Friday, June 18, 2010

High School Musicals, Keep Em Coming!

I'm a sucker for musicals. I love them in any way, shape or form. Musicals are my secret escape to a world of singing, dancing, romance and joy. I like them on television, on the movie screen and on stage.

I just finished a tour of musicals from our local High Schools. My daughter's school's spring musical was "The Pajama Game". Not as well known as most, but a fun romp through the workings of a pajama factory, where the employees and management have issues with each other. This one was dear to my heart because I was in this musical in High School. The songs are fun and catchy and my daughter was dismayed when she caught me singing along. Her show choir group performed a medley from "Guys and Dolls". This is one of my favorites. We also performed this at my school, but the year before I joined Musical Theatre. Another fun show, with great music.

Last week, I went to 3 musicals at 3 different High Schools. Here's a quick explanation as to why. My daughter went to a Performing Arts Middle School and now she goes to a Performing Arts High School. When she culminated, all her friends went to different schools. A small amount of them continued on to perform, so this is our way of supporting everyone and see what each school has to offer.

First stop, Peter Pan at Central High School of the Visual and Performing Arts. This school is brand spanking new and is visually interesting. Made of concrete and steel, it's strange that it's so blank considering it's an arts school. Hopefully we'll see some murals on the sterile gray walls one day. For their first production, they did a terrific job. The girl who played Peter Pan went to my daughter's middle school and she was amazing. She and the cast actually flew! There was even a girl who climbed up sheets hung from the ceiling ala Cirque du Soleil! It was pretty amazing. Their sets were colorful and whimsical and the costumes were great, considering the students made most of them. It was a bit long, but they did a great job! I'm glad I was able to witness their first performance.

Next stop Hollywood High School for their rendition of "Rent". This is another one of my favorite shows and seeing a great job done last year by another High School, I was interested in comparing notes. The sets were pretty similar to the other High School's, but the talent was amazing. My daughter was going to go here this year, but we found another school closer, but her best friend goes here and we have to support her. The cool thing about Hollywood High is that you never know who is going to be in the audience. The kids were thrilled that some Broadway cast members were in the audience and one even joined them at their wrap party. The kids were dedicated to the show. The girl who played Mimi fell backstage and broke her wrist, but she finished the show and then came back to perform the final two shows with a camouflaged cast, even though she had an understudy. Again, we were so happy that we could be a part of such a wonderful production.

The next day was our final stop of our Musical Tour. We went to the final performance of "Grease" at Verdugo Hills High School. Since it was the Broadway version, there were parts and songs different from the movie, which was nice because it was unexpected. The two leads were fantastic, considering the male lead (Danny) had strep throat with 102 fever and the female lead (Sandy) blew out her knee again. The cast complemented each other and although the sets were simple, they were colorful. They had several surprises, the first was a full marching band that played down the aisles and onstage and the other, the vocal teacher/producer played guitar and sang during the dance scene. The performance was fun and bittersweet for the students because it was the drama teacher's last show. Due to stupid school politics, he has to leave. I'm not sure what that means for drama next year, but it's truly a loss.

We are planning on seeing the Will Rogers Follies and In The Heights Broadway tours this summer. And there is a movie coming out called "Standing Ovation". which showcases 5 Middle School friends who have a dream to perform. I am proud to say I'm a "Gleek" and will willingly check out any musical that is showing, good or bad.

I hope that people on the School Board realize how important the arts are in schools. Most of these performers wouldn't have considered it if they didn't have an outlet for their talent. My daughter had dreams of being on Broadway, but for now I think she's happy just performing. I'm happy just watching all this talent. If you're interested in seeing the pictures I have taken at all these shows, feel free to check out my Facebook Photo Album.

I will always love musicals and the Theatre. I will continue to support the arts as long as I have a song in my heart!

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