For 11 consecutive years, the show called the Carolina Civic Center home while taking audiences on a magic carpet ride through one of the most turbulent decades in American history. The show takes people back to the shock of when President Kennedy was killed, the excitement of seeing The Beatles for the first time on the “Ed Sullivan Show,” to the heartache and loss of Martin Luther King and to the tragedy of Vietnam.
It also revisits the entertainment the ’60's brought, like the Temptations, the Rolling Stones, Elvis and Ray Charles.
If you’ve seen the show before, be prepared for some surprises.
“This is our 14h year,” said John Hodges, the theater teacher at Purnell Swett and one of the writers of the show. “When you have an ongoing show like this you can’t do the same thing every year.”
Hodges has always taken a show-business approach to education, he says. Even before he became the theater teacher at Purnell Swett, he was teaching students with historical plays in his social studies classes.
The show follows the Goodhearts, a typical family. They start the decade optimistic, but they change as do the times.
Most of the 70-person cast are high school students at Purnell Swett. There are 10 acts that portray famous musical groups from the ‘60s alone.
The story isn’t all fun and games, though. The final act of the performance centers on the Vietnam war and Hodges’ personal experience with it, including saying good-bye to a friend as he was leaving for Vietnam, where he would die in combat. It’s a point that Hodges takes time to explain to the students in the play before they perform it because of the personal nature of the subject.
Showtimes are Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for students. For information, call (910) 739-8984.