My Thoughts on the 2012-2013 Theatre Season

By Mara Shapiro

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10th Period Editor Mara Shapiro on the 2012-2013 theatre season.

Now that our much needed summer break is over, it is time to get back into the swing of school and all the wonderful activities we offer. Clearly, we have a fantastic theatre department. I have seen many, many productions, including “Xanadu,” “Chicago,” and “The King and I.” I still cannot believe that this is my last year covering theatre, but it is. The 2012-2013 season was announced last June, proclaiming that “The Laramie Project,” “The Musical Adventures of Freddie the Frog,” “The Importance of Being Earnest,” and “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”  will be the four main shows. Though I am looking forward to all of these shows not only for the storylines, but because of the incredible acting and presentations, I do have mixed opinions on how the student body will react and their attendance levels.

“The Laramie Project”-  I am extremely pleased that theatre director Andrew Sinclair chose this play as the kickoff to the season. It is a very sad, eye-opening, and controversial true story about a boy named Matthew Shepard who was murdered in 1998 at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, Wyoming for being homosexual. I actually have seen the Lifetime movie about Matthew a few times; I would check “The Matthew Shepard Story” out in order to gain more insight into the tragedy.  Like “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” this play is extremely relatable to not only gay students, but straight students as well because the play is about bullying.  I feel that many students will attend  if they know what “The Laramie Project” is about, which is why I am telling you! “The Laramie Project” will run Wednesday, Sept. 20 through Saturday, Sept. 22 in the Black Box Theatre. 

“The Musical Adventures of Freddie the Frog”- Theatre puts on a children’s show every year. I personally have never heard about “The Musical Adventures of Freddie the Frog.” It is about a frog named Freddie who goes on various adventures to convey a message about the importance of music.. There are pros and cons with performing a not well-known children’s tale. A con would be that high school students are not going to go view a kid’s play when it was not a beloved tale for them when they were younger. A pro would be getting to watch a new story, something that one has never seen before. Sometimes people are disappointed when they view a famous children’s play, because the original book or play is not the same as the Disney-fied version, or the viewer simply doesn’t like the way the story is portrayed on stage. Plus, it’s a musical so there will be tons of catchy songs to go along with the wonderful plot! There are some fun facts about this musical  that readers will find out about in the coming play preview.  “Freddie the Frog” will run Thursday, Dec. 6 through Saturday, Dec. 8. in the Robert L. Johnson Auditorium. 

“The Importance of Being Earnest”- I cannot express my love for this choice enough. The original book  was written by Irish author Oscar Wilde, whose work I adore. His arguably most famous work is “The Picture of Dorian Gray.” The man’s prose is beautiful; I seriously go on Brainyquote and sift through his page for hours.  “The Importance of Being Earnest” is about an esteemed landowner in England named Jack Worthing. Jack pretends to have a younger brother named Ernest, when in reality Ernest is an alibi for Jack to go off and live a different life.  Meanwhile, Jack is hoping to find love with socialite Gwendolen. This choice is sort of like last year’s “The Taming of the Shrew.” Yes, English geeks like myself will go, English teachers and other staff members,too, but will the students? I think it would be awesome if teachers offered extra credit as incentive, but I really think that students should go because a truly classic  play will be performed right in front of their very eyes at an extremely low cost. You will not be disappointed, and you can gain brownie points by discussing your reactions with your English teachers.“The Importance of Being Ernest” will run Thursday, Feb. 21 through Saturday, Feb. 23 in the Black Box Theatre. 

“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”- Out of all of the productions, this one is where I’m a little bit nervous about attendance. Last year was of course the brilliant “Chicago,” which embodied dance, music, flapper dresses, and racy scenes and dialogue.  Obviously, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” is a lot more tame. It is a biblical tale that is about a man named Joseph who has 11 brothers. Joseph is their father, Jacob’s, favorite and is given a multicolored coat by Jacob that shows the preference. Joseph is set up to die by his brothers, but is sold into slavery instead.  Now, I do not know how students will react to this choice. It is a biblical story, which may draw more students or push a few away. More than a few students know the story, so to see it performed as a musical will allow for a different perspective. There will still be great acting, beautiful costumes, catchy songs, and a Niles West theatre production feel.  It is the annual spring musical, the closing of the main stage season, but it is not  as flashy as “Chicago” nor as envelope pushing as “Fame.” But change is good, and not every musical has to be in that category, so go and watch it! Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat will run Thursday, May 2 through Saturday, May 4 in the Robert L. Johnson Auditorium. 

Theatre Director Andrew Sinclair chose these production because of the “I am who I am” theme.

“Every show is dealing with identity, hiding it, or other things one has to face. It’s one of the hardest things about growing up,” Sinclair says.