A rehearsal on the outdoor stage.
A rehearsal on the outdoor stage.

The creative team, cast and crew — except for Todd Fadoir as the teacher — are entirely made up of teens.

During the pandemic, Rebecca Feber used a biographical story from the past to inspire plans for favorite activities, and the Ridgedale Players Theater in Troy is showcasing her creative approach with the help of many others.

Rebecca Feber
Rebecca Feber

Feber combined an intense science leaning as a senior at Berkley High School with a devotion to theater and decided to write and produce a teen musical comedy to be staged for post-pandemic outdoor audiences. The script builds on knowledge soon to be expanded through engineering studies at Michigan Technological University in Houghton as well as stage experiences in community productions. 

Biology the Musical is based on what her calculus teacher, Todd Fadoir, said about Sir Isaac Newton’s discoveries during the Great Plague of 1665, and it centers on advanced placement biology students and their teacher as they prepare for exams.

Designed by Emma Driker
Designed by Emma Driker

The creative team, cast and crew — except for Fadoir as the teacher — are entirely made up of teens. Their show will run July 24-25 outside the Ridgedale Players Theater in Troy as a fundraiser for the theater company. 

“As a senior during the pandemic, I was really upset to be missing out on all the traditions of senior year, especially my shows,” said Feber, 18, also a director and actress who was in the choir at Temple Emanu-El. 

“Theater has been a big part of my life, and not knowing if I would be able to have a senior musical, I wrote this one. Each member of the production has been helpful and uplifting.”

Feber, of Huntington Woods, became interested in community theater through her parents, Lisa and Kevin Feber, who have been longtime members of the Ridgedale Players. Her stamina also is expressed through participation on the track and field team and the cross-country team at Berkley High.

“The play takes place in a week of the life of the students,” Feber said. “I think everyone can relate to the characters. I’ve always liked writing, and I learned a lot about the process of writing by working on this play.”

Feber also entered into the way lyrics are incorporated into a script. She collaborated with her friend, Sophia Bahnmueller, who composed the original music using GarageBand software. Together, they outlined the message of each song before Bahnmueller filled out the words. During the shows, recorded GarageBand instrumentation will be heard.

Love of Stage

Feber, who takes the role of Josie, has enjoyed roles in Peter Pan, Child of Eden and Elf the Musical among many Ridgedale young people’s productions. 

Shaya Schreiber
Shaya Schreiber

Shaya Schreiber, 15, a Berkley High 10th-grader who also wants to be an engineer, takes the role of Josh and becomes a character very different from himself.

“It’s a challenge for me to take this role because Josh is confused, disorganized and not school-minded,” said Schreiber, of Huntington Woods. “I’m the opposite, and I learned my lines with the help of flash cards and practicing with another person.”

Schreiber, the son of Lynne Golodner and Avy Schreiber, learned about musical performance from his dad, a singer-pianist who entertains at local events. The younger Schreiber has performed in community theater, and his favorite role has been Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls.

Emma Driker
Emma Driker

“I knew Becca, and she asked me to be in her play,” said Schreiber, who attends services at Congregation Beth Ahm and Young Israel of Oak Park and enjoys participating in soccer and track. “Becca knew that I like theater, and I think the audience will be very surprised by the ending of this play.”

To enhance promotional materials, Feber asked Emma Driker to come up with a logo for the musical. Driker, 18, also of Huntington Woods and a senior, is heading to Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for the fall semester.

“I’m good friends with Becca, and she knew I liked to draw,” said Driker, who has won a drawing award in competition for the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hills. 

“I think this production will be very impressive because of the way students did it. It’s been exciting and fun because it draws from real experiences. That makes it valuable.” 

Details

Biology the Musical will be performed outdoors at 1 and 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, July 24-25, alongside Ridgedale Players Theater, 205 W. Long Lake Road, Troy. $15; bring chairs. Tickets: ci.ovationtix.com/35604. (248) 988-7049.

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Suzanne Chessler’s writing-editing career has spanned many years, and her articles have been featured in secular and religious publications across the state and around the country. There was a period of time when she maintained three regular columns in three different publications – one appearing weekly to spotlight metro volunteers, another appearing weekly to profile stage enthusiasts in community theater and a third appearing bimonthly to showcase upcoming arts programs. Besides doing general reporting, she has had continuing assignments involving health, monetary subjects and crime. Her award-winning work builds on majors in English-speech and journalism earned at Wayne State University, where instructors also were writers-editors on Detroit’s daily newspapers.