Sunday, September 11, 2005

"If I were a rich man..."

Ya ga da ga da ga da ga dah! All day long I'd biddy!" You guessed it. I'm back at it. One of my favorite musicals: "Fiddler On the Roof" And I've agreed to "consult" on a local production at a middle school. We have an initial planning meeting coming up with the supporting parents' group. It could be alot of fun...and alot of work.

My initial question of course is: Can 6th, 7th and 8th graders (11, 12, & 13 yr. olds) handle the vocal requirements of such a musical? Maybe the chorus, ensemble numbers but the solos? Maybe they want to do scenes from "Fiddler..." Maybe a non-musical version? Then, how many weeks do they have to rehearse and practice the numbers, the blocking etc.? Then, what kind of sets and costumes will be considered? There are a host of other concerns when you take on such a project, especially with younger students. I recently saw a wonderful production of it by a Mormon Stake in Laguna Niguel. It was full scale, all ages, full families and well done.

I can remember when we tried to do "West Side Story" in a summer school/playhouse project in Claremont. We eventually settled for almost no scenery, costumes from home, and big choreographed numbers for the chorus. We had a music director, a choreographer and me, a director. It was "successful" within those limited perameters. Usually Middle Schools are on such tight schedules ie. 50 min. hrs., 5 min. passing. 30 min. lunch. etc. Any real productive stagecrafts, rehearsals has to be done in a "drama club" afterschool, say two to three days a week. This is what we did at El Roble Jr. Hi. when we did "Babes in Toyland" and "Snoopy". I was constantly taking kids home in my van after "Drama Club" which was a big "no no" I must've been crazy, or driven or just oblivious to the risk and liability.
I can't get that involved this time as a "consultant". Maybe an hour a week, we'll see.

You know, I truly am "a rich man" when you come to think of what opportunities I have and have had. Working with young people who are having "fun" has always been a joy for me. I was always amazed that I got paid for doing what I did for so many years with kids. I wasn't richly rewarded, monetarily, but I sure was rewarded in other ways. Performing and helping others to perform the arts is still a thrilling prospect. I just have to be careful not to "over do" or over commit to more than I can handle while working full time selling homes. The last time I was "on the stage" so to speak was in a Sun Lakes Drama Club production of an Agatha Christie Murder Mystery. I had a bit part and was one of the "usual suspects". It was fun. I got an award from the group for being the one "most missing" from rehearsals because I was still selling home at Sun Lakes. Oh well...the show must go on...break a leg! Bob!


At 10:29 AM, Anonymous Bette said...

There's a wonderful kid group here that does musicals. I try not to miss. Next one is Annie. Little kids up to age 15, and they do a GREAT job. Called Pandemonium Players. LOTS of parent involvement makes it happen.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger BOB! Your Life Preserver said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. 15 is hardly little "worldly wise" now. Parent involvement is all that is keeping the "Arts" in the schools. No extra-curricular funds for singing especially. Sad.


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