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In 40 years here I’ve never been as impressed with a student performance as I was with the Olions’ staged musical of “The Wiz,” a lovable and laughable take-off on “The Wizard of Oz.”
Offering drama classes at both mid- and high schools during the past 20 years has developed enthusiasm and real talent for an activity once given little respect among students.
Athletic teams are still fairly well subsidized but these kids who have a passion for theater must operate on a shoestring.
Few students will still participate in team sports as adults, but the influence of coaches, team work and hard work should serve them well in their futures.
Yet, as a school counselor and mother of six LAHS grads, I’ve found involvement in drama and performing may reap benefits few other activities might offer.
What they are expected to achieve in a very concentrated span of time requires self-discipline, patience, commitment, a passion and a maturity not easily acquired.
They memorize music and dance steps and lines that all require being totally tuned into each other at all times. And learning a dance is often combined with helping in the construction of a set.
And the scenery and sets were the best I’ve ever seen at the high school level. Musicians of high school students performed, adding much to a show that flowed flawlessly and displaying vocals that show real promise.
In essence, they have given their all and are proud of their results. They have sacrificed study time, dating and dinners — and sleep! They became one family.
They deserve to have a full house for their three performances remaining. It is appealing and appropriate for all ages and costs no more than a movie ticket. What more can I say — it has no weaknesses!
Last summer I celebrated my 70th birthday in New York City and as I sat among an audience of all ages at a Broadway performance of ‘Hair” — revived after 40 years, I loved the enthusiasm and interaction the cast had with us. As the notes of “Aquarius” were finishing, many of us were ushered on stage to sing and dance with the cast to rousing strains of “Let the Sunshine In” — incredible!
I suddenly felt a surge of nostalgia of being a high school senior and playing Jo March in “Little Women” in small-town Indiana.
May my granddaughter and her castmates have such fond, proud memories of “The Wiz” when they are 70.
Judy Clendenen Fisher