Summertime theatre could make kids famousPatti Rasmussen · July 12, 1997
Summer school is alive and well at our local high schools. As I drive my son Taylor to his English and keyboarding classes at Hart, I see students arriving from all directions, somewhat bleary-eyed, for classes and sports conditioning.
I drove across town this week to visit another set of students who are spending their afternoons rehearsing for a month and a half to perform three fast-paced and delightful shows. These 25 to 30 students make up the class of Mr. Trevor Best's Summer Theatre Workshop.
Best has been the drama teacher at Saugus High since its beginnings in 1975. The summer program was started in 1993. Students register through the City of Santa Clarita's Parks and Recreation Department. Classes are held at Saugus High in Studio E, a 125-seat theatre.
Each year the students have two weeks to prepare for the plays. Best usually picks plays that have been or will be performed at Saugus during the regular school year. This summer's workshop series includes Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Philip King's See How They Run and Meredith Wilson's The Music Man.
I was lucky enough to catch a performance of Joseph last weekend. I was able to convince my sister, who was visiting from San Diego, that it would be time well spent.
This production of Joseph included some of the original cast from Saugus High, who had performed the piece earlier in the year, as well as newcomers to the program. With costumes borrowed from the Glendale Theatre, choreography by Angela Lingrosso and direction from Mr. Best, a cast of thousands sang, danced and made us laugh for a delightful two hours.
Having seen this play at the Pantages and the Glendale Theatre, I was pleased that the high school cast was no less professional. If you think you need to know students in these plays to enjoy them, you are wrong. My sister and I didn't know a soul and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. From the opening number sung by Amy Hann, who amazed us with her pitch, as well as a cowboy, French and Calypso numbers performed by some of "Joseph's" brothers, Jason Goldberg, Jim Barcliffe and Nate Makaryk, we were immediately swept up in the action.
It was too bad that Dan Farnsworth's microphone wasn't working. He did a wonderful pharoah/Elvis, sideburns and all. Fred Everts' "Joseph" did a soulful rendition of "Close Every Door."
Other cast members, who all deserve a big pat on the back (especially those guys who portrayed Joseph's brothers), include: William Shipley, Noah Glenn, Adam Yassaman, Kevin Hann, Kevin Lieberman, Daniel Avery, Lawrence Roques, Sarah Ludlum, Laura Seamonds, Kim Trealor, Amber Amadeo, Ann Garascia, Sarah Crancer, Mary Everts, Rachael Rothman, Nicole Conway, Megan Kip, Megan Thrasher, Beth Sweezer, Shanna Mann, and Mandy Lorenz.
Last Saturday night was the final performance of Joseph. The cast and crew packed up the sets, costumes and scripts, and they assembled the following Monday morning to prepare for the next play, which will be
See How They Run.
This British comedy will surely bring tears of laughter to those fortunate enough to take the time to support these kids. Because there are more students than roles, several actors will be assigned one character and will perform as a "tag-team" so that "all the students have an opportunity to show their stuff," says Best.
A single performance of See How They Run will be staged on July 18 at 2 and 8 p.m. The Music Man will show on August 1, also at 2 and 8 p.m. For reservations, please call Saugus High at 805-297-3900. I like the quote by Fred Babb which says, "Music and art are the drugs of choice for many kids." It is a healthy alternative, and we have teachers like Mr. Best to thank for this type of activity for the students.
Who knows? One day one of these kids "could be famous, could be a big success."
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Patti Rasmussen's commentaries appear in The Signal on Saturdays.
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