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  • The son, played by Angel Montemayor, has a rubber chicken in his pocket.
  • Shalon Anwar and Bryce Merrill rehearse a scene.
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  • Bryce Merrill, portraying Grandpa, sings during rehearsal.

It’s irreverent, a little inappropriate and definitely interesting — and the cast and crew of the Conifer High School musical “The Trail to Oregon” are having a great time performing the comedy.

The interactive show — where the audience selects the names and occupations of the cast members during each performance, for example — will be performed live this weekend. The entire cast is thrilled to be in front of a live audience.

“It’s exciting (to be performing in person),” said senior Justice Steele, who plays the mom. “That’s how you get all your energy. You need the laughter, the gasps and the other reactions to keep you going.”

Senior Shalon Anwar, who plays the daughter, agreed, adding, “It’s good to see all the faces in the audience.”

The seniors said after last year’s spring musical was canceled after only one performance and the fall play was scrapped thanks to the pandemic, it was nice to have one final high school play to look forward to.

On April 16, the cast and crew had their first dress rehearsal, making notes of things to fix and figuring out how to move scenery to make scene changes work. A country rock band made up of CHS students provides music for the show.

“These kids have been super sad,” E.P. Archer, the CHS drama and music teacher and show director, said. “It’s good for them to be able to laugh and make fart jokes.”

“The Trail to Oregon” is based on a 1985 video game called The Oregon Trail, designed to teach players about the realities of 19th-century life on the trail. Much like in the game, the actors play specific characters such as bankers, carpenters or farmers who have decided to move out west to forge new opportunities with their families.  

The original show was R-rated, but the CHS version is PG-13. Archer said the students picked the show because of its silly humor and as a way to get away from the trials of COVID-19.

While the cast will perform live in masks, the show also will be taped. Audiences will be limited to 50 and seated in family groups. Archer plans to have photos taken of different parts of the show to create additional memories for the cast.

“There are a lot of really amazing shows that I will plan to do, but for this year, we wanted to do something silly, out of the box and funny,” Archer said, adding that there are four seniors in the cast and five seniors in the band. “This show is really for them.”