Who sees a musical at 10:30 a.m.?
Before all the students completed their regimented entrance to the Pearlstone Theater I spoke to 15 year-old Joanna from Notre Dame Prep. This was her first experience at Center Stage. Her only other play she had seen was "Jesus Christ Superstar" at the Hippodrome. She was aquainted with "Once on This Island" having seen a video tape of her high school's caucasion version. She was very much anticipating the show.
Afterwards she was applauding heartily. She loved the music, the caribbean theme and enjoyed seeing the "true" rendition of the musical in relation to race.
Ken Walsh, a 6th grade teacher at St. Ignatius Academy was thrilled to bring his sixth grade students who walked the 25 yards from their school door to the theater. He commented, "I've never been to Center Stage. We just this morning were offered this opportunity and I was not going to let this opportunity go by." There were 75 students from St. Ignatius Acadamy, from the 6-8th grade. They were easy to spot in their light blue shirts and ties.
The student audience was extremely well-behaved and was raptured by the performance. Snickering only occurred when Daniel said to Ti Moune, "Stay the night and show me your powers."
I asked two students from Rising Sun High School from Elkton, MD what they thought. Rick Fields and David Frost, both 17 year old seniors were thrilled with the show. Rick loved the real water canal at the front of the stage while David thought the orchestra was terrific ..."especially the bongos". They compared the play to "Romeo and Juliet" in that two lovers could not "get it together".
Following the performance most of the schools allowed their students to remain for a Q & A with the entire cast on stage.
These were some of the questions and the actor's answers:
Q - What the the television monitors hanging from the balcony?
A - We used the monitors to let us know when to enter a scene and to follow the music.
Q - How many strings were used on the bass guitar?
A - Six
Q - How would you describe the style of dance?
A - Afro-Caribbean
Q - How often did you rehearse?
A - A lot...8 hours a day.
Q - Were you nervous the first time you were ever on stage and today?
A - Yes...No
Q - How did you do the accents?
A - We had a dialect coach (Scott Whitehurst)
Q - How did you get your start in acting?
A - Keep auditioning and auditioning until you get it. NEVER GIVE UP.