By Barb Van Atta
A shout-out to Press & Sun-Bulletin reporter Meghin Delaney for her ongoing series of articles on Union-Endicott High School’s upcoming production of Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s Phantom of the Opera. For years, one question has always been on the minds of those of us whose extracurricular endeavors and/or those of our children have centered around auditoriums, not gymnasiums: “Why don’t high school arts get the same media attention as high school sports?”
As Arts & Entertainment Editor at the Press and now as editor of BAMirror, I have followed the rule that student performances should not be reviewed, that high school performers don’t need to be subjected to that additional opening night pressure. However, the alternative of just providing advance publicity often dwindles down to nothing more than a series of news briefs listing times, dates and box office numbers. That’s why I was so glad to see that the newspaper is making the effort to really “build the buzz” for the spring high school musical season.
Delaney’s first installment captured the tension and elation of the audition process. Her second looks at the first run-through, emphasizing the amount of time and effort that will be required over the coming weeks, and showing how easily a carefully timed rehearsal schedule can be disrupted by Broome County weather. Productions at every school in Broome County face these same trials and tribulations. Kids at every school are doing the same thing, juggling academics, other auditions and rehearsals, part-time jobs and, yes, even sports. So why focus on U-E, you ask? My guess is because Phantom of the Opera only recently became available to student groups and, therefore, has never been performed before by a local high school. It is a complicated show, requiring operatic voices and sophisticated stagecraft. If any show this year can serve as an example of the level of dedication required of high school thespians in this town, it’s Lloyd-Webber’s extravaganza.
Links to Delaney’s first two articles as well as to sidebars, videos and photo galleries can be found at www.pressconnects.com. I look forward to installment Number 3 and, of course, to opening night (March 27).