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NCOE High School Bringing M*A*S*H the Musical to the Stage this Weekend

While she’s not new to theater, Mrs. Marsha Humphrey has had her work cut out for her turning the NCOE Drama Department into what it is.  Students are putting final touches on M*A*S*H the Musical for presentation on March 8th and 9th.  Humphrey has been at it for decades, but has spent the last few years building the NCOE drama department.

“So this is my 3rd year with the drama club in Norris City, but I suppose I’ve been doing it for decades now.  I’ve been in theater since I was probably their age and this isn’t my first teaching job.  I’ve done drama at every school I’ve been at.  I’m from the Springfield area originally, but my mother was from White County and her family was from White County which is how I ended up here but my first teaching job was at Virden High School.  I taught 15 years there and did the drama club.  I’ve also been at Clay City and started a drama club there.  I’ve taught some college as well, always in English and usually adding drama to that.”

Not just a director, Humphrey has the added talent of being an accomplished writer and researcher.  Over the past few years, NCOE students have performed plays Humphrey has written herself and are based on local lore.

“We have enjoyed bringing the local stories to life.  Many of the stories, the students weren’t even aware of.  This year, we tackled the Big Hill Witch and that kinda cemetery legend that had been spread around for so long.  Last year, we did the Enfield Monster, so it’s fun to interview people, to learn about this local lore, and then to bring it to life for the students to perform.  It’s exciting.  We get audience members who probably wouldn’t show up for a local high school drama department production, but they’re just interested in hearing the local lore told.”

NCOE drama has come a long way since Humphrey got her paws on the club.  That was the year of CoViD and she had 8 students come out for a radio style play.  For their upcoming show next week, she says there are 22 students in the cast and an additional 12 on crew plus pit.

Logan Brinkley, a senior, will play the iconic Hawkeye

“I play the character Hawkeye.  I’m very skilled at my job here at the medical camp, but my character tends to lean into some fun and help people forget that Army life is hard.  Other characters don’t necessary like that; they want it to remain strict and so we’ll find some conflict in that.”

Reagan Goebel, a junior, has been cast as Margaret Houlihan, the chief nurse, also known as Hot Lips.  Luckily, the television show is available on Hulu, and Goebel also lucked out her grandparents were fans.

“I had seen it a couple times at my grandparents house, but I didn’t really know the characters.  It was funny though…a couple weeks after I found out this was going to be the show, I’m sitting at my grandma’s house and it was on.  I was like, ok, well I might as well do some studying.  So I got an opportunity to study up on that and I’m pretty excited about it.”

Folks who come to the show can expect a better than ever experience thanks to support from the school board and a big donation from the Absher Foundation.

“I went to the school board and just said please, this program is growing, can we please do something.  Mr. Vollman and the school board jumped in with both feet.  We have so much support from the school board, the administration…and then the Absher Foundation jumped in and helped us out as well.  We have a brand new sound system with brand new microphones, a brand new stage lighting system.  This is the first show we’re going to get to showcase it and we’re so excited. I’ve been like a kid in a candy store.  I’ve had so much fun getting ready for this show.”

Two opportunities to see M*A*S*H coming up, March 8th and 9th.  Doors open at 6:30pm and shows get underway at 7pm.  Tickets are $10.  You can learn more by clicking here.


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