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“Theatre demands different muscles and different aspects of one’s personality.” ― Victor Garber
After about ten minutes into each theatrical production at Centerville High School, I tend to forget I am watching high school students – not college or professional – performing, and running the technical aspects of the show.
They are always THAT GOOD.
I look forward to theatre at Centerville High School as much as I do productions at two other outstanding educational institutions, Wright State University and Sinclair Community College. I never wonder, “how will Centerille pull off this show?” That’s a waste of time to even consider that question; CHS does it better than any other high school in Western Ohio. I am always confident I will leave the auditorium a lot more excited than when I entered – and I always enter CHS’s lobby with a good deal of excitement because I know I am set for a damned good production.
Tonight, my theatre directing friends, Suzanne Grote and Aaron Jacobs, along with Suzanne’s niece, Erin, and my son, Quintin, joined me for AVENUE Q. This quartet is always at my side for Centerville productions, and we never fail to marvel at the tremendous efforts and talent engaged at this high school theatre program.
I like it when the curtain is open upon seating in the auditorium because I have more time to absorb (marvel, shake my head, chuckle at little touches, and appreciate) Mike Cordonnier’s set designs. Mike, like several of his Miami Valley contemporaries – Terry Stump at Sinclair Community College, Bruce Brown at nearly every other venue in town and beyond, the Wright State University crew – never fails to impress and surprise me with his creativity. Mike’s superbly trained brigade of blossoming technical talent can run a show with ease.
Joe Beumer’s clean, creative, and concise stage direction is a perfect marriage to Mike Cordonnier’s set designs and technical leadership. There is an incredible amount of magic when you have Joe and Mike charting the course. And since Ben Spalding’s arrival as CHS’s choral director, the vocal talent, often accompanied by the instrumental direction of either Brandon Barrometti or Joshua Baker, has soared to new heights.
Centerville High School’s theatre program is outstanding in every way!
I had never seen a stage production of AVENUE Q, originally conceived by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, who also co-wrote the lyrics and music with Jeff Whitty’s libretto. The school edition is not watered down to the point of dull-dom, as other school musical editions tend to be. My colleagues who accompanied me tonight assured me this version was just as great as the original. And the students – on stage and beyond – lifted this production beyond my already high expectations!
If the creators had been able to see this production, I am certain they would have appreciated, and enthusiastically applauded the phenomenal talents of these high school students, and their exceptional mentors/directors.
I am not joking when I say, “Centerville High School has one of the best, if not the best, high school theatre programs around.”
Go see their shows, and see for your self!
I have a high school senior voice/musical theatre student from Kettering’s Fairmont High School here in Ohio, who is writing her senior research paper on the musical theatre industry. Her thesis statement is centered around:
How musical theatre has affected the American culture between 1920 to the present.
If you have any:
- personal/professional thoughts on this topic
- any sources to which she might turn
please feel free to share.
Her rough draft is due Monday, October 29th.
Thanking you all in advance… Darin
- Leaps Tall Buildings In A Single Bound
- Is More Powerful Than A Locomotive
- Is Faster Than A Speeding Bullet
- Walks On Water
- Gives Policy To God
- Leaps Short Buildings In A Single Bound
- Is More Powerful Than A Switch Engine
- Is Just As Fast As A Speeding Bullet
- Walks On Water If The Sea Is Calm
- Talks With God
- Leaps Short Buildings With A Running Start
- Is Almost As Powerful As A Switch Engine
- Is Faster Than A Speeding BB
- Swims Well
- Is Occasionally Addressed By God
- Makes High Marks On The Wall When Trying To Leap Buildings
- Is Run Over By Locomotives
- Can Sometimes Handle A Gun Without Inflicting Self-Injury
- Dog Paddles
- Talks To Animals
- Runs Into Buildings
- Recognizes Locomotives Two Out Of Three Times
- Is Not Issued Ammunition
- Can Stay Afloat With A Life Preserver
- Talks To Walls
- Falls Over Doorsteps When Trying To Enter Buildings
- Says, Look At The Choo-Choo!
- Wets Self With A Water Pistol
- Plays In Mud Puddles
- Mumbles To Self
- Lifts Buildings And Walks Under Them
- Kicks Locomotives Off The Track
- Catches Speeding Bullets In Teeth And Eats Them
- Freezes Water With A Single Glance
- Is GOD
I saw tonight, for the first time, the Jim Leonard, Jr. play, THE DIVINERS. Several friends told me that I would probably enjoy the production if one was in the area.
