Spring Musical Rolls Into Town
Education - Education
Written by Millbank Daily-Weekly   
Thursday, 09 May 2013 22:25

 

The Millbank High Spring Musical has become an annual tradition in many Millbank households, one that parents feel obligated to attend. However, disagreements between students and faculty almost derailed this year’s production. Until this week, many feared that there would be no production this May.

However, an agreement was reached last night to insure that the show will go on. After much debate and disagreement, the Millbank High School drama club and faculty advisors have reached a compromise. That means there will be a Spring Musical.Hair Express Poster

The primary issue that separated students from faculty were the youngsters’ desire to stage a less conventional production while faculty had already made significant investment in a different idea.

“The kids wanted to do ‘Hair,’ said Millbank High music teacher Cory Mitburg. “It is, to say the least, controversial.”

“Hair” is a musical first staged at the height of the Vietnam War in the early 1970s. It explores free love, anti-war themes, drugs and nudity. The students asked to perform it because they believed its messages were still valid and struck a chord with them.

Mitburg said, “Don’t get me wrong, I applaud the kids for being adventurous. But the Drama Club faculty advisors had made significant investment in another production. Plus, there’s all that nudity and disrespecting the Flag.”

The significant investment Mitburg referred to was the purchase of two-dozen pairs of roller skates. Faculty advisors had selected the Andrew Lloyd Weber musical “Starlight Express” in which people on wheels pretend to be choo-choo trains going round and round while singing tunes that were almost hits.

“It’s a dazzling piece of theater and kids love Andrew Lloyd Weber,” said Mitburg of “Starlight Express.” “We thought they would see it has everything teenagers fantasize about: rollerskating, wishing you were a train, and having flashlights on your heads.”

The students rebelled. After nearly a month of stalemate, Mitburg proposed a solution. The result is “Hair Express” in which a young college student bumps his head and has a psychedelic dream of being a cosmic train, racing other steam engines while spreading a message of love and staying in school. Hair Express at Millbank High

Mitburg has written new dialog and lyrics that eliminate all nudity and stitches the two plays together while retaining what the students felt were most important about “Hair.” Namely, wearing wigs and saying “Far out” and “groovy.” Mitburg added new themes, including the importance of good personal hygiene and how love can only be between to legally married people of the opposite sexes. Minor modifications to the existing songs have resulted in “Aquarius” becoming “Caboose” with lyrics such as “This is the joining of the engine and caboose.”

“Hair Express” will be performed May 16, 17 and 18. If those shows sell out, additional performances will be added over Memorial Day weekend. Audiences are encouraged to dress as trains. Hippie attire will be allowed, if done in good taste.

 

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