Musicals at Needham High School: The Debate Between Well Known or Obscure

May 2017 (Volume 67, Issue 3)

By Emily Sgroi, Staff Writer

Theatre plays a significant role in the lives of many students at Needham High School. Although participating in school theater is fun, ultimately the goal of putting on a performance is for people to attend. That’s why it’s essential to pick a show that appeals to both the actors/actresses and the attendees. So, the question arises: Are people more likely to come see a show that is well-known, or would they be more interested in viewing a performance that they have never heard of before?

I remember when the spring show for my freshman year was announced. Everyone was very confused: “Curtains, what’s Curtains?” “Is that even a real show?” Nobody within the theatre community had any idea what this newly announced show was, but we all decided to audition anyway. We were all pleasantly surprised as we began to understand the story throughout rehearsals: a comedic murder mystery show within a show that included complex love triangles and entertaining ‘50s style song and dance numbers. Even though the show was not well known in the theater community, our performance still attracted an audience that was interested in the “whodunnit” aspect of show, and the hilarious comedic actors who made the show all come together.

Cinderella was a completely different show from Curtains. Everyone knows the classic Walt Disney Cinderella story, but this show was revamped by Rodgers and Hammerstein and had more modern and updated music that gave the story a whole new feel. This show specifically attracted families to our audience. We had many families coming to see our show that had young children who wanted to see their favorite princess come to life onstage. We even had a special meet and greet for the children and our Cinderella after the show thanks to her popularity! Cinderella was a perfect show for members of any age group who wanted to relive a favorite classic story from their childhood again.

The most recent show performed at the high school was Pirates of Penzance. While this show is a bit more well known than Curtains, it is not as popular as Cinderella, so many cast and crew members alike had some concerns about the number of people we would attract. I found that many people of older generations were big fans of the show, and would start singing music numbers when I mentioned it to them. For this show, we had many grandparents in the audience who were singing along to the more popular numbers from the show, which was a fun added bonus to our performance. The show was also a comedy that was entertaining and funny for any age group to watch.

Ultimately, the genre, age, and type of the chosen show will attract a different type of audience. Everyone can find something they love about a show, whether it’s the music, costumes, or simply the energy of the actors onstage. In my opinion, it does not matter whether a show is well-known or obscure. However, people should stay open-minded and realize that while it’s enjoyable to see your favorite characters on stage, it will do no harm to witness new ones.

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