Casey Musical 04/27/16 (1)

Students rehearse a musical in Casey on Wednesday.

KEVIN KILHOFFER, JOURNAL GAZETTE & TIMES-COURIER

CASEY -- Junior high choir students at Casey-Westfield are preparing to perform a new, locally written musical -- "The Singular Scientific Occurrence at Flatiron River High School."

Charleston resident Earl Halbe wrote the script and lyrics and his wife, Elizabeth, wrote the music for this original work, which will be performed at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Turner Arts Hall in Casey. Tickets for the musical, directed by choir teacher Charity Ozier, are $5 each for adults and $3 each for students and seniors.

Halbe said the "Singular Scientific Occurrence" tells the contemporary story of four girls who are assigned by their English teacher to organize a fundraiser to get a new boiler for their cash-strapped school. The girls don't get along well because two of them are bullies and the other two are often on the receiving end of this bullying.

The four girls reluctantly go looking for party decorations in the school's attic and they stumble into a wormhole that takes them back in time to 1956 at this same location, Halbe said.

"The girls have to work together to get back home," Halbe said, adding that they are helped by a kindly science teacher at the school.

Along the way, the four girls discover that are not the first ones to travel back in time through the wormhole and that this "Singular Scientific Occurrence" might play a key role in saving their school from possible closure. Halbe said this musical addresses contemporary issues of bullying and of dwindling state funding for public schools.

Earl Halbe, a veteran acting instructor and a playwright, and Elizabeth Halbe, a music teacher, also created the "A Stitch In Time" musical that the Casey-Westfield junior high school choir performed last spring. Halbe said Ozier and her choir students requested a second original musical, possibly a mystery, and this idea grew into a "Singular Scientific Occurrence."

Halbe said he has always enjoyed writing roles for strong female characters and has tried to apply to this approach to his work for the junior high school choir. He said they are at a grade level where there are not always school theater program opportunities available.

"I wanted to write about characters that are interesting and challenging for those girls to play," Halbe said. He added that all of the participating Casey-Westfield students have been eager to take part in the production and learn about theater.

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Reporter

Rob Stroud is a reporter for the JG-TC, covering the city of Mattoon, Lake Land College, Cumberland County and areas including Oakland, Casey and Martinsville.

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