Well, Centerville High School produced THE DIVINERS, and it was absolutely incredible. It is a fairly hefty piece to tackle, and as I’ve become accustomed to the excellent quality of any CHS production, I was not let down for a second.
To learn more about this play, please visit: THE DIVINERS by Jim Leonard, Jr.
The cast of teenagers was outstanding. The cast included:
Buddy Layman – Evan Benjamin
C.C. Showers – Alex Roesch
Ferris Layman – Nick Beecroft
Jennie Mae Layman – Carly Marten
Basil Bennett – Brendon Embry
Luella Bennett – Erin Ulman
Norma Henshaw – Kate Robinson
Goldie Short – Liz Girvin
Darlene Henshaw – Jackie Mulay
Melvin Wilder – Slava Tchoul
Dewey Maples – Trevor Lucente
There were so many neat moments featuring each cast member in this exceptionally tight ensemble; however, Evan Benjamin ascended well past the fly space as Buddy Layman, who has the ability to predict when it’s going to rain, and also has a knack for finding water sources. But, he suffers an aversion to it. His near death experience from drowning left him impaired, and took the life of his mother, who rescued him.
Evan, a high school sophomore, gave one of the most 3-dimensional portrayals of a staged-character that continually had me forgetting he was a teenager in a high school production. He mastered the redundant lines of the mentally, and emotionally, strapped fourteen year old character, and often had me thinking of my own fourteen year old nephew who is Autistic.
Evan’s genes swim in a pool of incredible performing, professional artists, and I’ve enjoyed watching his parents, John & Martha, and older brother, Ian, now a Wright State University musical theatre major, on stage in many of Epiphany Lutheran Church’s summer productions. I guess I should not be surprised by this younger Benjamin’s work; however, he surpassed the high quality performance I’ve come to expect from this exceptionally talented family.
Everything has its season
Everything has its time
Show me a reason and I’ll soon show you a rhyme
Cats fit on the windowsill
Children fit in the snow
Why do I feel I don’t fit in anywhere I go?
December 31st is always a day for reflection, and this day seems particularly meaningful… several additions to our family… several farewells… wonderful students and their families… several students moving on to college while many former students moved to New York City or into teaching positions… and always, more personal growth.
Rivers belong where they can ramble
Eagles belong where they can fly
I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free
Got to find my corner of the sky
The first four months of 2010 were difficult.
Just a few days into the new year a dear cousin, who had been somewhat of a hero throughout my childhood, passed away with pancreatic cancer. Steve Daughterty was an incredible individual, and is sadly missed.
Life brings on a natural drama, but often, people prefer to create drama. Those are the individuals with whom I can do without, and through the course of this year, I have distanced my self, and my family, from those who prefer to infest their poor life choices and hideous personal drama into my family’s life. The events of the first four months strengthened us as a family, and secured the understanding that our family does come first. And life has been grand! However, we were greatly aided last April by several loving, caring, and dedicated family friends.
Every man has his daydreams
Every man has his goal
People like the way dreams have
Of sticking to the soul
Thunderclouds have their lightning
Nightingales have their song
And don’t you see I want my life to be
Something more than long….
Sadly, I cannot remember much about this past Spring and Summer. I know we had a ton of fun going to musicals, concerts, visiting family in Indiana, spending time with family friends here in Dayton, and kicking off Jose’s fourth, and final year of marching band. We enjoyed visits to Carillon Park, as well as many hours of hiking, and canoeing at Old River Park.
Rivers belong where they can ramble
Eagles belong where they can fly
I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free
Got to find my corner of the sky
June and July were somewhat busy with graduated students prepping for college. I was also updating my home study through ACTION Adoption, half-heartedly, as I was not as hopeful of finding the right son to adopt. Those roads seemed hopelessly closed.
The first of August I delivered Jose to his final marching band camp. It was a tad bit wistful, but I also knew that the fall would bring on several more endings… so this was just the first. Mother drove over to Dayton to celebrate the end of band camp with the parents’ show.
