Open Forum

Next Year, Season Thoughts

  • 1.  Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 23 days ago
    As we close out and reflect on this school year and our thoughts shift to the season ahead-- our successes and challenges this year-- the promise of in person performances (perhaps with some limitations) in the fall and winter --- I wonder what we are thinking as to a potential season in the fall and spring of next year?

    I think, for example, that next year provides an opportunity for a renaissance in some ways for our programs.  What are your season plans?  Do you have a new idea, a new challenge?  I would love to hear some approaches to next year's season.  Perhaps you are thinking of making some changes to what you have done over the years or looking to start a new performance opportunity or tradition.


    ------------------------------
    Michael Johnson
    Trinity High School
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  • 2.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 22 days ago
    For the upcoming season, the kids and I decided we needed a break from the reality of the past year and are going for a little fantasy.  We have, therefore, decided on Qui Nguyen's "She Kills Monsters" for the fall play and, for our spring musical, "The Lightning Thief - The Percy Jackson Musical".   We've also identified a few "fantasy" 1-acts so, this year, it's all about creating new worlds for ourselves!

    ------------------------------
    E. Denise Royal
    Theater Director
    Desert Edge High School
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 21 days ago
    That's a great idea to create a "theme" for your season.  She Kills Monsters is a wonderful work, too.  That should be great.

    ------------------------------
    Michael Johnson
    Trinity High School
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  • 4.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 21 days ago
    I was only able to do one show this year, and it was so difficult.  I am new to my building, so I am so disappointed that I wasn't able to do anything that I really had planned.  So, next year. I can really do anything I want--my biggest concern is that I won't have enough kids to do what I want, but I have some really cool plans.

    I will be adding a fall show--my plans are Woman in Black, a horror play.
    Our competition show - a one-act
    A spring musical - Not sure what yet, but I'm considering Sister Act, Come From Away, Something Rotten, Smoky Joe's Cafe or Catch Me If You Can

    I'm excited for next year, and I'm very hopeful that we'll have a great year.


    ------------------------------
    Marie Miguel
    Chespeake, VA
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  • 5.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 21 days ago
    It was indeed a very difficult year.  We were able to create two virtual productions and one hybrid work and it was really challenging.

    I share your hope for a great year.

    ------------------------------
    Michael Johnson
    Trinity High School
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  • 6.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 19 days ago
    Last year we Almost completed “Hoop, the Basketball Musical”. We were 2 weeks shy, ugh! Script was great!! Author & I had been in touch all year: great experience for me!!

    This year, we have completed “Most Likely To: A Senior Superlative Musical”. Excellent script!! It’s written for 12 or 24. We did it with 10. We did a Record & Stream which will be shown on Zoom in 2 weeks. If anyone is considering it & wants to see it or is interested is seeing how we approached Our Virtual Show, email me & I’ll get you Comp Tickets.

    Looking forward to reading all your ideas this summer!!

    MariaStadtmuellerDrama@gmail.com

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  • 7.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 15 days ago
    I did not direct any productions this year, just a few video pieces for a revue that was otherwise put together by the music department. Many of my experienced actors chose to be fully virtual this year, and there just didn't seem to be much interest in doing virtual theater after the enormous effort we made to turn our spring 2020 production into a video. I am so looking forward to working on in-person productions next year, but there are so many unknowns at this point, including how many students will show up to audition. Usually I have a pretty good sense of what I'll have at auditions, and make choices to suit; casting everyone is frequently, though not always, one of my goals.

    I do want to see if I can rehearse a little less than before. Reading posts on the forum, I realize that my productions log more rehearsal hours than many others. (I do plays, not musicals, and we do 6 to 8 weeks of every day for a couple of hours after school rehearsing, with weekend and evenings added for tech / performance week.) I'd like to try to give myself more time to work on production elements, though I love being in the rehearsal room so much that this will probably be a struggle unless I set aside at least one day a week for no rehearsal. I also would like to make creating opportunities for more student leadership a priority -- this is something that I've always been interested in, but haven't put into place the structures needed to support it. Maybe it's time for me to encourage student directing, for example.

    Next year, I think that ensemble-building will be so important, an emphasis for my acting and drama classes as well as with the production casts. As for material, I'm thinking about trying to create an original production inspired by "Twelfth Night." For me, that play is about people finding joy after being separated from who or what they love, opening up after closing themselves off. I'm thinking of incorporating some characters, situations, and themes, but decreasing the focus on romantic love. Given that I don't know what the numbers might be like in the fall, I thought I would try to outline a scene list and draft some material but leave some sequences open for improv work with the cast. (I have written a few plays for my students to perform in the past, so this wouldn't be a totally new endeavor.) I'd welcome hearing from anyone who would like to brainstorm about this idea or process, or read drafted material.

    Reading posts on this forum have really helped me to get through this year. Thanks, everyone, and thanks Michael for starting this thread.

    ------------------------------
    Cora Turlish
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  • 8.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 15 days ago
    Cora, I feel you with the concern about students returning to audition.  I have a very small cast show planned for the fall that will hopefully bring them running back. I think it's important to take a break from rehearsals.  It can become too much.  I do 95% of my tech work through my drama classes--I have students who are the heads of all departments-tech director, costumes, sound, etc.  So, while I do much of the design, they do all the implementation and all the training of their replacements.  It takes a few years to get it working smoothly, but once it does, you'd be amazed how much that takes off your plate.  I also have a lot of former students who are willing to come in a do work for me and act as mentors and guest teachers for my kids, giving me time to get other things done, or work on different things at the same time.

