Drove up to Massachusetts yesterday, to see a production of the play "My Fair Lady" at Nashoba Regional High School. My niece Sara, a sophomore, had a minor role. Have not been to a high school musical in a while - I think the last was Rave at the local performing arts magnet school, which was wonderful but a far cry from Lerner and Loewe. So it was fun to go see what Sara is up to.
First off, Nashoba serves a fairly affluent group of western MA towns - and that affluence shows in the production. I counted 5 or 6 costume changes for my niece (in a fairly minor, non-speaking role) and the cast must have numbered 30 or so. The set pieces too were top notch. Professor Higgins' study was a multi-level affair, a London street set had a faux church, a beautifully painted scrim (rented, I am told), and plenty of little electrics (a glowing fire in a barrel, lighted street lamps, etc.) A far cry from the little productions of my high school years (catholic school) even though the student population is about the same.
The leads were phenomenal - well past high school and into a community or regional theater level of performance. Kudos especially to Jackie Murtha (Eliza), Michael Sestito (Higgins), Kyle Mendes (Alfred Doolittle), and Nicholas Sestito (Colonel Hugh Pickering) - all were top notch, wonderful voices, wonderful emoting, great movement.
Lots of parental involvement as well - my sister was house manager, my brother-in-law was photographer. Both my nephews went to see their sister (although the oldest reportedly fell asleep, the performance clocked in at 3:15 including an intermission)
I love to see the various theater cliques - the upperclass stars (much beloved with cheers and screams coming from the audience during curtain calls). The younger students a little out of their league but trying hard. The techies, dressed in black, with amusing tee shirts (Techies do it in the dark!) and a little whiff of outsider. The band members. I do so wish I were living in my body and not so darned self conscious during high school. I was in the pit band (for Godspell) and even trod the boards a bit (variety / talent show) but I missed a lot of opportunity.
And then, to see Sara, who has passed any adolescent awkwardness and is becoming a beautiful young woman, in the chorus, singing, moving, dancing. My heart filled up with hope and with love for her energy, her passion, her connection to her friends and to the art. Seeing my sister (a theater geek herself) passing the torch to her child. Seeing all that young energy, bursting off the stage, getting ready for life.
Great show, kids. You all rock!