Shenandoah High musical Freaky Friday

Shenandoah High Vocal Musical Instructor Ashleigh Sons (left) directs the high school's musical production of "Freaky Friday" next weekend. Sons and three cast members--Libby Ehlers, Alexa Munsinger and Quentin Slater--were interrviewed on KMA's "AM in the AM" program.

(Shenandoah) – This is one of those Sundays where I have a lot of things on my mind, and a lot of things to write about.

Without any further ado, let’s get to it…

March (and April) Madness Department: There’s a bunch of Shenandoah High School students who are counting the days to next Friday. That’s when the high school brings musical theatre back to the Gladys Wirsig Jones Auditorium. The SHS spring musical, “Freaky Friday,” takes place Friday and Saturday evening at 7 and next Sunday afternoon at 2. Usually held in the fall, this year’s musical was moved back to the spring months because of you-know-what.

“Freaky Friday,” by the way, is a musical based on the Disney movie that starred Jodie Foster in 1976. For you Gen-Xers, a newer version with Lindsay Lohann came out in 2003.

Listening to SHS musical director Ashleigh Sons and three cast members – Alexa Munsinger, Libby Ehlers and Quentin Slater – this week on KMA’s “AM in the AM” program, you could tell the excitement in their voices over bringing live performances back to the stage. In fact, their interview made me wax nostalgia over the musicals I appeared in at Fremont High four decades ago. I had small parts in “Irene” in 1980 and “The Music Man” in 1981. Very small. But, that’s another story.

Further details about my theatre exploits will be saved for a future blog. I wish nothing but the best for all the students in this production, and hope that they break a thousand legs in this show. I also hope the public gives them the support they deserve. If you want tickets, you’d better act fast. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for students. As a COVID safety precaution, tickets for all three performances are pre-sold – meaning none will be sold at the theater. You can purchase tickets by calling or texting Julie Murren at 712-304-2054.

Thoughts and Prayers Department: Another grim reminder of the dangers of law enforcement work came on Friday in north central Iowa. Iowa State Patrol Trooper Jim Smith, a 27-year patrol veteran, was shot and killed during an armed standoff in Grundy Center.

Regardless of the details, this deadly incident demonstrates the precariousness of a law enforcement officer’s job. You never know when your next service call could be your last. And, because of many circumstances we won’t go into here, the job has become more and more dangerous in recent years.

Bottom line: Keep Trooper Smith’s family and all officers in your thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.

Netflix Tips Department: I’m not much into reality-based television. In fact, I gave up watching “Big Brother” a few seasons ago after finding more worthwhile things to do with my time – such as rearranging my sock drawer, for example. But, there are two programs released on “Netflix” that merit mentioning.

Both are sports-related reality shows. One is “Last Chance U: Basketball.” For five seasons, producer Greg Whiteley focused on the players in the world of junior college football, and the challenges they faced in earning a Division I college scholarship. East Mississippi Community College was featured the first two seasons, followed by Independence Community College in Kansas the second two. Laney College in northern California was the subject of the fifth and final season.

Now, Whiteley turns his cameras on the ups and downs of junior college basketball, and the exploits of East Los Angeles College’s men’s basketball team in the 2020 season. Located in Monterey Park, California, ELAC is no stranger to me. In fact, it’s literally down the street from where my sister and brother-in-law live, and where I lived for five years in the 1980’s while attending Cal State L.A. So, it was with great interest that I binge-watched the adventures of the ELAC Huskies, and their eccentric-yet-principled head coach, John Mosely. It was a team on a mission for the California juco state championship, only have their season end in a way no one could have imagined.

Another Netflix gem is season three of “Formula 1: Drive to Survive.” Those who watched the first two seasons of this program know what to expect: a no-holds barred look at the grueling, high stakes world of Formula 1 Grand Prix race. From the drivers to the team owners, no individual – or controversy – is off limits in this engaging program.

Season three recaps developments in the 2020 season. Like everything else, COVID-19 impacted Formula 1 racing, and it remains one of the central themes of this season’s episodes. Other season storylines: the continuing rivalry between reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton and every other driver (especially his Mercedes teammate, Valtteri Bottas), the shocking collapse of the legendary Ferrari racing team, the comeback of driver Pierre Gasly from his 2019 demotion from the Red Bull racing team, and the continuing struggles of the Haas team, and their long-suffering manager, Guenther Steiner. (Frankly, I think the Haas drivers need John Mosely or Buddy Stephens to come and scream at them. But, that’s just my opinion.)

For those who refrain from googling the 2020 Formula 1 season standings, “Formula 1” is well worth spending time with. Now, when are the next seasons of “Stranger Things” or “Cobra Kai?”

Spoiler Alert Department: For those who haven’t seen the movie “Godzilla vs. Kong,” which yours truly had a chance to watch on Saturday, I advise you not to read this blog any further. For the benefit of high school wrestling fans, I will recap the movie’s key matches:

Godzilla defeats King Kong, two falls out of three. However, Godzilla loses by technical fall to Mecha Godzilla. However, Kong returns to defeat Mecha Godzilla in the wrestleback.

Hope you found this review informative. Hey, I’m no Trevor Maeder or Steve Irvin, but I try my best. And, don’t ask me to preview Wrestlemania, as I’m not going to pay to watch it. Paying for Netflix, alone, is enough.

Sneak Preview Department: Though COVID-19 is still a major threat there are some hopeful signs: fans are back at Major League Baseball games. The final round of the Masters airs today. And, the Iowa Broadcast News Association’s annual convention takes place next weekend at the Stoney Creek Inn in Johnston.

Last year’s event in Pella was delayed two months until June. Because of the continuing coronavirus pandemic’s threat, this reporter viewed the convention activities at home via livestream on the IBNA’s website. While it was important to stay safe, I missed seeing my fellow broadcasting colleagues – some of whom I almost consider as family. Plus, watching the annual IBNA awards banquet wasn’t the same. You don’t get the same intensity watching it on a laptop, while sitting in your basemen recliner with a cat staring at you.

Next weekend, I’ll be heading to Johnston with bells on, and with mask and hand sanitizer in tow. That’s after I get my second COVID shot on Tuesday. Wish me luck in both events!

Mike Peterson is senior news anchor/reporter with KMA News. The opinions expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of this station, its management or its ownership.

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