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Troupe will perform the play before 1,500 students and teachers at state thespian conference is Salem

Newberg High School has won a statewide competition and will perform "The Addams Family" musical at the State Thespian Conference in Salem in April. GRAPHIC FILE PHOTO - Newberg High School has been selected as one of two schools to perform at the State Thespian Conference in Salem in April. NHS will present their musical "The Addams Family," which was first produced in the fall.

All high schools in Oregon are eligible to submit a production for consideration and just two, one muscial and one play, are selected.

It's the first time drama teacher Mike McConaughey has had NHS enter the competition since taking over the program three years ago, but he is not sure if Newberg has ever been selected for this particular honor.

"It's just life changing experience for kids," he said. "I think it's valuable and valid enough to put out the effort to make it at least an option. It's a big deal."

McConaughey did have a production selected while he was theater director at C.S. Lewis Academy in 2009 and says Newberg's troupe is in for a treat to perform for about 1,500 student thespians and teachers.

"And it's such a supportive group at state," he said. "It's the biggest applause and support and audience interaction you're going to get anywhere."

The official announcement was made Saturday, but the troupe found out a week earlier.

"Everyone's emotions were running so high, so when he finally told us, it was just a wave of excitement and then impending doom," senior Hallie Flukinger said.

The doom comes from the fact that the troupe is not only in the midst of a two-week run performing it's winter comedy, "Noises Off," but is also preparing for its annual Shakespeare production, which will be "The Tempest." Individual students have also been preparing to compete in the regional acting competition that serves as a qualifier to the state conference.

The troupe will host two performances of "The Addams Family" prior to spring break to prepare for the one-off show at the conference.

"We really did want to go and we're really excited that we are going, but now we're re-launching this show, then we have spring break, so that's a week off," Tess Hartley said. "Then we get back and perform that show. Then we're taking a Disneyland trip with performing arts the next week. Then we open our Shakespeare play, 'The Tempest,' the following week. So it's cutting down on our rehearsal time for 'The Tempest,' which is a very stressful thing for a lot of people."

Having attended the state conference last year, both Hartley and Flukinger are excited for the opportunity to perform for such a boisterous and supportive audience, so they expect it will all be worth it.

"It's so exciting to see that lively audience," Flukinger said. "And that was from the audience point of view. I can't even imagine what the performers will feel. But we'll get to find out."

Meanwhile, the troupe will close out its current run with performances of "Noises Off" at 7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday at Drea Ferguson Auditorium.

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