There’s something about live theatre and music that stirs the soul and gladdens the heart in ways that must be experienced to be understood.
Red Deerians were privileged to partake of just such an experience recently as students from Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School ended their run of the Broadway musical comedy How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying to packed and cheering audiences.
Attempting to recreate a Tony-award winning production that has intrigued audiences with numerous reincarnations over the past 50 years was a tall order for students at our local high school, but these young actors did not disappoint.
In fact, they far surpassed the expectations of this casual theatregoer in a major way — the kids smashed an absolute home run out of the ball park!
Every aspect of this complex production — singing, dancing, choreography, set design, lighting, music and acting — was orchestrated and executed with the glimmering polish of professionalism one typically expects from, well, professional theatre companies.
One of my boys performed in the ensemble cast, so I witnessed first hand the painstaking hours of rehearsal and preparation these students undertook since last September to pull this show together — and clearly, it all paid off in spades.
Hats off to director Tara Koett, music director Jennifer Mann, vocal coach Andrew Snyder and choreographer Alissa Kleinloog, together with their families, for the many months of hard work, long hours, and inevitable stress associated with such a daunting undertaking.
And no mention of this fabulous show would be complete without acknowledging the talented ensemble of student musicians who sat in the dark orchestra pit brightly performing complicated music for nearly three hours while the rest of us laughed and delighted ourselves with the spectacle on stage.
Deserving particular acknowledgement was the fact that the production’s female lead fell ill with a throat infection for Thursday evening’s performance, leaving her understudy to fill in with just a few hours’ notice!
Quel director’s nightmare.
But not for this group of well-prepared thespians. Emily Pasiuk stepped out onto the stage that evening as Rosemary Pilkington, wowing the audience with her confident, stellar performance and forever earning herself a grateful piece of her director’s relieved heart!
Hats off as well to all six understudies in the production, who not only had to memorize their own dialogue, songs and dances, but had also to learn their respective lead roles, “just in case.”
There’s much to be gained from the massive undertaking that is live theatre, and by all visible accounts, much was gained by everyone involved — audience and performers alike.
It’s every parent’s great privilege to watch their own and other children diligently seek to develop their gifts and talents, and to give back in some measure to this world in need.
For life is fleeting, and every child precious.
Like whispers in the breeze are the moments that mark our souls and mould our hearts, and while we can, we ought to celebrate the moments that move us, change us, and help us to love and accept each other without reserve.
Arts and culture (like sport, and like every other worthwhile human endeavour) often gift us with tender, beautiful moments to treasure and remember.
I for one will treasure my memories of the sensational performance these high school students proffered. Bravo Thurber H2S family!
Vesna Higham is a local lawyer, former Red Deer city councillor and a freelance columnist.