The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

UHS Spring Musical

There is something wonderful about high school stage productions. As much as the students who participate in theatre are made the object of jokes and ridicule in movies and television, the reality is that these young people who are on the cusp of young adulthood are incredibly talented, amazing performers. Of course, I can’t forget the technical crew members! As a long-time spotlight operator, I tip my hat to the young men and women who stand behind 1,000 watts of light to focus the audience’s attention on the stage! (I was the chief spotlight operator while in high school, directing the off-stage lighting for nearly two dozen different stage productions, including plays, musicals, concerts, and assemblies.)

So when we got an invitation from our deputy superintendent to attend a special matinee performance of the Urbana High School’s Spring MusicalBeauty and the Beast, I eagerly accepted! (The other fourth grade class came, too.) The invitation came just before ISAT testing began, so it was a quick turnaround from getting the information to going. We got permission slips out and collected this week, loaded up the bus (if the temperature hadn’t dropped, we would have just walked), and filed into the UHS auditorium this morning.

I had no idea how my students would actually respond, but I had my hopes high. I knew that some had been to stage productions before, but this was a two and a half hour show. That is a long time for young people to sit in a darkened room. There was an intermission, of course, and some of the cast members came out and led the students in stretches, but it was still a long time to be seated!

Fortunately, my expectations for our fourth graders were well-founded! Once again the students in our two classes here at Wiley showed a level of maturity and responsibility that goes above and beyond what a typical 9- or 10-year-old would show. They were an awesome audience, applauded at all the right times, stayed quiet when they were supposed to, waited for the intermission to use the restroom, and were calm and quiet as we left the building.

The musical itself was fantastic! This was my first time seeing the stage adaptation of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. It was also my first time seeing a stage production put on by the students at Urbana High School. I was blown away by the professionalism and talent! I would be delighted to take my family to see this show and invite my friends, too. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children under 12. It is absolutely worth it! Thank you to the drama director and all of the students for a wonderful morning in your auditorium. We truly enjoyed being your guests!


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