High school theater productions are a significant part of school pride and draw large crowds of parents, teachers and students every year. Plays and musicals allow students to express their artistic ability through acting, singing and dancing. Countless hours and talent is put into theatrical productions, but where does the motivation and inspiration begin?
Child actors gain their experience through productions at their elementary schools which serve as a crucial foundational experience. When encouraged by teachers or parents, elementary school children gain an interest in music, art and theater. Participating in these school-wide events becomes a way for young students to spend extra time with their friends while doing something new.
On May 17, I visited two Wake County Public Schools — Sycamore Creek Elementary School and Durant Road Middle School — in an effort to experience the variations in theatrical productions in elementary and middle schools that lead to the talented actors and actresses that we have at Leesville Road High School.
Sycamore Creek Elementary School put on a junior version of the hit Aladdin musical which was hosted at Pine Hollow Middle School.
Tanner E. who plays Aladdin in the adaptation skillfully executed his role with accurate facial expressions while Madeline C., who plays Jasmine, portrayed the character’s infamous sassiness in a youthful manner.
The Aladdin musical ecompases musical hits including “Arabian Nights”, “Friend Like Me”, “Prince Ali” and “A Whole New World”. The lead actors’ voices were incredible considering their lack of experience in theater arts. The rest of the cast sang in tune in a manner that united the cast emotionally and visually. It is safe to say that the art teachers – Mrs.Post, Mrs. Olsen and Mrs. Prosser of Sycamore Creek Elementary School – did an outstanding job training the cast’s voices.
With witty jokes that added a lighthearted, childlike affect and an extremely reactive audience, Sycamore Creek Elementary School’s Aladdin Junior was an wonderful production that exemplified the true talent of the kids at the cherished elementary school.
Hairspray is a fan favorite musical and the cast of the Durant Road Middle School adaptation brought the essence of the musical that deals with racism and teenage troubles to life with their powerful and well-trained voices thanks to lead chorus teacher Ms. McGrath.
Musicals are productions that are difficult to carry out due to the endurance and dedication needed to simultaneously sing, dance and act. The students at Durant Road Middle School who were part of the play brought each of the characters to life with their strong voices that demanded attention from the crowd and accurately executed expressions under the guidance of Mr. Clark, the drama teacher at Durant Road Middle School.
In an interesting twist, the musical included prerecorded black and white scenes from “The Corny Collins Show” that were showcased beside the stage. This exhibits the television that Tracy Turnblad watched everyday. This factor allowed the audience to acknowledge and understand the protagonist’s love and perseverance for dance.
With their remarkable acting, singing and dancing, the students of Durant Road Middle School put on an unforgettable rendition of the hit Hairspray that will not be forgotten any time soon.
Talent is something that improves by experience and elementary and middle school drama classes provide that foundational experience. As students in lower grades grow older, they take those experiences and turn them into hobbies that enhance their skills. This allows for highly talented and experienced child actors to act, sing and dance in high school and make the production the best it can be.