CAPE ELIZABETH, Maine — Many high schools have fall musicals or plays, giving students a chance to perform on stage, but it's not typical for the production to be written by one of their peers.
Cape Elizabeth High School senior Hadley Johnson composed, wrote, and arranged the musical "Afterthought."
Johnson and classmate Eliza Green thought of the idea of "Afterthought" while on a walk together almost five years ago. Since then, Johnson has worked tirelessly writing and arranging the songs for a nine-piece pit orchestra.
The musical is about two childhood friends paving their own individual paths. Johnson and Green took inspiration for some of it from their own experiences.
"I thought it would be cool to write from different perspectives, and I found that along the way I related to each point of view," Johnson said.
The school's theatre director calls Johnson's musical a "rare" occurrence, saying she gives out stage directions, accompanies actors on piano, and acts as a character in a musical she's written herself.
"There's a vision here. Hadley has a vision of this play and she is executing it and that is unusual in an adult let alone a high school student." Christine Marshall, CEHS Theatre Director, said. "This is not a kid putting on a show. This is a very sophisticated production on all levels. It's extraordinary to me to watch it."
The high school will have four performances at Cape Elizabeth High School from Sept. 28 to Oct. 1. Johnson said following graduation in the spring, she'd like to attend college to pursue music and continue songwriting for musical theatre for many years to come.
"I'm so happy that it's happening I'm like shaking a little right now just talking about it," Green said. "You know you hear about, like, 'follow your dreams,' but you don't always see that really happen, so I think it's very emotional for me to see these two characters who one of which I really do see myself get to be played by other people and be part of this production."
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