KING XERXES (Jonathan Conrad), center, exudes anger and rage over the plot to kill him. The King's Court of Advisers cower in uneasiness and fear behind him, left to right, Stooges/Advisers (Allie Allen and Holly Stone), Chief Counsel (Nic Rasmussen), three remaining Advisers/Stooges (Mylan Suttan, Ashley Christianson and Aaron Travis). Queen Esther (Rachel Travis) gazes pensively ahead knowing her King's future is secure. Photo by Dori Gough


Lakehills youth present play

By From page B2 | January 31, 2014

Lakehills Church Youth Performing Arts Group will present free performances of  “Esther,” a youth Broadway-style musical suitable for the entire family, from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2 and Feb. 7 and 8.

“Esther,” music  and lyrics by Marin Landry and book and lyrics by Janice Landry, is the story of an orphaned Jewish girl who becomes Queen of Persia. She discovers that her people are to be annihilated by royal decree. She is forced to trust God through frightening circumstances, with the survival of her entire race seemingly on her shoulders.

Almost 40 middle and high school youth from a variety of middle, high school and home schools in the area, make up the cast and crew of “Esther.” Becky Reilly is the producer, Kathy Kelleher vocal director and Geri Connor choreographer.

Reilly brought “Jesus Christ Superstar” to the Lakehills stage and community last year, “Joseph and the Amazing Dreamcoat” the previous year and “Godspell” three years ago.

Two Oak Ridge High School seniors are among the cast, Rachel Travis as Queen Esther and Jonathan Conrad as King Xerxes.

Travis’ favorite song in the production is “The Prayer,” found in act 2 when Queen Esther sings a prayer with Mordecai, her Jewish cousin who raised her, Tala a palace friend and the rest of the cast.

“The Prayer” requests Esther’s strength as she attempts to persuade King Xerxes to keep the Jewish people safe and to ignore Haman, the chief counsel and his scheme to annihilate the Jewish race.

Mordecai is played by Dylan Giles, a sophomore at Oak Ridge and Tala is Hannah Verner, a home schooled student.

King Xerxes’ (Jonathan Conrad) favorite song in the play is “Toast,” also found in act 2. “Toast” is an upbeat party song, sung at the first banquet where Queen Esther spins her persuasion with King Xerxes regarding the safety of the Jewish race.

Haman, Xerxes’ Chief “evil” Counsel is played by Nic Rasmussen, a sophomore at Oak Ridge. Tala (Hannah Verner) appears in this song, as well.

Travis fully enjoys the “Beauty Queen” scene occurring early in the play where a comical beauty pageant to determine the new queen to replace deposed Queen Vashti is unveiled.

Esther is eventually chosen fairest of the fair.

Travis adds that, “Beauty Queen is humorous and full of energy, a contrast to the seriousness Esther faces later in the musical.”

Conrad, a veteran performer in the Lakehills Youth Performing Arts Group said he loves to play King Xerxes because it’s fun to be in control. However, his favorite all-time role in the Lakehills Youth Performing Arts Group was Caiaphas, the high priest in last year’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.”

“Caiaphas required me to use maximum vigor and oomph to express the keen anger and hatred this high priest directs at Jesus. The crucifixion of Jesus and the ongoing power of the high priest fueled Caiaphas’ spirited anger and emotion,” said Conrad.

Tickets are not needed for this free event and the show schedule is: Friday, Jan. 31 at 7 p.m.; Saturday, Feb. 1 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; Sunday, Feb. 2 at 9 and 10:30 a.m. during the regularly scheduled church service,(only act one only will be presented at these Sunday performances); Friday, Feb. 7 at  7 p.m; and Saturday, Feb. 8 at 2 and 7 p.m.

Lakehills Church is located at 7000 Rossmore Lane in El Dorado Hills, above the movie theaters and near Target.

For more information go to or call 916-939-9300.

Lakehills Church

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