Bye Bye Birdie
The Benjamin Franklin
Classical Charter School of Franklin, Massachusetts is an unusual
place. One of the first Charter Schools in Massachusetts, the
K-8 school produces a major musical every year. As the drama teacher,
I have the privilege of working with responsible, enthusiastic
students and a great staff, including a technical director, a
music director, the art teacher (who painted our sets) and a choreographer.
This year our winter production was "The Sound of Music."
Rehearsals were held both during the school day (in the "arts
block") and after school. Participation is open to all 6th
through 8th graders. Of 120 middle school students, 50 auditioned
for the show. We took them all.
Several of the students
have been studying for years at the Franklin School for Performing
Arts. Others have learned a lot from being in previous years'
productions. It shows. Maria, played by 8th grader Rachel Abbate,
had a beautifully trained voice and a terrific work ethic which
served to inspire the whole cast. The seven von Trapp children
developed distinct personalities. The student playing the Captain
entranced us as he rejected the impending Nazi takeover, spurning
his rich, unprincipled fiancee for the lovely Maria. The girl
playing the Mother Abbess amazed us as she sang "Climb Every
Mountain" with total conviction. (This, from a student who
had at first refused to believe she could sing in a soprano range.)
Others danced, sang, and acted their way into the hearts of the
audience. The costumes, sewn by a bevy of parent volunteers, were
beautiful. Our basement cafetorium was transformed into the von
Trapp villa, the Abbey, the terrace overlooking the Alps.
March 12 and 13th to appreciative, full houses.
Not being one for
taking too much time off, immediately after Sound of Music I began
directing Peter Pan, an after-school activity for Brophy Elementary
School students in grades 3-5, in association with the Performing
Arts Center of Metrowest in Framingham, MA. We had a large turn-out
for auditions, but had to limit the cast to twenty-six due to space
constraints. Music director Amira Acre and directorial assistant
Leslie Lomot and I agonized over who would play each part, but I
think we decided on a great cast. We've just started rehearsals,
and the kids are bursting with enthusiasm.
Peter Pan will be
presented on Friday, May 28th, 2004 at 7:30pm at the Brophy School,
575 Pleasant St., Framingham. Tickets are $6 for children and $8
for adults and will be available at the door, or check my calendar
for the box office number when we get a little closer to the date.