AN EDUCATION IN EDUCATIONAL THEATRE
American Theatre has a “This Month in Theatre History” feature. I learned that Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, Tennessee was originally started by a group of recent high school graduates who formed a traveling troupe named The Circuit Players.
The Thespians Go Hollywood gala for the Educational Theatre Foundation has Bernadette Peters, John Stamos, Matthew Morrison, and Audra McDonald on its list of attendees and supporters. They will be honoring Warner Brothers Theatre Ventures, producers of Beetlejuice, The Bridges of Madison County, and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
The Steinhardt School of Education’s Drama Therapy Program at New York University is partnering with senior citizen support programs and MTI’s Broadway Senior program to produce Fiddler on the Roof SR. MTI is adapting several works in its catalog to appeal to senior citizen programs and communities.
Children’s books are a staple inspiration for children’s theatre productions. Oregon Children’s Theatre provides books for audience members from Title 1 schools through their Ticket to Read: Linking Literacy to Live Theatre Program. Grant Butler’s article for The Oregonian gives the program some well-deserved publicity.
Dunmore High School’s Crimson Company is premiering The Great Cell Phone Catastrophe; Or, How I Learned to Stop Texting and Love to Talk. The play, written by Michael Paseve, imagines what happens when someone disables a community’s cell phones. It runs Thursday, November 21 through Saturday, November 23.
A new production of Frankenstein premieres at Don Bosco Preparatory High School in New Jersey. There’s quite a list of production staff in the press release; they’re described as “a team of international theatre professionals!”
Yar! The Pirate Spectacular! by Valaparaiso University student John Claudy premieres at Prairie Heights High School in Indiana. The article for The Herald Republican by Ashlee Hoos is an example of great publicity for a high school production.
Miss Holmes at Muscatine High School in Iowa might be a student-written piece, or a premiere of a new play. It’s difficult to tell from this Muscatine Journal article. A gender change for a classic literary character is an interesting idea, I just wish I was able to tell more about the piece than it’s a “fanfiction murder mystery.”
I’m including this article because the title struck me as funny: “Somerville Students Sing about Gentrification and Immigration in In the Heights.” While gentrification is one of the themes in In the Heights, it’s odd to describe the songs as “about” that subject. The opening line of the article is “The musical may be about New York’s Washington Heights, but students believe the themes have never been more relevant in Somerville.”
Another slightly off headline appears in Placerville California’s Mountain Democrat: “El Dorado High School Confronts Bullying with The Laramie Project”. One could make the argument that the “NEST-TORO NAPTIST Church” (you know who I mean) members are bullies. But the play’s focus is on the hate crime and murder of Matthew Shepard and the after-effects on the community of Laramie.
OTHER ITEMS OF INTEREST
The Willoughby, Ohio News-Herald has a series called “Young Thespians” that focuses on “youth in theater.” I wish all local newspapers had youth arts sections that rivaled the Sports news, but even a small columns like this are a refreshing alternative.
The not-very-often done Urinetown is at Sun Valley Community School (Upper School) November 7-9. The show is a great societal satire as well as an homage to the musical theatre canon.
Disney+ is not only producing High School Musical the Musical the Series; it’s also reviving Kristen Bell’s Encore. The series has high school casts remounting shows decades after they first performed the production. They only have 5 days to do it! Here’s a review of the two episodes with remounted productions of Annie and Beauty and the Beast. (One of the series’ producers comments!) My suggestion would be to find a Broadway actor or two to go back to one of their high school productions…this pair would be perfect!