This weekend, New Hartford High School is performing Guys and Dolls. I advocated for the show, and I’ve been pleased with the process. My lighting students are doing next-level work, and for the first time I have two students on the fly rail. The set is really amazing – I expect applause when it is revealed during the overture. This will also be my daughter’s final effort as student stage manager; in all likelihood, the last time we’ll work together as creative peers on a show.
A high school musical is a kind of miracle. Hundreds of people come together and work furiously for a few weeks to create something that didn’t exist before. Theater kids get it done.
This week, I’m preparing for my sixth musical at New Hartford High School, the third one entirely designed and run by a student crew. This is an abridged version of the letter I gave the crew, as they begin attending rehearsals.
We said our job was to raise a self-sufficient, contributing member of society; mission accomplished.
Theater is one of the few educational activities that’s measured by the enjoyment of the participants. I want to shift the bar.
Some of the best moments in my theater career have happened at high school productions. In fact, a disproportionate number of those were courtesy of teenagers. I love the “aha” surprises, when a performer finds a spark and burns up the stage, bringing the audience to its feet. Now, imagine a show composed of nothing but those moments, and you’ll have an idea of what I worked on Saturday night…
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