High Schools and Sondheim Shows

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High Schools and Sondheim Shows#1
Posted: 1/30/09 at 4:38pm
Do high schools often do Sondheim shows? I know Into the Woods and Forum are done a lot, but has anyone ever heard of a school doing any of his others? A Little Night Music or Follies? I know it would be very difficult and hard to pull off, but I'm just wondering if it ever happens, considering many of them are on MTI.
Updated On: 1/30/09 at 04:38 PM
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#2
Posted: 1/30/09 at 4:44pm
There have been topics on this. Some have done COMPANY and unfortunately FOLLIES. You can see clips on youtube.

I have yet to see or hear of one doing NIGHT MUSIC.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#2
Posted: 1/30/09 at 4:59pm
My high school did Sweeney Todd when I was a freshman, and they did a pretty good job. They didn't change a word of the script, but it was one of the only shows they ever double cast because of the level of difficulty.

However, despite the quality of the production, parents weren't impressed. Many thought it was too dark for a high school to put on, and the principal got quite a few pieces of hate mail that year.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#3
Posted: 1/30/09 at 5:01pm
yeah, I saw a HS do Sweeney last year.. it was fairly good I must say, it would have been much better if the orchestra knew how to play and not just blast the music and if they actors had mics, but overall, very good.. far better than i expected
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#4
Posted: 1/30/09 at 5:02pm
I've heard of one instance where a high school did SUNDAY. Not sure how it was, but I know it happened.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#5
Posted: 1/30/09 at 5:45pm
My high school did ITW my senior year, but I've never known of a school to do anything other than that and Forum.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#6
Posted: 1/30/09 at 5:47pm
The high school Follies on YouTube looked about a thousand times better than the 2001 revival.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#7
Posted: 1/30/09 at 5:51pm
My High School has done a lot of Sondheim. I've done Company and Sunday during my stay alone, and they've done Merrily, ITW, Sweeney, Assassins...yeah. My director loves him.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#8
Posted: 1/30/09 at 5:55pm
Phyllis, is this the Follies you're referring to? The Sally has a nice voice

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMMgkhOlCCE
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#9
Posted: 1/30/09 at 5:56pm
and RENT's Awakening... Are there any clips from any of these productions?
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#10
Posted: 1/30/09 at 6:45pm
Unfortunately none of them are in digital stream - they're all on VHS tapes. I have pictures from our production of Sunday!
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#11
Posted: 1/30/09 at 6:49pm
Into the Woods has been done a couple of times
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#12
Posted: 1/31/09 at 10:52am
" I have pictures from our production of Sunday!"

Can you share? re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#13
Posted: 1/31/09 at 10:59am
We have a children theater doing Sunday. Auditions are in a couple of months.
Updated On: 1/31/09 at 10:59 AM
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#14
Posted: 1/31/09 at 11:16am
I can't imagine a high school production of Company. I am guessing they don't get high... Among other things.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#15
Posted: 1/31/09 at 11:17am
Sondheim is incredibly tough, as I'm sure you know. My HS has only done West Side Story in the last 15 years but I am directng Sweeney Todd next fall. (And I'm already getting complaints.)

Another factor besides the difficulty level is the cast size of many of his shows. I would be shot through the eyes if I ever tried to do a show with a cast as small as Company or Into the Woods, etc.

If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#16
Posted: 1/31/09 at 11:21am
dramamama, what are they complaining about?
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#17
Posted: 1/31/09 at 11:52am
My director is afraid to do ITW because of the cast size. There's lots of leads, but besides that she doesn't think there's enough ensemble involvment to satisfy the 50+ kids our principal requires her to cast (we cast from two schools in our district). So any Sondheim besides West Side and Forum is basically out of the question.

I saw a teriffic production of Company done at a high school last November. They kept the pot smoking but they didn't have the scene between Bobby and Peter about being gay. What I liked about it was that all the actors really understood what the show was about, and their acting choices reflected that. They showed a sensitivity to the text that you don't see a lot in high school shows.

I didn't see this one, but a school in my area did Pacific Overtures a while back.

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Updated On: 1/31/09 at 11:52 AM
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#18
Posted: 1/31/09 at 12:24pm
We have 2 high schools in my area doing West Side Story
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#19
Posted: 1/31/09 at 2:29pm
We kept the pot scene and the scene with Peter. I don't think it's that big a deal...

I uploaded a few pictures from our production of Sunday to my Photobucket. I was Jules...the password is Bobby.

http://smg.photobucket.com/albums/v335/Gimli92/Stuff/Sunday%20in%20the%20Park/
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#20
Posted: 1/31/09 at 2:39pm
My old High School is doing Sweeney in about a month or two. And That choice just really confuses me. I personally think the difficulty level of Sweeney is way too much for High Schoolers. I took a theatre class in College and we talked about Sweeney and he said that no High School should ever consider doing the show and I whole heartily agree with him.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#21
Posted: 1/31/09 at 5:16pm
In case you didn't know: they now have available a "high school version" of ST. It simplifies and shortens the show just enough to maintain the integrity wholly while still keeping it challenging for a good HS program.

As far as the complaints: they are coming from a small group...it's too serious, too bloody...not appropriate for HS, etc. For most of them, they only know the movie version and are use to happyhappy, joyjoy type of musicals. They weren't thrilled when we did Urinetown a few years ago.

Complaints might be too strong -- being not pleased is probably better. My principal, god love her, is 100% behind it, as is my music department and 99% of the kids. Funny enough...the only two kids that I know are unhappy are the two girls that had the leads in this years musical of Thoroughly Modern Millie as juniors. And I was suprised...they are, for HS kids, pretty theatre savvy and sophisticated.

Personally, I cannot wait!
If we're not having fun, then why are we doing it? These are DISCUSSION boards, not mutual admiration boards. Discussion only occurs when we are willing to hear what others are thinking, regardless of whether it is alignment to our own thoughts.
Updated On: 1/31/09 at 05:16 PM
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#22
Posted: 1/31/09 at 5:23pm
I know there is a school version. That still doesn't change my opinion though. re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#23
Posted: 1/31/09 at 5:29pm
The picture of the HS Sunday look good. But I cannot imagine HS students are able to justice to the score.


But I do think FOLLIES is the most absurd for a HS to do. It makes absolutely no sense. The show calls for 3 different generations of actors, and a HS cannot provide that. I do not care how talented the students are, it makes ZERO sense.
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re: High Schools and Sondheim Shows#24
Posted: 1/31/09 at 9:17pm
Someone asked Sondheim at a Q & A a few years back if he would allow a HS to cut the pot scene. He replied that it would really be up to George Furth (who was still alive then) but that he would advise that the cut NOT be allowed, feeling that by HS students knew the deal with pot unless they had been restricted to just watching Disney videos.

I think it is a good challenge for HS students to tackle the complex Sondheim shows. The more difficult pieces seem to inspire students to try that much harder, and even if they don't quite make it, they learn a lot more through the process than they would mounting GREASE or some other show.

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