So many commercials tout the claim "We're No. 1" that by now the public knows to disregard the claims.
So, it was with trepidation that I even approached the idea of choosing the "best" of anything, but I can't help myself. It's impossible to keep the secret any longer. There are too many of us who know the truth.
I have seen nearly all the high school musicals this year and the level of talent available within the tiny boundaries of our county never ceases to amaze me.
We have vocalists that Broadway should be actively scouting, booking them for its 2005-06 season. Some of this talent is so young that Broadway could put them on retainer for 2014 and just catch them graduating high school.
These students have performed in "42nd Street," "You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown," "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat," "Mame," "The Secret Garden," and "Les Miserables." Each production was professional, fun, touching and a wonderful escape to a different place in time.
Unlike, professional theater, high school shows have such a limited run that it's necessary to review the show before it opens in order to get it publicized prior to opening night.
It has been my great privilege to be a witness of the dress rehearsal process; to see the "work in progress;" to know that while students are gathering backstage, lighting and sound technicians, set designers and builders, and orchestra members are touching up and warming up the show.
It's a little like hiding behind a marble column awaiting the coronation of a king. The frenzy before hand is as entertaining as the actual event.
My favorite moment comes even before the curtain rises. I love warm ups. It's one of the noisiest times of production: actors doing physical stretches and vocal scales or choreography moves and singing full-voice to test microphones. Its also one of the most quiet, because in all the chaos of the creation, there is a quieting that comes to the soul--the centering necessary to pull the character they are about to portray, from deep within the depths of their being.
It is one of the singularly most beautiful moments in theater. Some directors closet it from me. For those who do not, thank you for allowing me to be a part of what theater is.
I love the kids who come and chat with me, the ones who remember me from my other life as a PTA Mom and give me hugs, or the ones who surprised me last week at Layton High School and swept off my car after a snow storm.
I like the stage crew members who keep me company while we wait for "curtain up" and explain in great detail the special effects of the show, knowing that all their effort will likely go unnoticed. Believe me, it does not.
Every detail marks the quality of the production. From the perfect backdrop with changing nightscapes to fanciful rabbits in oversize gardens to rotating floors--the sets draw the audience in so the actors can more easily tell the story. There have been moments when I had wished to direct a show and hold the talent off stage for just a moment to give the audience time to simply savor the detail of the set, or the metamorphosis wrought by ropes simply lifting and lowering the alternating backdrops.
Orchestra members are amazing. They command my utmost respect. The depth of sound, the range, the timbre, the character they wring from their instruments ascends as if to mythical gods. They dance their own ballets with hands and heads and spirit. Every performance is made better by the addition--the energy--of a live orchestra.
Lighting and sound are the sparkling touches that polish the setting. Lighting defines the characters by graying skin tones, darkening skies or spotlighting the good. An actor is well-advised to always be good to the lighting and sound technicians--they will make or break you.
Live theater is a solid staple here in Davis County. It is a rich heritage that must be protected and provided for in our education system at all cost. When life is measured in black or white absolutes, it is theater and other arts that bring richness--the literal color--into each life.
Because when everything else is said and done, our ability to express ourselves, or our perspectives, through the arts is truly the "best of the rest."