Then tragedy struck… August 24th, our beloved dog, Flyer, became gravely ill, and was suffering from pancreatitis. We were told she would only have a few days with us, but through combined determination from our family, dear family friends and students, and tons of nursing, Flyer pulled through it. By Labor Day she was acting as though nothing had ever happened.
The annual Labor Day Haasienda Celebration had adjustments due to my sister-in-law having three weeks remaining in her pregnancy. Still, Mother made the trip, and Monday we enjoyed the parade and what has become our traditional potluck at the Lockharts’ home afterward.
With the start of school, the marching band season kicked into full gear. There were football games on Fridays and competitions on Saturdays through November.
The highlight of September came on the 21st and the 24th.
September 21st, my sister-in-law, Stacia, gave birth to a beautiful niece, Carolyne. Fortunately, that Saturday, my 46th birthday, was marching band contest-free, so Jose, Mother and I spent the day in Fowler with Destin, Stacia, Parker, Freddie and Carolyne.
September 24th, I spoke with a case worker from New Mexico who wanted to consider the prospects of matching me with a 15 year old Navajo boy on whom I had sent an interest form.
So many men seem destined
To settle for something small
But I won’t rest until I know I’ll have it all
So don’t ask where I’m going
Just listen when I’m gone
And far away you’ll hear me singing
Softly to the dawn:
Marching band and adoption took over my life throughout October and November. As marching band began to wind down, the adoption process began to wind up.
October 22nd, Jose and I, along with several other matching band parents of senior members, walked across the football field for senior night. Two Fridays later, I was fully matched with Quintin, and two hours later, with my full support, Jose was enlisted with the Ohio National Guard.
Life was changing, and what blessings these changes were becoming. A new son was joining our family, and Jose was establishing the start of a childhood dream – to be in the military.
The following week, Jose performed in his last marching band competition at Lucas Oil Stadium, and completed his last band concert. Thanksgiving was spent with Mother, and then on to Fowler for Freddie’s birthday celebration.
Within five days, Jose and I flew to Albuquerque, New Mexico to meet Quintin, his foster family, and the wonderful folks at Red Mountain Family Services. We had one of the most remarkable, and memorable trips.
December 10th, Quintin and his foster dad, Jun, joined us in Dayton for the weekend.
And then December 20th finally arrived… Mother, Jose and I drove to Dayton International Airport to bring Quintin home. We had a beautiful candle lighting ceremony led by New Mexico worker, Janis Melendez, witnessed by family and members of our god-parent team.
The past eleven days have been so fulfilling with the arrival of Quintin, many kindnesses shown our family by my students and their families, Christmas in Indiana, fun times with family friends here in the Miami Valley, and now, our final day of 2010.
Our family is finding its own corner of the sky as we journey into 2011. I am thrilled for the prospects of this coming year, and am eager to get it started. I have my own personal goals, and corners of the sky I will establish, and will continue to assist my sons in establishing their own corners. Jose will graduate and leave for basic and advanced training with the military. Quintin will start a new life entirely with many promises of new adventures.
Rivers belong where they can ramble
Eagles belong where they can fly
I’ve got to be where my spirit can run free
Got to find my corner of the sky
So here is to a new year… a continued journey with many opportunities and thrilling adventures… the continuation of my family… the continuation of my brother’s family… and many more wonderful experiences – those anticipated, and those unexpected.
Many blessings to all our wonderful family and friends…
Darin, Jose & Quintin
I found a great article in The Dayton Paper that lists all the upcoming shows but they were listed under the various companies. I made up a list of shows by their dates.
Keep in mind that I only entered the starting date for some productions, and there may be more performances.
For more information, please visit the following websites for each individual theatre company. Remember that many of the companies listed below can also be located on Facebook and Twitter.
Don’t forget to support the various Children’s Theatre programs in the area, as well.