    I would highly recommend lessening rehearsal time.   I do 4 weeks for one acts, 6 weeks for straight plays, and 8 weeks for musicals.  Usually an hour Mon-Thurs, every other Friday, and one Saturday.  Although I'm not there yet at my new school, my last big program, I did six productions a year.  Dinner theatre, 4 weeks, opened in September, rehearsals started in August.  Fall show, 6 weeks, opens between Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Competition one-act, opens January.  Student one-acts, 4-5 one acts done in rep, all student run, 4 weeks rehearsal, opens in March.  Spring Show, 7-8 weeks, either musical or Shakespeare, opens in May.  Showcase, June, 2-3 days (this is based on classroom assignments). I have found that when i give the kids too much rehearsal, they get lazy, and things get sloppy.  My productions got better and tighter when I shortened rehearsal periods and added more to the schedule.  The kids understood that if they didn't get it done, the show was cancelled, and I made it very clear that the blame would be clearly placed on those who did not do their part.  In 20 years, I've only cancelled 4 shows, and 2 of them were during the pandemic.

    I have a severely abridged and adapted version of Twelfth Night that I wrote this year for my kids.  I only had 5 students this spring, and we did it outdoors for a quick performance with a small audience.  No lighting, no sound, two benches and some plants for a set.  Foam sword swordfight.  Modern costumes.  It went very well, and the kids had a lot of fun with it.  Let me know if you're interested and I'll be glad to share.

    ------------------------------
    Marie Miguel
    Chespeake, VA
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  • 9.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 15 days ago
    I also log a lot of rehearsal time: 52 rehearsals in all, which includes 38 (1/2) hr. Dance rehearsals, 6-20 (2hr.) blocking rehearsals, 5 (5hr.) Music on Stage rehearsals & 5 (5 hr.) Dress & Tech. All other Run Thru’s are 2-3 hrs. I’m not changing that as it is clear we could always use one more week at the end. But, I will be revisiting many shows that were too small a cast for us. Last year we had 25 kids when we were shut down. This year we ended Virtually with 9 so I’ll be looking at shows with 10+ speaking roles and leaves room for an ensemble when I our program had grown to a point where I was only looking at shows with 22+ speaking roles.

    I’m a few months behind in my Forum reading as Virtual took so much more time, ugh! I look forward to catching us on all Forum posts over the summer.

    Maria Stadtmueller
    St. Augustine School

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  • 10.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 14 days ago
    Thank you for prompting me to take a moment to reflect. I realized that while I feel that I am already moving full speed into next year, I need a moment to breathe. This year, despite the hardships that COVID added in, was a HUGE year for my organization. I started our organization in 2010 and finally reached my goal of not just producing a musical, but producing a "big name" musical. Grant it, they were still the "JR" versions, but this was huge for our tiny rural public school and community.  We started with G2K Oklahoma! in 2019, and then Chitty Chitty Bang Bang JR in 2020-21. I am still in shock that we made it through our most costly show ever, Chitty, in the middle of the pandemic, and came out with the same amount in our account as we started! Blessed.  We have a great community following and more support than ever. (They even upped my local coaching supplement next year to somewhat better reflect my "coaching" hours. After all this year, I involved more kids than any other extracurricular/athletic program, pushing hard at rehearsals from August to Late April, that's a lot of temperature checks, folks!)

    But...because of the stress, I am weary and all worn out! And so are my kids...My leading guy (Curly, Charactacus, and Richard Hannay his freshman year) was even considering skipping out his senior year, which about broke my heart, and still discourages me. It is time for a change. I have graduated 12 seniors, where I do confess much of the stress came from... they were a bit 'dramatic' to say the least. So we're shrinking! But a smaller group means more attention to detail and less crowd control.

    In the middle of our show, still not sure of survival, I was considering a "budget building" scheme for next year, writing another original musical. So it started..around January.... I started capturing the essence of our own county's history and lore with southern gospel music and folktales gathered from around the world. And I am pumped!.... but anxious too. I hope this show, without all the "glitter and glam" of a high cost musical, will still excite the kids and impress audiences (one act judges too). Even entering the season in better shape than I had ever expected last August, I think this direction and change is still needed. My leading guy is even excited about playing the role of a renowned local storyteller, my grandfather, (who is also his first cousin four times removed). Now, it's just getting these rehearsals back to a reasonable calendar!

    Cheers to all out there fighting the same battles, and best wishes for newfound joys in next season's performances!

    ------------------------------
    Analiese Hamm
    ECHS Drama Director
    Echols County High School
    Statenville
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 13 days ago
    Probably an unpopular take but why not do an unheard of show next year... Or at least a little known show that's been written in the last ten years?    I subscribe to Facebook theatre writers groups and there's are dozens of new shows each month.    Some on timely topics about the environment, social justice, science, or just fun shows.   And you don't have to worry about socially inappropriate material from Showboat.   Dated lyrics.... I know there are some very well known titles and you want to sell out a show but can't you do more with social networking and some marketing?   Create a website and post rehearsal photos and a song or two?  A musicals about saving the forests, or string theory?   Or internet bullying?
    And in doing old shows, are you fostering new writers?   Or just adding to the warchest of Richard Rogers' children?   I don't mean them any negativity but you get my gyst.

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    Leon Kaye
    Playwright for the Ages
    Lhk@koa1.com
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  • 12.  RE: Next Year, Season Thoughts

    Posted 13 days ago
    Leon,

    You make some.excellent points, and in a perfect world, I would love to do more "lesser known" shows.  But, if your show budget depends on attendance, and that.amazing piece that deserves to be seen, but no one has heard of,.has low attendance.  It could jeopardize an entire season.   Those lesser known pieces are what I use showcase for, because that is a part of banquet, and I have a captive audience so to speak.

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    Marie Miguel
    Chespeake, VA
    ------------------------------