Our Turn: ?Beauty and the Beast? Magic
I know it’s unconventional for adults to write “Our Turn” articles, and I’ve taken advantage of this forum in the past, so please indulge me in another message of pride and gratitude! This past weekend the RHS/NCSS Drama Department presented Disney’s Beauty and the Beast to an unprecedented (in my directorial career) crowd. I was overwhelmed with the amount of support we experienced prior to and during this weekend.
First, I’d like to acknowledge and thank all of our Adopt a Costume donators. People from all over the community, including parents, business owners, community members, and friends donated over $2,100 to help us rent the unbelievable costumes we got to use. The Rhinelander Schools Foundation granted us the generous total amount that we requested from them. $1394.50 is a big chunk of money and we’re very grateful to the foundation for their gift. Second, thank you to the huge numbers of people who braved the weather to bring their children and family to the show. There were over 600 people at the Saturday show alone. Third, thank you to the multiple adults who were involved in this production; Roddy Macmillan, my co-director; Michelle Bryski, Choreographer Extraordinaire; Connie Piasecki and Mary Peterson who directed and played in the pit band; Desiree Wattelet who coached the kids in their amazing songs; Steve Richardson who built the sets; Kandi Bartelt who oversaw the costumes and backstage operations; Katie Kubisiak who helped make costumes and took care of many other behind the scenes operations; Kyra Stewart who helped sell tickets; Al Higgins who helped with Publicity; Neil Rumney who helped with recordings; Mike Effinger who set up the soundboard and trained new sound people; all the parents who supported us with food and drinks, donations, and time; and last, but not least, my wonderful mother, Kathy Larsen, who rushed in at the last minute to mend costumes. Fourth, thank you to the students who worked their tails off to memorize songs, choreography, lines, cues, special effects, etc. to give such a dazzling performance. I’m extremely proud of the musicians, actors, actresses, tech crew, and light and sound operators, who are all students!
During this whole last weekend, I felt my father’s presence. He was my role model as an educator, as a person, and as a director. He encouraged me to get into theater because he graduated with a theater minor and included me in his Rhinelander Directorial Debut, Tom Sawyer, in 1983. I miss him dearly. His picture is on the set of every play we produce and he sometimes turns on a rogue light in the auditorium (it might just be an “interesting” electrical system, but I’m convinced it’s him telling me how proud he is). I’m proud of our production and especially of the way our community came together in many ways to support a talented group of students, and I can’t wait to start working on our spring play…stay tuned.