For outstanding high school theatre productions, be sure to check out Centerville High School’s theatre program – one of the finest student production companies in Ohio!
|09/08/2010||Dirty Rotten Scoundrels||LaComedia|
|09/17/2010||The Spitfire Grill||Beavercreek Community Theatre|
|09/23/2010||August: Osage County||Wright State University & Human Race Theatre Company|
|09/28/2010||Blue Man Group||Victoria Theatre Association|
|09/30/2010||The Importance of Being Earnest||Cedarville University|
|10/02/2010||Forever Plaid||Springfield Arts Council|
|10/08/2010||Die Mommie Die!||Dayton Playhouse|
|10/15/2010||Once On This Island||Sinclair Community College|
|10/15/2010||Moon Over Buffalo||Playhouse South|
|10/21/2010||The 39 Steps||Human Race Theatre Company|
|10/22/2010||The Diviners||University of Dayton|
|10/22/2010||The Sugar Witch||Dayton Theatre Guild|
|10/28/2010||Anything Goes||Wright State University|
|11/02/2010||Spring Awakening||Victoria Theatre Association|
|11/05/2010||Grey Gardens The Musical||Seed Threatre Project|
|11/10/2010||Drumline Live||Victoria Theatre Association|
|11/12/2010||All Shook Up||Centerville High School|
|11/12/2010||Dark Lights of Broadway||Playhouse South|
|11/13/2010||An Evening With Sutton Foster||Springfield Arts Council|
|11/26/2010||Precious Heart||Dayton Theatre Guild|
|12/02/2010||8-Track Sounds of the 70’s||Human Race Theatre Company|
|12/03/2010||A Christmas Carol||Beavercreek Community Theatre|
|12/07/2010||The Wonder Bread Years||Victoria Theatre Association|
|12/17/2010||Christmas Belles||Dayton Playhouse|
|01/07/2011||Ravenscroft||Dayton Theatre Guild|
|01/20/2011||Jeckyll & Hyde||Wright State University|
|01/21/2011||Betty Buckley’s Broadway||Springfield Arts Council|
|01/21/2011||I Hate Hamlet||Playhouse South|
|01/27/2011||Diary Of Anne Frank||Centerville High School|
|01/27/2011||Twelfth Night||Human Race Theatre Company|
|01/28/2011||The Octette Bridge Club||Beavercreek Community Theatre|
|01/28/2011||The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee||Dayton Playhouse|
|02/01/2011||9 to 5: The Musical||Victoria Theatre Association|
|02/02/2011||Fiddler On The Roof||Springfield Arts Council|
|02/04/2011||True West||University of Dayton|
|02/10/2011||The Last 5 Years||Springfield Stageworks|
|02/11/2011||Fat Pig||Dayton Theatre Guild|
|02/11/2011||Almost, Maine||Seed Threatre Project|
|02/17/2011||Picnic||Wright State University|
|02/18/2011||The Foreigner||Sinclair Community College|
|03/03/2011||Seven Brides for Seven Brothers||LaComedia|
|03/04/2011||The Wizard of Oz||Springfield Arts Council|
|03/04/2011||Little Women||Wright State University|
|03/04/2011||Golda’s Balcony||Dayton Theatre Guild|
|03/11/2011||Mid-Life The Crisis Musical||Beavercreek Community Theatre|
|03/11/2011||Beyond Therapy||Dayton Playhouse|
|03/25/2011||Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat||Playhouse South|
|03/28/2011||The Drowsy Chaperone||Victoria Theatre Association|
|04/01/2011||Smoke On The Mountain||University of Dayton|
|04/01/2011||Bill W. & Dr. Bob||Dayton Playhouse|
|04/01/2011||The Boys Next Door||Dayton Theatre Guild|
|04/05/2011||All Shook Up||Victoria Theatre|
|04/14/2011||Permanent Collection||Human Race Theatre Company|
|04/15/2011||An Enemy of the People||Seed Threatre Project|
|04/21/2011||Titus Andronicus||Springfield Stageworks|
|04/22/2011||Blackbird||Dayton Theatre Guild|
|04/29/2011||Hello, Dolly!||Centerville High School|
|05/06/2011||A Piece of Heart||Playhouse South|
|05/12/2011||42nd Street||Wright State University|
|05/13/2011||The Women of Lockerbie||Sinclair Community College|
|05/13/2011||La Cage aux Folles||Dayton Playhouse|
|05/13/2011||Mauritius||Dayton Theatre Guild|
|05/19/2011||Monty Python’s Spamalot||Springfield Arts Council|
|05/26/2011||right next to me||Human Race Theatre Company|
|06/03/2011||Barnaby Rudge||Wright State University|
|06/10/2011||The Mystery of Edwin Drood||Beavercreek Community Theatre|
|06/10/2011||Anyone Can Whistle||Seed Threatre Project|
|06/14/2011||Disney’s The Lion King||Victoria Theatre Association|
And the weekend continues…
After leaving Wright State University’s production HELLO, DOLLY (see previous post), I chatted with Mother en route home. By 6:00pm, Jose and I were to two of our scheduled grad parties for Megan Weyrauch and Ryan Crouch.
