but they’re also the same.”

Flowers has had fun poofing her hair to create an authentic ‘80s style and wearing blue eyeshadow.

“It’s fun if you were born around the ‘80s,” she said. “It’s great.”

• Dim the lights

What: Tupelo High School presents “Back to the 80s”

When: 7:30 p.m. tonight-Friday, 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Tupelo High School Fine Arts Auditorium

Cost: $5

Info: (662) 840-1841

• “Back to the ‘80s” cast: Wesley Burcham (Mr. Cocker); Melodie Sanchez (Ms. Brannigan); J.J. Garcia (Corey); Christian Bean (Kirk); Matt Maharrey (Alf); Noah Cox (Michael); Trey Bouldin (Lionel); John Michael Phillips (Huey); Katelyn Stieg (Feargel); Austyn Davis (Tiffany); Mary Katherine Howell (Cyndi); Morgan Pannell (Mel); Victoria Wise (Kim); Shannon Shepherd (Eileen); Kaitlin Flowers (Laura); Nicole Strong (Debbie); Ashley Barron, Quintera Berry, Mary Ellen Cobb, Megan Davis, Taylor Green, Nekqua Hughes, Meridan Justice, Morgan King, Pierce Lehman, Morgan Mahin, Meredith McLaurin, Anastasiia Nikiforova, Adam Ward (Students)

Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal