On the evening of May 7 at the Salt River High School (SRHS) Lecture Hall, the school’s drama students presented their rendition of the musical Hot-Rod: Cruisin’ Back to the 1950s. The play is a one-and-a-half-hour production that is based on a book by Flip Kobler and Cindy Marcus, with music and lyrics by Bill Fancoeur.
The storyline follows the trials and tribulations of Peggy Sue, who used to be one of the best street racers in town, and her desire to go to college, which means she has to move away from her “gearhead” friends and begins to make friends with the “preppie” crowd. Unfortunately, her younger sister, Betty Lou, tries to follow in her racing footsteps; however, Betty Lou ends up losing and owing a lot of money to bookie Daytona Bob. To save her sister, Peggy Sue agrees to race Daytona Bob—if she wins, he relieves the debt, but if she loses, she must forgo college and race for Daytona Bob for a whole year. White lies, deceit, sabotage, personal egos and high-school crushes all come into play. Numerous 1950s-style music segments sung as ensembles or as duets, like Peggy Sue and Jack, or as a group like the “gearheads,” made the production come alive.
The presentation was very entertaining, and you could hear laughter, clapping and cheering from the audience during the various scenes. All the students involved appeared to truly enjoy their moment in the spotlight. You could hear the strong voices and singing of “Peggy Sue,” played by Whitney Jimenez, and “Jack,” played by Donovan Duwyenie. Prairie-Snow Ramirez handed in a great portrayal of “Momma Mo,” including a Russian accent; and Jason James’ performance of “Daytona Bob” was engaging and comical and exhibited strong acting skills.
SRHS teacher Lisa Schroeder, the director and choreographer, indicated there were up to 30 students involved in the musical, which included the cast and crew along with stagehands and production assistants. Every one of the students added to the final production of the Hot-Rod Cruisin to the 1950’s.
The SRHS presentation of Hot Rod: Cruisin’ Back to the 1950's was produced by special arrangement with Pioneer Drama Service, Inc., of Englewood, Colorado.
Cast and Crew of Hot Rod: Cruisin’ Back to the 1950's
Peggy Sue: Whitney Jimenez
Betty Lou: Aaliyah Sampson
Daytona Bob: Jason James
Jack: Donovan Duwyenie
Jenkins: Raycidro Pablo
Momma Mo: Prairie-Snow Ramirez
Sheriff Stone: Juhki Enos
Peyton: Kaitlyn Peck
Nigel: David Ray
Biffy: Victoria Ruiz
Velocity: Davina Johnson
Turbo: Samra Wolters
Booster: Dominic Valandingham
BETTY LOU’S FRIENDS
Portia: Jessica Medina
Edsel: Solana Harris
Hi Tone: Lane Yazzie
Waxx: Renee Pacheco
Flair: Annette Smith
Vickie: Marcillina Martinez
Preppies and 45ers: Jordan Juan, Sanyu
Juan and Rayleen Martinez
STAGE AND TECH CREW
Lights/stage: Sarah Melendez and Albert Grijalva
Hair & makeup coordinator: Alaya Gonzales
Student director: Donovan Duwyenie
Stage manager: Lane Yazzie
Curtain: Dellina Duwyenie
Set design: Lisa Schroeder, Dwayne Manuel
and SRHS drama and art students