Lights, camera, Adkison!


Olivia Zavala

Randall Adkison, the new theatre director, prepares for the new year. The first show of the year will be a fall musical, “She Kills Monsters.”

Olivia Zavala, Staffer

After seven consecutive years, the Plant Theatre Program temporarily closes its curtains on teacher and director Dan Franke and shines the light on the new teacher, Randall Adkison. Plant High School experienced many great productions over the years, directed by Franke, including many fan favorites such as Legally Blonde (2016), The Addams Family (2017), and Chicago (2018). Franke has left a trail of success from working toward Breast Cancer awareness by utilizing the pink themes found in Legally Blonde and donating a portion of their ticket funds on closing night to winning the Best of the Bay set design award (2017). Many students were nominated and able to participate in Broadway Star of the Future and win a stream of awards in the Florida State Thespian Festival, all under Franke’s lead. Unfortunately falling short last year due to COVID, the program was unable to participate in its normal events but was still able to record two shows, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned From Being a Zombie” and “Disenchanted.” This year, Troupe 0817 is working to put on three great shows and carrying on their award-winning traditions under new leadership.

Hired a week before the start of school and after taking a year off to spend time with his family for the pandemic, Randall Adkison is looking forward to the new year as he plans and strives toward his goals.  Previously working at Spoto and Steinbrenner high school, Adkison shows a passion for theater as he talks about what he enjoys most about teaching.

“I like to see the students who didn’t think they wanted to take theater start to enjoy themselves and discover new things.”

Excited to start with Plant, he has noticed the students here have a “willingness to try new things,” something most directors dream of. In-store for the program is a fall musical, “She Kills Monsters,” a one-act play for the district festival, “Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed,” and a spring play, “The Wizard of Oz.” The hope for the auditorium this year is to make it “a fresh start” by cleaning out the old and ensuring students have a safe environment to work in. One of Adkison’s main goals for this year is to give his students a great, safe year.

“I want to give students the opportunities they didn’t have last year,” Adkison states. “There is a difference between a virtual show and a show on stage in the same room as the audience.”

A new perspective on the program leaves many students eager for the year, including senior Andrew Edwards, who has been a part of the program since before his freshman year.

“Our new director is very experienced and knowledgeable about theater,” Edwards said. “I’m most looking forward to seeing the company get involved in district and state competitions again.”

Under new leadership, the senior class looks forward to their last year and “getting to carry on a wonderful program for the next group of kids to take over.” As autumn creeps up and auditions take place, “She Kills Monsters” is underway as the Plant Theatre Program sets the stage for the new year.