We had a blast at both parties!
I got to spend time with the Weyrauch family and their guests – 95% of which were Fairmont band students.
They had a dunking tank in the back yard which was gathering much interest from the teens, as well as the trampoline, volleyball and food.
Megan was quite involved in the Fairmont music department – alto saxophonist, choir, show choir, and musicals.
This past marching season, Megan served as one of the marching band’s field commanders.
Megan is a beautiful young lady, and when you know her parents, Jim & Sherrie, and sister, Kaitlin, it is obvious why this young lady is so special.
Megan will be heading to Wright State University this fall to study nursing.
You can visit her this summer at Kettering’s popular family joint, Magic Castle.
We left the Weyrauch home around 7:00pm and ventured back to our neighborhood for the Crouch party. Whereas the Weyrauch home was filled with band students, the Crouch yard was bulging with choir students – a completely different mix.
Ryan, like Megan, has been a super duper music trooper at Fairmont. Ryan was primarily involved with the choral program, but was also a noted piper! Ryan was in symphonic chorale – where he served as section leader and sometimes, student conductor; Fusion (vocal jazz) in which he sang, arranged, and often led rehearsals; show choir; and the musicals.
At graduation this coming Thursday evening, Ryan will conduct the senior choir in their final choral salute to their high school careers.
Ryan will be attending Bowling Green State University this fall, major in music education – choral.
I chatted with Ryan a bit – which is funny because I see him for 90 minutes each week, and we always have plenty to chat about.
I finally sat at a table with choir students to chat with Ryan’s girlfriend, Alex, and continued to give Bobby “Booby” Symes a difficult time.
Jose joined me at this table, and the Haas men proceeded to entertain their perspective halves of the long table.
Around 9:00pm, I joined several of the adults – John & Felicia Crouch, the Parretts, Tracey Witten, and a new couple I did not know – Rich & Bonita Palmer. Bonita looked familiar to me, but I could have passed her in the frozen food aisle at Kroger and still remember her face.
FINALLY… it was discovered that the three of us had not only been at Ball State together, but we three had been in the music department and marching band! We sat there for a good hour laughing about so many of our antics, and fun from BSU school department days. Rich had gone to school with Warren Central HS friends, Troy Allbright, and Shelley England – friends from Mid-America Music Clinics, and BSU, and Bonita had gone to high school with David Hall, another Mid-America camper and BSU music buddy! It was such a blast!
After the Palmers left, I sat chatting with the choir parents, and had a great time. However, I was appalled when I checked my watch and it was 1:00am!
Once we arrived home, I began preparing the potato salad for Sunday’s 2:00pm cookout at the neighbors. By 3:07am, I was finally in bed.
7:00am hit like a led pipe across the head, and I could not sleep. After the morning ritual, I prepared the potato salad, chatted with Jose, and sat down briefly to write this post.
At 12:30pm we will head to Delco Park in Kettering for Jill Cordonnier’s graduation party.
Around her fifth grade year she began studying saxophone along with piano, and developed into a fantastic threat to those in the Centerville Bands.
However, Jill’s main goal was to serve as field commander for the Centerville High School Band… and this she did for two successful seasons!
Jill has also been quite involved with the high school’s musicals – working on sets, or crew, and playing in almost all the pit orchestras. Jill’s dad, Michael, is the technical director, and manager for the Performing Arts Center at Centerville High School.
Jill, like Katie O’Neill (from previous post), has been like a daughter I never had.
This fall, Jill will enter Bowling Green State University, majoring in environmental management.
By 2:00pm, we will have returned home to join the Moore-Parker family for their annual cookout, along with our neighbors directly behind us, Bob & Chris Stephens. I always look forward to this gathering, as much as I do any Hoosier family gathering.
Around 4:00pm, or so, we will walk to the other side of the high school for a graduation party for Christina Suther, a marching band pal of Jose’s. Christina’s older sister, Vic, was one of my social studies students at Kettering Middle School.
