Three performances of “Sugar” are available this upcoming weekend

TEMPLETON — The Drama Department at Templeton High School kicked off their two-week run of the stage musical “Sugar” last weekend, with three more performances available to catch this upcoming weekend.

Joe/Josephine (Cole Fairchild) and Jerry/Daphne (Sophia Mackle) on stage. Photo by ASB advisor, Matt McFarlane

“Sugar,” which premiered on Broadway in 1972 and hit London’s West End in 1992, is a musical based on the 1959 film “Some Like It Hot” starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis, and Jack Lemmon. The musical’s plot centers around Joe and Jerry, two out-of-work musicians who accidentally witness the famous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago. While hiding from gangsters, they pose as female musicians in an all-girls traveling band. However, things get hairy when Joe (Josephine) falls for fellow bandmate Sugar Kane, and Jerry (Daphne) catches the eye of millionaire Sir Osgood Fielding.

“This is really special to me because it’s my first musical lead. And I’ve worked really hard. I’ve just worked really hard to get where I am musically, so it’s really exciting to be able to showcase the skills that I’ve developed,” said senior Katelann Harms, who plays lead, Sugar Kane. “There’s a lot of, I would say, weight to it because of Marilyn Monroe, but I took it a different direction so that it wasn’t just based on Marilyn. I love the character. She’s really funny, she’s really sweet, she builds friendships wherever she goes, and she’s bubbly and sugary. I really enjoy playing her; she’s a lot of fun.”

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COVID forced Templeton High School to pivot, but after the cancelation of their Spring 2020 show, they were able to film their version of Pride and Prejudice in November 2020, perform Young Frankenstein outdoors in the spring of 2021, and land back in the Templeton Performing Arts Center (TPAC) to perform Our Town in the fall of 2021.

“Two years ago, we were right here, getting ready to do “Drowsy Chaperone,” and everything shut down. Some of these kids, Katelann included, were in that show, and they were just heartbroken that they couldn’t do it,” said Drama Director, Catherine Kingsbury. 

Kingsbury not only teaches drama at the High School but also at Templeton Middle School, and some of the actors in Sugar have been her students since Middle School. 

“I’ve been doing it [drama] ever since I moved here, which is 7th grade, but I’ve been doing drama since 4th grade,” said freshman, Joe Lusk, who plays Sir Osgood Fielding.

Sophomore, Cole Fairchild, who plays Joe (Josephine), has been under Kingsbury’s direction since 7th grade as well. 

“He’s [Joe] a musician, and he really likes being a musician, but he’s also kind of a con-man. He’s really clever, and he’s really good at getting out of things, but he’s also really good at getting himself into things. He’s not very committed in his relationships; let’s just say,” Fairchild says of his role. “I’ll say it’s fun dressing up as a woman, that’s for sure,” he adds of the switch between playing Joe and Josephine.

Kingsbury’s casting is always gender-neutral. “So even though the storyline is about guys dressing up as girls, anybody can play any part. They just have to sing it. They have to be able to sing the part.”

Which explains junior Sophia Mackle playing the role of Jerry (Daphne) alongside Fairchild’s Joe (Josephine). 

“It’s a young group, but they are committed, and they’re having a great time. It’s a really supportive, good group,” says Kingsbury of her cast.

Atascadero News attended opening night, Thursday, March 24, where the cast excelled on stage. With strong vocal and acting performances, comedic timing that will have you laughing, surprise cameos, tap dancing to impersonate gangster’s gunfire, and comedically swoony moments, “Sugar” is a knockout and a great time out to see some local live theater.  

“We hope people come back to the theater. The kids are dying for a live audience again,” Kingsbury adds.

You can see “Sugar” at the Templeton Performing Arts Center Thursday, March 31, and Friday, April 1, at 7 p.m. And Saturday, April 2 at 4 p.m. You can purchase tickets here.

Sugar Kane (Katelann Harms) performs with Sweet Sue and her Society Syncopaters. Photo by ASB advisor, Matt McFarlane