Cindy Says: Classically speaking...

Cindy Says: Classically speaking...

By Cindy Ripley on September 10, 2018

By now you have most likely begun the new school year with gusto. After having the opportunity to work with so many wonderful teachers and directors in workshops this summer, I wanted to be one of their students! Teachers with renewed energy, new techniques and new colleagues all translates to students able to successfully express themselves through the arts!

Many of you were rejuvenated by seeing shows, downloading albums, and poring over new titles to see if one is the perfect fit for your casts. I overindulge with theater in the summer, and this year the classics were front and center. I must admit, I bought my ticket to Carousel with an opinion formed many years ago when I first was introduced to the show. Needless to say, this fresh interpretation of a classic surprised and charmed me so much that I purchased a repeat ticket.

iTheatrics was fortunate enough to workshop a high school adaptation of My Fair Lady over the summer, and the eloquence and tenacity of the students involved bowled me over during an inspiring discussion after the show. The question posed to them by the show's representatives no less, was this: is this show still relevant? The students answered a resounding, "Yes!"

The obligation we as teachers and directors have to present the value of the classics within a diet of newer titles is crucial. Here are a few thoughts to consider as you scroll through titles:

• Programs that thrive year after year balance shows that have title equity (familiar shows) with passion projects (not well known but wonderful shows). The classics in the Broadway Junior collection are often the only version of these classic musicals members of your audience will ever see. YOU are the musical theatre expert in your community.

• Musical theatre offers students an organic understanding of history and culture of the story they are telling onstage that is never forgotten. Theatre provides young people the opportunity to step into other peoples' lives and experience those perspectives. The classics answer the call every time.

• Have a conversation with local musical theatre colleagues about what musicals they are considering. There is nothing worse than announcing your dream show only to learn a school in the next community is considering it as well.

• Be confident that you and your team can successfully mount the show with the boundaries you've identified and the resources at hand.

• Trust your instincts. Remember who must benefit the most from your title choice - your students. Always. One show at a time. - CR