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Hood River actor performs in ‘80s Teen Musical in Portland

Aiden Tappert, left, a senior at Hood River Valley High School, is one of 22 teens in “John Hughes High,” now showing at the Alder Stage in Artists Repertory Theater, Portland.

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Aiden Tappert, left, a senior at Hood River Valley High School, is one of 22 teens in “John Hughes High,” now showing at the Alder Stage in Artists Repertory Theater, Portland.

Building on the success of their sold out smash hit “Heathers: The Musical,” Staged! presents the world premiere of “John Hughes High: The 1980s Teen Musical,” a piece designed for teen performers by Mark LaPierre (4X4=Musicals) and Eric Nordin (The Snowstorm) and directed by Diane Englert (“Heathers: The Musical”).

This comedy flips the script on the John Hughes decade, using gender-blind casting to subvert the ‘80s teen cliches of adolescent ennui and outsider status, channeling Cyndi Lauper style while tackling the tricky challenges of the teen years with “Staged!”’s trademark depth and humor, said a press release.

Performances are May 3-20 at the Alder Stage in Artists Repertory Theater, 1516 S.W. Alder St., Portland. Performances are on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. Tickets are $18 to $25 and can be purchased online at

Aiden Tappert, a Hood River Valley High School senior, has a role in the show. There are 22 teens in the show, ages 15-19, from Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, Hood River and Clark counties.

Here is the plot: It’s 1989 at John Hughes High, where every student is fabulous and amazing EXCEPT Samantha. Ignored and literally invisible, Samantha has found the answer to her escapist prayers — spending her senior year at the French School of Ennui. Her depressingly impressive Mom (played by Lisamarie Harrison), won’t let Samantha go until she tries, “really tries,” to make friends with the Vision-Questing Jocks, Fame Dancers, Pop Divas, Real Genius Nerds, and Rebellious Idealists in her school’s breakfast club. What’s an anti-heroine to do but dance, sing and charm her way to the top of the high school heap?

The piece has been written with inclusive casting goals in mind, offering opportunities to mix and match gender, race and ethnic identity as needed to work with the strong suits of each company that elects to perform it. A sold-out concert reading at the 2017 Fertile Ground Festival paved the way for this fully-staged world premiere as part of the Staged! season.

The show is written by LaPierre, creator of three seasons of sold out “4X4=Musicals” performances at the Fertile Ground Festival in collaboration with Nordin, whose 2015 production of “The Snowstorm” garnered a Drammy Award for best production.

Director Diane Englert helmed Staged!’s smash-hit production of “Heathers: The Musical” and offers more than 20 years of new play development experience ranging from Off-Broadway to Portland Center Stage.

This project is supported in part by a grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation. Season sponsor is Ronni Lacroute.

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