I just finished five shows with five different casts consisting of 149 middle school students. Many fellow educators are amazed that I have that many shows with that many students. Many times they say “You need to cut, you can’t have that many students on stage, it’s crazy.” Well, here is my story.
I LOVE music and the theater. My junior high did not have any type of a musical, so my first experience of a show was as a freshman in high school. I tried out and was one of six freshman in the chorus. That is when my passion started in music theater. Then sophomore year came, I made the show, again in the chorus. When junior year approached, I practiced and practiced for tryouts, I got a part! It was one line “Where’s Wang Ta?” Many of my friends were leads and I was still part of the chorus. Surely, senior year would be different. The show was “The Boyfriend,” a very small cast. Not only did I not get a part, there wasn’t even a chorus. I desperately wanted to be a part of the show, so I talked to the band director about being “on book,” and let him know the cues.
Freshman year of college, I made the chorus in the opera that Ohio State University was producing. Sophomore year, another tryout, but not even a call-back. Two of my friends, not in music, made the chorus.
So, when people ask me, why so many shows, why so many casts. There might be a student who really LOVES musical theater and will never get the chance. Now I am the lead every time I see my students on stage. My students have no clue that I have no resume or experience on stage. “Where’s Wang Ta” changed my life and hopefully it is life-changing to my students.