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Commentary: Theater season is upon us

Staff writer

It’s that time of year again. The football regular season is over, but basketball practice hasn’t started. That means it is time for high school theater.

This weekend, four high schools in the county will present musicals for the public: “Working” in Hillsboro, “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in Marion, “Fiddler on the Roof” at Peabody-Burns High School, and “Brigadoon” at Goessel.

Centre High School produced “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” on Friday.

Cast and crew members have spent countless hours preparing for a single weekend, and it hasn’t happened in a vacuum. In small communities like ours, the same students that are in the plays are involved in sports and clubs. Despite dividing their time, area students regularly compete against much larger schools for awards.

Growing up in Washington County, my high school produced one play each year, but it was never a musical when I was in school. My younger sister, Emily, was involved in the play all four years of high school.

When she was a senior, the school finally produced a musical: “Grease.” Emily was thrilled — “Grease” is one of her favorite movies. She didn’t anticipate how much extra effort a musical takes. She had to learn songs and choreography in addition to lines.

My parents barely saw her in the month before the show. But when opening night arrived, it was worth all the work. The songs and dances were spot-on. Emily was so proud afterward, not because the play went well, but because it went well in front of her family and friends.

Students here in Marion County deserve the opportunity to show everyone what they have worked so hard to produce. I hope when they look into the audience, they don’t see any empty seats.

Increased testing requirements and school budget shortfalls put pressure on fine arts programs, which often are among the first items to get chopped during budget cuts. The best way to prevent that fate is to support students’ artistic efforts.

Besides, I don’t think you’ll get a better deal for your entertainment dollar than local musical theater.

Last modified Nov. 10, 2009

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