This past weekend, I was so blessed to see five shows involving students, former students, and friends.
I had two students serving as principals in two musicals, Brookville junior, Monica Impson scaled the rooftops of London as a dazzling Mary Poppins in Disney’s MARY POPPINS, and Alter freshman, Jack Issler, captured laughs as the quipping Mereb in Elton John’s AIDA.
Brookville High School, based in rural Ohio, and a major exit off I-70, pulled out all the stops, and magic with the large-scale MARY POPPINS. I was delighted with the production, and even more thrilled with Monica’s commanding presence, and performance as the nanny of all nannies.
Most smaller schools are at a funding, and participation disadvantage; however, the Brookville school-community got its “supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” on, and knocked it over the roof-tops of London. There were a number of non-theatre participants that also included several faculty, and about two dozen little peeps portraying the come-to-life toys in the nursery.
Getting folks involved is crucial to performing arts programs, especially in smaller school districts, and Brookville scored beautifully while giving the younger students a taste of what’s to come when they cross the high school’s threshold.
While Monica soared vocally, and made the floor boards shutter with her acting, I was like a little kid taken with the magic of theatre as she gently lifted into the air, umbrella poised in Poppins-style, and spooning out the dazzling magic of flight on stage.
One of my dozen ginger-haired students, Jack, arrived on the freshman scene ready to do battle, and he got a taste of stage battle as the cunning, rascally, yet devoted servant, Mereb.
I’d not seen AIDA, but have always loved Elton John’s score. The production, under the direction of my one of my top five directors, Megan Wean Sears, did not disappoint. I’ve been to AHS’s productions prior to Megan’s arrival, and they were good. However, even Megan’s two preceding, very strong AHS productions, CHILDREN OF EDEN and INTO THE WOODS, were pebbles in the Mideastern sands compared to AIDA.
Something was definitely written in the stars, and it wasn’t just a love song!
Enough about Megan! This was to be about Jack’s performance….
Last Spring, I attended Jack’s St. Charles’ talent show where he pulled off a brilliant interpretation of “It’s Your Wedding Day” from THE WEDDING SINGER. I’d heard him sing the song in lessons, and he was great. I was not expecting the sheer confidence, and ownership from the then-8th grader.
I was not surprised his AIDA audition merited him a principal role, as well as understudy to the male lead. Jack’s tenor voice floated, and his wisecracks crackled with hilarity that endeared him to the audience, thus making his late Act Two death quite shocking.
Bravo, Alter High School!