Now, this is where the schedule becomes a little murky.
At some point we will end up at Old River Park for some canoe time, and then on over to Carillon Park for the Carillon Park Band, Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, and the fireworks! I just am not certain of the time we will venture the 3 minutes north to the south edge of Dayton!
46 years ago, Ball State’s Emen’s Auditorium opened…
46 years ago, the Ball State Singers were born…
46 years ago (this September), I was born…
46 years ago (this September), BEWITCHED premiered on television…
46 years ago, HELLO DOLLY premiered on Broadway!
This afternoon, I was reminded of why I love the show so much! Wright State University’s theatre department produced another Stuart McDowell masterpiece with two so many outstanding performances by individuals, and a tight ensemble.
Of course, I was exceptionally proud of Will Hutcheson who played Barnaby…
…and Katie O’Neill who played Dolly Levi!
These two talents have evolved into incredible performers, and I cannot wait to see their careers flourish when they hit New York City this fall!
I have never thought of the main production number, “Hello Dolly” as a tear jerker, but it hit me this afternoon… much clapping and wiping away a few tears because I was so proud of these two future stars!
Thank you, Stuart McDowell, and the entire company of WSU’s HELLO DOLLY, and much love to Katie and Will!
Eight years. Thirty productions. This averages to 3.75 shows each year. Most of these thirty productions, however, were accomplished within the past five years.
This incredibly busy rehearsal and performance schedule has been maintained by Coleman Hemsath, a Butler High School junior who is a familiar face in Vandalia Youth Theatre and Muse Machine productions.
Some children do not listen to their mothers, but it is a good thing Coleman listened to his.
“My mother was looking for something for me to do over the summer in 2001. She found the Vandalia Youth Theatre and enrolled me in it. I think I fell in love after that. It’s something I couldn’t shake off.”
That first year he played the role of Cockroach in the Vandalia Youth Theatre children’s production, Bugz. Not a very auspicious beginning for the young man who would portray Javert in the 2009 Vandalia Youth Theatre production, Les Miserables. Nonetheless, it was Coleman’s start in theatre. The following year, his stage character vastly improved with the role Big Jules in Guys & Dolls.
Most of Coleman’s roles have allowed him to engage his comedic timing; however, this past summer, he was challenged to spread his dramatic wings as Javert in Les Miserables.
“This character had to be real and deep because of the choices and situations he endures leading to a final decision of suicide. My favorite part of the role was actually committing suicide. This was incredibly hard and for the longest time it was lacking emotion. But one day at rehearsal I remember literally breaking down in tears after singing the song leading up to the suicide. Something clicked. It was definitely the most challenging and yet, most gratifying role I’ve played.”
The seventeen year old thespian credits the cast’s dedication as a reason for the show’s success, and succeeding with his initial trepidation tackling his huge, dramatic role.
Thoroughly Modern Millie was Coleman’s first performance with Dayton’s Muse Machine. Like most first time performers with Muse Machine, he was in awe as he walked on to the dazzling Victoria Theater’s stage. Being in a show with tremendously talented teens he had admired in previous years from the other side of the lights was a moment he will always remember.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie just seemed to have a spark to it.”
This coming January, Coleman will once again join his fellow Muse performers on the Victoria stage in Singin’ In The Rain. Coleman will play the tightly-wound Diction Coach, as well as understudy to Don Lockwood, the character popularized in the 1952 movie by Gene Kelly.
Following his 2011 graduation from Vandalia’s Butler High School, Coleman plans on majoring in musical theatre or vocal performance, and one day hopes to play either Max Bialystock or Leo Bloom in The Producers. If performing is not enough for this jovial thespian, he dreams of someday opening his own theatre company.
Keep your eye on the Miami Valley’s own – Coleman Hemsath!
“I have been interested in theatre for as long as I can remember. I think the main reason the stage has always been appealing to me is because in a small town like Huber Heights, you don’t have many opportunities to express yourself and I knew that high school theatre would be a sort of creative outlet for me.”
And finding his creative outlet in high school theatre is exactly what Wayne High School senior, Tray Shelton, has done.
