By Fiona Burrows, Staff Writer
For the high school theatre scene, the new year means dozens of new shows. March is musical season in Lamorinda’s local high schools’ performing arts programs.
Acalanes will be putting on Bye Bye Birdie, a musical comedy set in the 50’s. Teen Heartthrob Conrad Birdie heads out to a small Ohio town for one last performance, and to kiss one lucky fan, before heading to war. The show premiers March 2-4.
Next door in Walnut Creek, the Las Lomas drama department’s Fiddler on the Roof will take place March 24-26, 31- April 1. A traditional musical staple about tradition, Fiddler on the Roof tells the story of tight-knit Jewish community in pre-revolutionary Russia and a man named Tevye trying to preserve his culture in changing times.
Miramonte is taking a more modern route and will perform The Addams Family this spring. The contemporary show plays on timeless themes of honesty and family through an original story about the Addams family.
Just in time for Disney’s live action movie, Beauty and the Beast at Campo premieres one day after the movie does, March 18-25. Their double show casting ensures that double the students can showcase their talents on stage.
A reoccurring trend among the schools this year are musicals set in a different era in history.
Las Lomas’ Fiddler on the Roof takes place during 1905 Russia, Campolindo’s Beauty and the Beast takes on a fantasy setting, and despite Miramonte’s Addams Family taking place in the modern day, many of the Addams family ancestors are dressed in period clothing.
“I think it’s going to be hard doing the era all the shows are in. Fiddler is from a long time ago, Bye Bye Birdie too. But I think it’s all gonna come together really well. Las Lomas and Acalanes are especially talented in the music and drama departments,” choir council president junior Maddy Blair, said.
Despite these challenges, performing arts students are ready to tackle any problems in their way. With enough work and participation, students can produce amazing, high quality shows.
Acalanes’ performing arts program highlights the importance of student involvement in the arts particularly. Choir teacher Bruce Lengacher finds it’s important to have a student-led musical program every year. Students take on the positions of director, producer, choreographer and more with Lengacher supervising.
“I think it has a real world application… the same thing happens in a real show. I tell my choirs all the time the only difference between us and professionals are that they get paid. We’re doing the same thing. We can create an environment that is as realistic as possible and offer hands-off guidance,” Lengacher said.
Student involvement is essential to getting a show on its feet, especially when students have large roles in production as well as acting. Developing a show is a group effort. Without the dedication of everyone in the cast and crew, the show wouldn’t be possible.
“It’s important to get students involved in shows. From tech to costumes to being in it, it’s important to have a lot of people because that’s what makes the show great,” Blair said.
With schools in the area preparing for amazing shows coming the spring, viewers from Lamorinda can look forward to fantastic performances.