Although they weren't familiar with the music of Hello! My Baby before they started rehearsals, members of the cast said they fell in love with it quickly.
"The music is amazing," said Rachel Duncan, a home-schooled 10th grader who plays the role of Betty/Buddy in the musical, which will be presented by Musical Theatre Workshops at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., April 22, at Augusta Preparatory Day School.
Set in the early 20th century, Hello! My Baby showcases the music of composers such as Irving Berlin and George and Ira Gershwin. It features a struggle between the classes, mistaken identity and a confused case of boy meets girl resulting in an interesting love triangle.
But the heart of the plot revolves around the music. In the days before the internet and social media drove songs to the tops of the charts, it was the music pluggers standing on the street corner and crooning a melody that sold the hits.
"This has been so much fun," said Hunter Walsh, a Greenbrier High School senior who plays Mickey, a song plugger. "The lyrics and the music are classic. The songs are so beautiful."
However, the music industry wasn't necessarily for women in those days, and it was tough for female songwriters. When a plucky female songwriter dresses up a man to sing on the street corner to have her songs sell, she pushes Mickey out of a job, and that's where the plot gets sticky.
Throw in class differences of the upper class and immigrants living in the tenements and some bigotry when it comes to the Irish and Jewish immigrants. And don't forget about the street gangs, and there's a full plot.
Written by Cheri Steinkellner, who won Emmys for her work on the TV show Cheers and was nominated for a Tony for her work on the stage version of Sister Act, Hello! My Baby was written primarily with young performers in mind, according to Musical Theatre International, which licenses the play.
Hello! My Baby "is a perfect choice for high schools or theatre academies. There are tons of featured roles, classic songs and rousing dance numbers creating an infectious toe-tapping, hum-along musical," according to the company's website.
Tickets for Hello! My Baby are $15 for adults and $12 for students.
For more information, visit the Musical Theatre Workshops' website at www.onwiththeshow.biz or call (706) 231-1759.