Tray first got a taste for the boards during his sophomore year when he stepped into the role of James Keller in Wayne’s production, The Miracle Worker, for which he received a Floorboard Award for “best newcomer.” Since that first appearance he has enjoyed lead roles in Anything Goes, The Importance Of Being Earnest, and The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged).
Being in front of an audience and seeing the reactions to events on stage explains why Wayne’s Thespian Society/Drama Club president is enthusiastic about performing.
“My favorite thing to hear is laughter because it means I’m doing something to make the audience happy and that makes me happy.”
Tray claims that his favorite show is The Miracle Worker, which was his first production. Playing the role of Helen Keller’s older brother introduced him to character development while learning how theatre functions.
The third weekend of November will find Tray in what he believes to be his favorite role, portraying George Hay in Ken Ludwig’s 1995 Broadway hit, Moon Over Buffalo.
“It’s a challenging role because George spends the entire second act intoxicated. I am enjoying working on the differences between ‘drunk George’ and ‘sober George’. It’s almost like playing two characters at once which is a fun and unique experience. I also love the fact that I am an actor playing an actor. It’s fun to play into all of the stereotypes associated with actors.”
When preparing for a role, the Wayne thespian admits that memorizing blocking comes rather naturally. However, line memorization is often difficult due to spending countless hours after school each day.
Still, cramming lines and life into the busy schedule of a high school senior has not dampened his spirits. Tray’s future plans include studying at Wittenberg, or Wright State, pursuing a degree in theatre. One day, he dreams of playing Angel in Rent.
Feeling as though he got a late start in performing, Tray encourages younger students to get involved earlier than high school by seeking performing opportunities in school, church or community venues.
“I waited until my sophomore year to join the drama club and while it has still been a wonderful experience I have always wished it could have lasted just a little bit longer.”
Don’t miss the opportunity to see Tray Shelton and fellow Wayne performers in Moon Over Buffalo, November 19, 20, & 21, 2009 in the Wayne High School Auditorium. Thursday & Friday curtains will rise at 7:00pm, and Saturday’s matinee begins at 2:00pm. Wayne Sporting Goods will begin selling tickets two weeks before the show. Tickets can also be purchased one hour prior to curtain. Admission for preferred seating are $8, and general admission is $5. International Thespian Society members can get tickets half price with a valid membership card (one per card).
This 2002 Fairmont graduate, now a performer living in New York City, was known in the Miami Valley for cow roping, singin’ and dancin’ in the rain, gambling, and dancing in pajamas. Now, having completed a national tour of Altar Boyz, Philip Drennen is settling into a new phase of his youthful career. However, he still credits his theatrical experiences as a high school student in the Miami Valley as the foundation of his success and still new horizons.
“Literally all my best memories from high school, in general, are from doing shows and playing in the band,” said Philip. “All of my best friends from that time, who still are my best friends, I met in a performance group.”
When not playing flute in a Kettering concert band, or serving as the marching band’s field commander, Phil, was on Fairmont’s stage, performing the lead roles in Oklahoma!, Guys & Dolls and Singin’ In The Rain. Away from the Fairmont stage, he was a familiar favorite on the Muse stage in My Fair Lady and The Pajama Game.
His favorite high school role is, perhaps, the most memorable to many as he sang and danced his way through a rain shower in Singin’ In The Rain, a production that packed Fairmont’s auditorium each night.
“Of all the shows I did I’ll always talk about how it rained on stage during Singin’ in the Rain. The audience gave the rain wagon a standing ovation. Legendary!”
While a student at Cincinnati’s Conservatory of Music, where he received his BFA (bachelor of fine arts) in musical theatre, Philip performed in William Finn’s Elegies, Crazy For You and Working. From CCM it was on to the professional world of musical theatre where Mr. Drennen glided right into his professional life.
“I have many interesting stories from the last few years. I’m so, so grateful I was encouraged to go into theater. And to be honest, I wasn’t encouraged by everyone. I’ve gotten to see shows in London’s West End, climb the Great Wall of China, and even recently got to perform with Mickey Rooney! All from doing theater.
Aside from performing with 1940’s teen star, Mickey Rooney, Phil landed roles in a world premiere, For The Glory, which debuted in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and starred in the national tour of Altar Boyz.
Soon after arriving in New York, Phil learned that performing on Broadway is a great goal to pursue, but it should not be the only goal guiding young performers. There are natural facets of growth in the performing arena – something that many professionals refer to as, “process.”
