It's spring musical season, and the crazy kids down at the high school are putting on a gosh-darn show!
High school theatre runs are short; you really have to be alert for them. But March-May you can count on somewhere in your 10 mile radius there being a big old-fashioned musical going on every weekend. Thanks to the quick minds at Baker's Plays, they will all also be different. Tonight I caught My Fair Lady at the Nashoba regional.
They did the whole crazy production: every reprise of Street Where You Live, every Stanley Holloway "what's this doing here" street scene. It went on so long, I expected an Agnes DeMille dream ballet to occur during the curtain call. 3 and a half hours of fearless adolescent potential on display.
You don't have to be a drama club alumna to appreciate this effort, but it helps.
So much hard work for one burst of a weekend, then everything goes back to Mr Formal and the Oak Furniture store. I might be caught in my own flashback.
So give them your $10. I promise you will get your money's worth, even if you don't have a Pepsi or win the 50/50 raffle. The worst of the cast will fill your heart with their courage, the jocks they corralled into the chorus will challenge your stereotypes about Athletes and Drama Geeks, and the leads (both dramatic and comedic - there is a pattern to these stories) will take your breath away. In this production, Eliza and Higgins had obviously been coached directly from the film version, but their impressions on Audrey Hepburn and Rex Harrison were so spot-on that you had to appreciate them just for that. I suppose no one is ever going to put an "original" spin on Henry Higgins at this point anyway.
Freddie Einsford-Hill was sadly miscast, or had a full-on Cindy Brady, because that role has only one thing to do: sing a big tenor number (over and over and over) and it was just too much for him. (this is not him. this is just proof that a teenage boy can pull it off)
As a rule, I would advise against making high schoolers try to pull off accents, particularly turn of the century East End. But once you've stricken My Fair Lady, The King and I, West Side Story, and Oklahomer (as we say these parts) off your list, you may be stuck with Grease. And can we all, as a nation, agree to stop putting on productions of Grease? Funny thing about the Nashoba production of course, is that if you are imitating Audrey Hepburn, that's a BBC accent learned by a Cockney character played in a Belgian accent by way of the Netherlands. Oh, who cares, she's in Givenchy.
The Maine accent of Carousel, as written by Oscar Hammerstein ("Ain-cha skeered, Carrie?") spoken in the Petersburg accent, could not have held up much better. What I would give to watch that videotape. If only I had a 20-lb top-loading Panasonic to play it on.
First weekend of April: Guys and Dolls at Clinton High. Save me center-center.