What I’m Watching – April 10

An update from the high school musical season:

Four, count them, four shows this past weekend. Each of them wonderful, endearing and inspiring. Two schools were new to me, the other two I had visited last year.

I started earnestly watching these high school productions as an community engagement research project. I wanted to learn more about our area high school performing arts programs, specifically to determine possible interested in attending touring musical theatre productions at the Zoellner Arts Center. What I learned was that each of these schools has a story of tradition, dedication, and community support. I learned about dedicated teachers and administrators, parents and local businesses. I saw great disparity in production expenses, but not in enthusiasm or effort.

I won’t hash details of each production, but list them to demonstrate the kind of shows are available to students to perform and produce. I’ve linked the primary website I used for each show to research prior to watching each show.

William Allen – Bonnie and Clyde
Whitehall – Spamalot (School Edition)
Freedom – Peter Pan
Parkland – Pippin

What I appreciate the most in visiting the schools, is reading the programs. In these, I learn about the students, their families, and community support in the form of program ads or well wishes to cast and crew. It’s especially awesome to read a note from the director. They often share what the students learned while working on their show. The school the produced Bonnie and Clyde had the female lead read a statement about the show at the end of the curtain call; recognizing that the theme of violence in the show is not to be celebrated. The students recognized that violence in our world today is still a tragedy. It was a sobering message, but good to know that the students know that.

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