“Many people get really down on themselves when they don’t get a huge show right out of school. But some people don’t peak until later. I’d always been told that I was a ‘leading man’ who hadn’t grown into himself and that I’d have to wait until I’m 30 to really break through. Instead of waiting, I’m taking things into my own hands and anyone can.”
And taking a pen and musical score paper into his own hands is exactly what Philip has done.
While on the road touring with Altar Boyz, Phil, and fellow performer, Dan Scott, who played “Mark”, began writing songs to pass the time. As soon as they returned to New York, the former Boyz were immediately at work co-writing songs. Within a few months, they recorded their first EP, One Of These Days.
This November, the newly formed duo, now popularly known as Astoria Boulevard, will throw their first CD-release party at Santos Party House in NYC.
Despite branching out in a slightly different direction in his still young career, Phil believes that he would not have discovered his voice for writing music had it not been for his years involved with high school theatre at Fairmont High School, and with the Muse Machine productions.
“There are many, many facets of performing that aren’t singing on Broadway.”
This grateful thespian that began his performing career here in the Miami Valley is eager to see other young performers reach for their own futures.
“If you’re goal is only to sing on Broadway, then tell yourself you WILL do it. If you’re a young person who wants to do this for a living and you can’t see yourself doing anything else, try it!”
To learn more about Astoria Boulevard with Philip Drennen and Dan Scott’s, please visit their website: http://www.astoria-boulevard.com
“The shear difference from a plainly lit stage before the show, and the last little touch – lighting adds to a production that truly takes you to where the show takes place.”
This is why Centerville High School senior, Jackson “Jack” Gallagher, loves lighting design.
Following a Kettering Rec Center production of Pinocchio when Jack was three years old, the future thespian was hooked on theatre. In the years to come Jack was immersed in classes and summer camps that focused on dancing, singing, and acting while investigating the entire store of technical theatre.
Since his first production as a third grader at Washington Township’s Town Hall Theatre to Centerville High School’s recent production of Lucky Stiff, Jack has covered nearly every aspect of a production’s offering. By fourth grade he was involved on tech crew for the first time and has since become one of the Miami Valley’s most gifted high school theatre-tech students, garnering impressive awards for lighting design at the Ohio State Thespian Conference, The International Thespian Festival, and the International Tech Challenge.
Initially, Jack’s passion was in sound. In fact, for his 7th birthday he asked his parents for a sound board. However, he was soon to discover the radiant world of stage lighting that would launch him on a successful, award winning path.
“I worked with several lighting designers at Town Hall. Darell Porter was probably the most influential. He sat me down several times and taught me the basics about lighting design. However I didn’t start really getting into lighting until I came to CHS.”
The past three years, Jack has served as CHS’s lighting designer for Lucky Stiff, The Importance of Being Earnest, You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown, Rumors, and Once Upon A Mattress for which he received a DayTony Award. In July 2009, Jack visually transported audiences to lush islands in Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic, South Pacific at Beavercreek High School.
Jack Gallagher steadfastly follows his own regimen of advice that he thoughtfully shares with fellow students who wish to pursue theatre technical studies during their high school tenures by reading numerous articles, talking to professionals, getting involved in community theatre, and by simply being himself.
“The theatre world is about the size of a penny, and everyone knows everyone. Connections can mean more than your skills sometimes, so having good people skills and meeting the right people is invaluable.”
June 2010, the award winning student lighting designer will take leave of the CHS stage to attend Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
“I’ve applied for early decision at Carnegie Mellon and I have an interview on November 8th. So if everything goes well I might be accepted as early as then and would major in theatrical design.”
Even at 18, Jack has a firm vision for his future, balanced with the philosophies instilled by CHS theatre instructors, Joe Buemner and Mike Cordonnier.
“Theatre is an ever changing market and I don’t want to have too much of a set plan because I probably won’t end up following that idea. People, friends, relationships, constantly change and they affect what you can do and jobs you can get. So I’ll major in theatre and see where life takes me. Maybe further down the road I would like to teach at a university and settle down and have a family. But who knows what tomorrow will hold.”
For more information on upcoming events at CHS’s Performing Arts Center, please call 937-439-3535, or visit their website http://www.centerville.k12.oh.us/index.php?section=61