The Smoke Signal

Mr. Flever: Theater Star

Kevin Valdez

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Ripon High’s music teacher, Geoffery Felver, appeared in a production of “Billy Elliot” at the Gallo Center for the Arts with performances held August 5, August 6, August 11, August 12, and August 13.

“Billy Elliot” is a musical based off a 2000 movie of the same name about a boy who comes from a family of coal miners and wants to become a dancer, but his father instead wants him to be a boxer.

“It was a lot of fun,” Felver said. “We started rehearsing at the beginning of July, and we did it every day from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.”

The plays were done by a group called the Modesto Performing Arts and the choreography was done by Central West Valley, a professional ballet company in Modesto.

“They had a lot of their dancers come in, so that was a lot of fun to work with them,” Felver went on.

Everyone who was acting in the performance had to practice at home and outside to get the singing and dancing down. According to Felver, the show had a really strong cast.

“The audience loved it,” he continued. “We got standing ovations every night.”

Felver played a total of four characters during the performance, a policeman, a miner, a tall boy, and a posh boy. This isn’t normal for most productions, so he had to tell how this came to be. Some individuals had dropped out of productions and some parts were never cast, so multiple parts were given to Felver as they went through the production. Felver was faced with the challenge of learning many roles and many steps to choreography. 

When asked how he was able to perform as multiple characters in one show, Felver said, “There were a lot of costume changes, so I had to really keep track and be very organized at which scene was where, and sometimes there would be people backstage helping me change out of different shoes and putting on ballet shoes instead of boots and sometimes switching on my coveralls for a flannel shirt or something, so I had to be very organized.” Felver’s passion of theater and music radiates to his students and the people around him. 

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Mr. Flever: Theater Star