Saturday, January 19, 2008

High School Musical

My husband and I have been going to high school plays for years. Usually, we’ve known someone in the production: our kid’s babysitter, the child of a friend, and for a few years, our own daughter. We’ve seen comedies and tragedies, musicals and one-acts, outstanding efforts with high production values and cringe-inducing flops. After many years of high school theater-going, I feel relatively qualified to review last night’s performance of The Sound of Music at Stafford High School.

Stafford High's theater department had an outstanding reputation for years, so my expectations were pretty high. I wasn’t disappointed. In a nutshell, the production was fantastic. Neither my husband nor I can remember a better high school musical. There really is just one thing you must have to mount a successful musical production, but you’d be surprised how often this element is missing: singers. No, not just one kid with a good voice, but an entire cast of kids, a few with great voices (for high schoolers—don’t worry, I know it’s not Broadway), a lot with good voices, and no one with a bad voice. Last night was a real surprise, with at least 4 or 5 standout kids with remarkably strong voices, and not an American Idol reject in the entire large cast. In addition, this high school had wireless mics on every actor with a speaking role. You’d be surprised (or not) how difficult it is for high schoolers to project to an auditorium without amplification, and not being able to hear what’s being said or sung is typical of high school productions. So kudos to Stafford and the school system, or the theater boosters, or whoever came up with the bucks for that. In addition, I appreciated the choice of a crowd-pleasing, well-known musical (although I had never seen the stage version, so the addition of a few unknown songs was a pleasant surprise), the sets and costuming and lighting were all above average, there was a live pit orchestra, and everything came off without a major hitch. Oh, the wireless mics presented a few glitches here and there, with some static and some cutting in and out, but not a real distraction. And miracle of miracles, except for the woman behind me who crunched a bag of food for about 5 minutes (no food allowed in the auditorium, lady!), the audience was well-behaved.

I did know one of the littlest von Trapp kids, and I work with the mom of one of the nuns, and having someone to pay extra attention to is always fun. But even if you don’t know anyone in this cast, it is worth the $10 admission charge. The play runs again tonight (if it doesn’t snow) and on Tuesday, so don’t waste another night in front of the TV—get out and support your local high school musical. The curtain rises at 7.

The von Trapp kids. Excuse the blurry photos--I'm a polite audience member who would never take a flash photo during a performance.


1 comment:

Madeline said...

Thanks for the great review. This show is sooo much fun and I'm gonna be sad when our last show rolls around.

Thanks to your picture, I'm realizing how much shorter my dress is than everybodyelse's...how embarrasing.