Tonawanda News

The City

August 4, 2013

'Back to the 80s' a blast from the past

After months of work, In Good Company Productions goes 'Back to the '80s'

Tonawanda News — Behind the Miller Bandshell in Niawanda Park, it looked like a school locker from 1989 had exploded.

Toddlers to teenagers garbed in many colors — most of them neon — rushed around in last-minute preparations. Fingerless gloves made an appearance, as did jelly bracelets and black lace headbands á la Madonna. Legwarmers were witnessed.

Bins of props were loaded with blue-and-white pompoms in the colors of the fictional William Ocean High School, while on stage, “Thriller” and “Footloose” posters hung on the walls.

It was the second night of In Good Company Productions’ “Back to the ‘80s,” and the show was about to go on.

Even an hour before the cast members hit the stage, the space in front of the bandshell was crowded with chairs and blankets. Melissa Tober of Sanborn, the City of Tonawanda native who serves as IGC president and this year’s director, was constantly moving, one moment leading a pre-show pep talk for the cast members, another dealing with the sound system, yet another speaking to the show’s music director. 

“Everyone seems to be right on track,” she said during a brief pause. “The kids are doing everything they’re supposed to do. They’re doing a great job.”

Music director Bethany Rarick, who led the group in communal warm-ups during a lull in the pre-show activity, agreed. Opening night, she said, was “wonderful.”

“It’s been great,” she said. “I couldn’t have asked for a better night. Performing in front of an actual audience really brings out the enthusiasm in the kids.”

•••

“We’re the kids in America/We’re the kids in America/Everybody live for the music-go-round.”

— “Kids in America,” Kim Wilde, 1981

•••

In the sea of neon, Nick Slingerland, who plays Feargal McFerrin III in the show, stuck out.

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