Musical Theatre with Explore It!

There’s No Business Like Show Business
The Musical Theatre Program with Explore It! is unique to say the least. Over the course of 10-12 weeks, meeting once a week, students and staff mount a musical. And I’m not talking about some backyard Beauty and the Beast. We mount a full-scale production—complete with costumes, props, sets, makeup, and a video of the production—in just 10 weeks. (what?!)

This past term, right before our first performance, I had the opportunity to outline the amount we do in such a short time to the students in Oliver!  I could see them doing the math on their fingers, as I said: “An hour and a half a week, for 10 weeks… that’s 15 hours. That’s less than a day. We put together a full production, enjoyed by all, in less than a day.”

Do You Hear the People Sing?WOODS 21 copy Of course, a lot is expected of our little stars. And this is another reason why there is no program like The Explore It! Musical Theatre Program. We expect girls as young as 8 to memorize, rehearse, listen, practice, focus, and to do it again and again. As anyone who has been in some kind of theatre venture will know, there are challenging times. But, like any investment, it’s always worth it.

Getting To Know You
Coming back term after term, you also get to know the students in a different way. You’re building a community. You’re creating something together. As a instructor, I feel like I an truly helping children discover their passion and explore their talents. Further, it’s in the hard work of rehearsing, in that in between space of pedagogy and hard work that students find pride and patience. This is how we build community: through respect and pride in ourselves and our work, but also through the confidence and courage to learn, listen and teach others. When I see the student, who in Cats barely spoke at all, lead one of the major dance numbers in Oliver!… well, that’s what theatre, teaching, and community is all about.

I Could Have Danced All NightOLIVER_19 From our first show Cats, our most difficult show Into The Woods, to our most recent show Oliver! We’ve learned a little more, and created a little more magic. And this upcoming term, we’re doing The Sound of Music. It’s always sad when one show is over, but this is what makes theatre magical—it’s an event. It’s an ephemeral moment in time that can’t last forever, though we do try with professional photos and a DVD ☺. In the immortal words of Semisonic, every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end. Or, as one grandmother said to me at the end of Oliver!: I can’t wait for Sound of Music next term!

You Can’t Stop the Beat

Finally, why do anything, but for the fun of it! The best part, as any of our actors will tell you, is going up, in front of parents and friends, and showing them what we’ve put together in such a short time. Sure there’s lots of fun to musical theatre: singing your heart out, dancing like a goof, whispering backstage, hanging out in rehearsal… but the best part, by far, is showing the audience what you got! As parents, students, instructors, and schools will tell you, there’s a reason we do musical theatre year after year… it’s just so much fun!