The stage had barely gone to black and the set struck after "Little Shop" when Mrs. Anderson came to me with an idea of doing a musical with our middle school students. I knew right then that she had been infected with the same 'bug' as me when I used to direct musicals. When she shared with me that she wanted to do 'Oklahoma' I thought wow, she is ambitious. Then late in the summer Mr. Dieken and I asked her to take over the high school program. She didn't want to do it unless we still let her do the musical with the middle school. Yeah, she has the bug pretty bad.
You see, there is something truly magical that happens when a school musical goes into production. From those very early rehearsals with cast members stumbling around the stage, bumping into things with their faces buried in the libretto--to a living breathing musical where all the actors hit the mark transforming us to a far off place--there is nothing quite like it. It really is as though the script comes to life when the curtain is drawn. Tonight I felt like those young people really did take me to Oklahoma! Tonight I felt like I did after our last show, a little sadness that I was no longer directing. And it all comes down to the magic that the kids make on stage. They were truly amazing.
To say that I was impressed is a complete understatement. Blown away is more like it. When I tell you that I thought it was ambitious to choose Oklahoma (for a first time middle school musical nonetheless), what I really meant to say was, seriously? How on earth are you going to pull that one off? I had looked at Oklahoma once upon a time, and you need some serious musicians and a solid dance troupe. The choreography alone was enough to scare me off. To do it with middle school? No thanks. To top it all off, this is a big cast musical, something that has been rare at Hudson, and never done with middle school.
Tonight when the stage lights were lit, I knew this was going to be something special, and that this was serious business. Those young people were on, and their voices absolutely amazing. The power strength and maturity of the vocals left me wondering at times if this really were a middle school production. Then there was the dancing, blocking, and chorus--all critical components that were unbelievably solid.
Last year we were treated to some amazing talent. Sometimes after that we are left wondering if it can be replicated. To use a common sports metaphor, we wonder if we are going to rebuild or reload. It is evident that in our case we are simply going to reload. Almost as if foreshadowing this very thing, Mrs. Anderson remarked to me at the conclusion of the show, "I wonder what we can do next?" Indeed, the future is bright for these youngsters and we will have an opportunity to continue to be dazzled by their talents.
Congratulations, I am so very proud of you!