That said, Glee has had me jonesing to see a high school play again, and fortunately the fall play is the musical. Said musical was "Anything Goes," of which my knowledge is basically "GLEE KINDA DID THAT SONG!" (mashed up with something else) and "My mom was in that play in high school!", the conclusion being it's old and therefore classy and not at all like that travesty "Urinetown" that caused me to write off the theater department forever.
(except apparently the year after that they did West Side Story. %*()&%*(#&%! And the year after that they apparently did "How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying." #(%&#*(%&#*(%&#*(%&#*(%&*(#&*(#%&!!)
Also, FUN FACT: turns out the lead in tonight's show was on PBS reality miniseries "Broadway or Bust" this year. I didn't see it, but I did think the previews looked good so maybe I should make the effort to do that. Although I'm not entirely certain I would recognize her unless she's featured, possibly with her name on screen. Still, you know how you are always hoping you'll see someone from your state on a TV show? YOUR TOWN (that is not a giant city) is pretty amazing.
Just walking into the school made me almost cry with relief and nostalgia. My old school,
The last time I saw a school play was 2004, due to being away at college followed by the travesty named above in 2009. We have an exceptional little theater and I missed it so much. I am delighted to see that the choir teacher is still here and still directing, although that was pretty much the only name I recognized in the whole thing; sigh at this being-way-graduated business.
It was really satisfying to see all these teenagers in the audience. You read about them in YA novels, but it's weird to see them in real life where they are actually 16 and not 26! Weird and awesome. I should clarify that teenagers outside of school, at least the ones I encounter, tend to be more like obnoxious stray dogs, but the kind who come to musicals are classy upstanding and seriously, seriously, I think I need to figure out a way to work with teens if the ability to be one continues to elude me. That whole crippling-inability-to-talk-to-people puts a damper on things, but I'm finally at the point where I feel like I have adult credibility instead of being their contemporary (I did not feel this way at 23), and maybe I would not feel ridiculous speaking to them as an adult.
Several paragraphs later, talk of the actual show:
I didn't know anything about it going in, and even forgot to read the summary in the playbill, but I liked it. It wasn't an instant classic for me or anything, with no memorable songs besides its title feature (and that is 95% Glee's doing) and was probably the least excellent of the 5 musicals I've seen this school put on, but I LOVE high school theater. Love, love, love. There is no better way to watch theater unless it stars an awesome celebrity, and possibly even then. I've seen two shows at the Orpheum, and while said shows were the impeccable Les Mis and Pride & Prejudice, they still don't compare to the feeling you get in a high school theater. The magic that Glee captures, that's a real thing, only it's way better when you get to see the full show.
There was nothing I hated, so here is a list composed 100% of things I loved!
- Reno Sweeney (Broadway or Bust girl) was AMAZING. I have no idea if it was because the character's awesome or I just when in telling myself she was a minor celebrity, but I could not get enough of her hilarity.
- Our Billy was really cute, and I'm mad he's a senior so I'll never get to see him sing again.
- There were two dogs in the play, played by stuffed animal props (a Pug and a Pomeranian) that were THE MOST EXCELLENT STUFFED DOGS I HAVE EVER SEEN AND I WANT THEM. I also wish someone had reassured me that Cheeky wasn't murdered for his fur and/or thrown overboard, because I was pretty horrified throughout the play when I couldn't tell, until he turned up safe and sound at the end.
- My favorite thing after Reno was feasting my eyes on all the background/chorus members in their pretty, pretty dresses, which looked largely like Prom/similar dresses and appeared endless in their number of colors and styles, never mind accessories. I wish I had a fashion gallery of all their outfits. TV has led me to believe most Prom dresses are hideously cut/cleavage-baring things, but these were like 98% amazing.
- Hope Harcourt (my mom's former role)...pretty much lived up to my mom's description of being boring (but boring's too mean. I'll just say she faded into the background, and that's the writing's fault). Except for during one dance, where she was twirling a lot and her long skirt kept catching an awful lot of air, and sure enough she accidentally flashed the audience. In a less embarrassing way than Lohan style flashing, but I felt bad. Just not bad enough not to tell the world.
- The girl playing her mother had a fantastic grasp of fake histrionics
- The Captain was about 7 feet tall. I'm not even kidding; it was mindboggling. He may have been as short as 6'6. The girl mentioned above was short, but she barely came up as high as his chest, if that.
- Erma was my favorite character after Reno, with an excellent squeaky voice and New Jersey accent (I think?) to befit the role.
- Our Moonface was a pretty fantastic comedic actor, though. I think he might have been the best guy there.
- THE DANCING. They did a phenomenal tap routine for "Anything Goes." I never wanted it to end. The applause/screaming afterward literally made my ears ring.
- (which reminds me: the one negative thing is how much clapping happens in musicals. Geeze. After every song, every instrumental solo, and every time there's a pause after a solo within a song; twice if the curtains close after the first round of clapping dies down. It's worse than a jazz band concert and twice as irritating because they clap over lines.)
- One thing this program has always done well is props/stage scenery, and let me assure you that tonight was no exception. The boat backdrop they used almost looked real. Plus, for rain during the big Hope/Billy song, they had actual water pouring down in the background that added the most amazing ambient sound.
- We had end-row seats, so we were among the first ones out, and the Reno girl and another actor came running around the corner to take their places in lining the exit hall. I forgot she wasn't technically a celebrity yet and basically skipped in place with an "omg it's her!!" feeling. Such is the power of high school theater.
(tonight is my first night off in 10 days, and by "off" I mean I only have maybe an hour's worth of work left to do tomorrow. I'm quietly ecstatic)
I'm already making plans to see their next play, except apparently their spring production will be Macbeth. Are you kidding me? (are you?) What kind of boredom is that? Is there a secret 21st century hip-and-modern Macbeth that they might do instead? Because I am really not a Shakespeare fan unless it is Hamlet and/or David Tennant is in it.
In conclusion, I will also be staking out the neighboring district and the nearest Catholic school and basically planning to spend a lot more money on theater in the future.