After receiving more than 12,000 votes, competing against hundreds of schools and hours of practice LaGrange High School students are ready for their first ever musical. The students will be performing Seussical Jr. after being chosen as part of 'NBC's ‘SMASH’ Make a Musical contest. The musical will be performed at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on March 2 and 2 p.m. on March 3 at the LaGrange High Auditorium. (Special to the American Press)
Last Modified: Monday, February 25, 2013 8:53 PM
After receiving more than 12,000 votes, competing against more than a thousand other schools and months of rehearsals, LaGrange High School students are ready to perform in their first musical.
After placing third in “NBC’s ‘SMASH’ Make a Musical” contest last year, the students will perform “Seussical Jr.” Showtimes are 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday at the LaGrange High School auditorium.
The Saturday performance falls on Dr. Seuss’ birthday — March 2.
The performance, a scaled-down version of Broadway’s “Seussical” musical, brings together well-known characters from Dr. Seuss’ books. The whimsical plot, narrated by The Cat in the Hat, will be acted out by students act playing the parts of Horton the Elephant, Jungle of Nool animals and the tiny Whos.
“Because it had a lot of characters, we felt like we could get more kids involved in it,” said choral director Janie Williams. “And when I found there was a lot more singing than dialogue, I figured that would be really, really good for our kids because a lot of them are vocally talented.”
Williams, along with theater director Shelly Buller, entered the school into the nationwide contest last spring. The contest’s aim was to help under served schools by helping them create a maintainable musical theater program, they said.
After being selected as a top 30 semi-finalist in March 2012, more than 12,000 votes landed LaGrange in the top 10 of vote-getters. The school received the grand prize of a Broadway Junior ShowKit that included the rights to perform a musical, a local adviser, teacher stipends, a technical theater fund, and two master classes with iTheatrics’ New York-based choreographer Steven G. Kennedy.
Kennedy helped prepare students and the school’s directors for the upcoming show. He instructed them in the best ways to work with each other. He also had students go through various choreography and stage presence exercises.
Buller said they were given a list of about 10 musicals from which to choose — she said part of the reason they picked “Seussical Jr.” was because it is book based.
“We thought it would be a good opportunity to showcase some literature,” she said.
D’Ijana Maddox, a 12th-grader, plays a bird in the musical and has enjoyed the process of learning new songs, practicing dialogue and getting closer to her castmates.
“We’ve got a lot of new things to put in our school for the musical and a lot of new costumes,” she said. “Everything is really well put together and everybody is very much looking forward to it.”
The musical has also given first-hand experience to students interested in making a career out of theater. The high schoolers have taken on the roles of actors, stage hands and assistants — a conglomeration of abilities for one outcome.
“The students have poured their heart and soul into this project,” Buller said. “They’re enjoying themselves and I know this is a good opportunity for them and it’s going to help open doors for their future.”
Tickets cost $5 and can be purchased by calling the school at 217-4960/
Posted By: Kimmy Smith On: 3/10/2013
Title: It was amazing
It pleases me to be able to report how wonderfully this play was received. I was so proud of our students and our sponsors. When a school has to face as much change during one year as all Louisiana schools have, to find the students here doing such amazing and note-worthy things. Kudos to the school.
Posted By: Richard P. Forest On: 3/1/2013
Once Upon a Time was produced in 1970 or 1971.
Posted By: Richard Forest On: 3/1/2013
Title: I beg your pardon?
I am holding in my hand the program from the first musical at La Grange Senior High School. The name of the play was "Once Upon A Time", a fantasy musical by Jeffrey Roy and Rollin Cole. I was in that play. We had a blast. Please check the facts before printing something as factual.
Richard Forest - Houston, Tx.
Posted By: Briana On: 2/27/2013
Title: I want to see it!
And only $5!
Posted By: Sue Goins On: 2/26/2013
So proud of Mrs. Buller, Mrs. Williams and the Lagrange students. What an awesome opportunity for these students.
Posted By: Doug On: 2/26/2013
Go, LaGrange, Go!!! Show the world that our Lake Area has many Josh Ledets.