In the last four years, the school's Emanon Players have put on big spring shows, a production around Christmas and sometimes a spring show too. This year's spring extravaganza followed the pattern. However, the choice of, Stephen Sondheim's, "INTO THE WOODS," left many veteran Absegami thespians, particularly the seniors, dissatisfied.
The main sticking point was, "Into the Woods" featured a smaller than usual cast. Plus some of the roles were earned by underclassmen. Therefore many dedicated drama kids who wanted one last hurrah on stage felt short changed.
Two students understood this failing. They fantasized about a production that would increase the amount of premium roles while also providing Emanon's wealth of unrecognized talent, a better opportunity for a solo performance. Their idea quickly gained momentum and soon the entire drama department was eager to proceed. They decided to write and produce their own show. On a shoestring budget, they enlisted the help of student choreographers, costumers, stage crew, and musicians. More importantly, with the help of bounding enthusiasm for their craft, they got the blessing of the school administration.
In a short time, the plan was set in motion and "MAKING THE MUSIC," was born. However, the spontaneity of putting on a show -- from scratch -- is wrought with dilemmas. I'm guessing the greatest hurdle was conquering time. They had less than two months to write, cast, and rehearse it. Everyone made sacrifices but a couple weeks before the curtain went up, putting the show together seemed like a reach.
Yet the players forged ahead. They put other responsibilities on the back burner and resolved themselves with beaucoup hours to make the show a success.
The concept of the show mirrors the play itself. A dramatic plot is set as three kids are forced (assigned) to produce a high school play. They are handed piles of books on the history of Broadway musicals and told to find inspiration for their own show.
In a clever meshing of diverse personalities, the three characters set about overcoming their parochial tendencies while addressing issues that confront graduating high school students, (uncertainty of the future, love, responsibility and going beyond their comfort zone).
|THE WRITERS, MOST OF THE PLAYERS, AND CREW ARE OUT-GOING SENIORS. SO THE USE OF TEENAGE ANGST ISSUES TO GLUE THEIR SONG AND DANCE VIGNETTES TOGETHER, HELPED MAKE THIS BROADWAY TRIBUTE COME-OFF NATURALLY.|
|AS GREAT AS THE INDIVIDUAL SINGING PERFORMANCES WERE, THE INTENSE PRECISION OF THE CHOREOGRAPHY IN, "ANYTHING GOES," WAS THE HIGHLIGHT OF THE FIRST ACT.|
The second act opened with a bang, in the form of, "CELL BLOCK TANGO," from, "CHICAGO." Then it was onto, "AMERICA," from "WEST SIDE STORY." And "LUCK BE A LADY TONIGHT," from "GUYS AND DOLLS."
|IN THE LAST FOUR YEARS, I ATTENDED NEARLY EVERY EMANON PLAYER SHOW . BUT THIS TIME, YOU COULD SEE, IN EVERYTHING THAT EVERYONE DID, THE SHEER JOY OF PERFORMING. THIS IDEA WAS TYPIFIED WHEN HONORING, "WEST SIDE STORY."|
|"IMAGINE THAT, A WHOLE MUSICAL ABOUT A STATE?" MIXED INTO THE SERIOUSNESS AND THE LYRICAL GENIUS, THE PLAYWRIGHTS LEFT ROOM FOR SOME COMEDY TOO.|
Interwoven into each musical sketch there was a topical theme relating to the student's anxiety on impending adulthood.
|THAT MESSAGE WAS MOST OBVIOUS IN THE SONG, "I DON'T WANNA GROW UP," FROM, "PETER PAN."|
|DUE TO TIME RESTRAINTS, THESE ACTORS HAD ONLY ONE CHANCE TO NAIL THIS SINGLE PERFORMANCE OF "MAKING THE MUSIC..." AND DID. THEY OVER CAME OTHER OBSTACLES AND PUT ON A PLAY WORTHY OF THE "BIG" SPRINGTIME SHOW LABEL.|
These Emanon Players left an deletable mark on their audience. The crowd left the theater with enthusiastic chatter on their lips and many great tunes in their head. Though these actors may never don the grease paint together again...and after this June, many will never even see each again...the shared memories of this wonderful team effort will remain eternal.
|THE EMANON PLAYERS TAKE A FINAL CURTAIN CALL. I CONGRATULATE EVERYONE'S CONTRIBUTION TO THIS PROJECT AS WELL AS THE PAST PERFORMERS WHO PROVIDED THE FOUNDATION AND MOTIVATION OF THIS TROUPE'S COMMAND /LAST PERFORMANCE.|
I would hope that future seniors take this "don't stop believin'" baton and run with it. This glorious idea of each graduating class inventing their own unique message in the form of a, by us, for you show, should became a permanent fixture at Absegami.
And please, wherever you live, support your local high school's drama department.