Spring drama season is upon us, and once again the Trumansburg middle and high school drama clubs will not disappoint. Middle school students will perform “Once on this Island Jr.” and high school students will perform “The Addams Family Musical.”
The Addams Family Musical revolves around the Addams Family children growing up, particularly Wednesday Addams, who in this musical is 18 years old and in love with a perfectly “normal” boy Lucas. Parents Morticia and Gomez must face their changing family, and they do, with the same quirky appeal we are all accustomed to.
While not a surprise to the drama club community, it may be of a surprise to the larger Trumansburg community that high school principal Jon Keong is making his directorial debut, and is a self-described “life long theatre geek.” He said, “I have always done theater. I haven’t done it as much since we have been here in Trumansburg because of my job I just don’t have a lot of time, but I’ve helped out in a lot of technical capacities. Since we moved here I have always helped out with the shows. I live and breath theater but I’ve never directed a show. [When the opportunity arose], I asked the superintendent about it, and when none of the teaching staff were interested, I was able to give it a go, and I’m having a blast! This is the first time I’ve had to put it all together, but I’ve done everything else. It’s fun to be the principal and to work with the kids in a different capacity. It’s all 100 percent positive and fun and exciting. ”
When interviewing the students, I found that there is a special sense of caring and belonging within the drama club community, unmatched by sports or other clubs. Keong notes, “You are working towards a common goal. Unlike sports, where you have some good games and you have some bad games, we have one game. Yes, we put on three shows throughout the weekend, but that weekend is such a high of emotion. It’s like working all season for the state championship, and this weekend is the state championship. Now that we are down to the wire, the emotion starts to build and the group starts to gel. It’s so exciting.”
This is a sentiment that is echoed by Mikey Winters, who is returning to theatre for the second time to play Pugsley.
“I think what I love most about being involved is the feeling of being a team,” he said. “We are all working toward the same goal. It feels like family. It is a good, fun environment, and we are happy all the time.”
“Once on this Island Jr.” follows the journey of Ti Moune, a peasant, and Daniel, a wealthy “grands hommes.” Ti Moune, who “was chosen by the gods for a magical fate,” falls in love with Daniel after saving his life, and believes he is the one for her, however unlikely their union is.
The middle school students also noted the sense of community, as well as theatre being a safe place for expression. Mackenzie Pheasant, who plays the part of Erzulie, has been involved in three school plays, and notes, “I love the singing and the dancing. I feel like it’s another way to express myself freely without anyone contradicting me.”
Another student, Grey Vorhis, who plays the part of the Gatekeeper, is back for their second play and said, “I really like acting and being able to have free space. It’s a really good way to express yourself, and I really love musical theatre in general.”
Finn, Redmond who works on the crew and has been in four plays previously, adds, “I really like doing plays for a lot of different reasons. I like being able to hang out with people after school, I like being part of a team and we all build the play.”
Prior to rehearsals beginning, Director Tammy Parker organized a trip to New York City, where the students were able to interact with stars of the Broadway show. She said, “This trip was monumental in offering up a full cultural experience of the full version of ‘Once on this Island.’” In order to fund the trip, and ensure all drama students who were interested could attend the trip, Parker wrote two grants, one to the Trumansburg Education Foundation, and one to the Trumansburg Rotary, who both granted the funds.
“The Addams Family Musical” performances will be held in the high school auditorium on March 15 and 16 at 7 p.m., and March 17 at 2 p.m. Admission is $10 per person at the door. Once on this Island Jr. performances are also in the High School on March 29 at 7 p.m., March 30 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and March 31 at 2 p.m. Admission is $9 for adults and $7 per child and can be purchased at both the elementary and middle school main offices beginning March 11, or at the door.
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