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POSTED: April 20, 2008 5:00 a.m.

Bye, Bye Birdie showcases the students' talents, need for a venue

If you went to see Bye, Bye Birdie this past week as I did, you may have been left with several things - a smile, a finer appreciation for the arts perhaps, maybe even something new to day dream about.

However, more than anything, what I was left with was the realization of how talented our students are and what a shame it is that they must, as student Julie Finnell put it, "pull teeth" to find a decent place to put on their performances.

I’ve read a few blogs/posts by various community members on the Bryan County News website about the need for a theater or some kind of community arts center, but until I got the chance to sit down with some of the people being directly affected - our communities young actors and actresses - and listen to several of them tell me what a pain it is to find a place to showcase their abilities, the problem seemed very distant.

RHHS only performs one major production a year, and why should they plan anymore?

As hard as it is to find a place to practice, secure dates, and grapple with other complications, they just don’t have the time to do more. I feel that because we have so few places available for use, we are truly limiting those who would participate in the performing arts.

Now this is not to say that if we got better or additional facilities to put on plays and whatnot, that we’d have a regular Broadway on Richmond Hill going on.

But at least it would give those who want to act a chance.

Other than the school plays, which as I’ve said come around once a year, the opportunities to get involved in the performing arts are few and far between; a fact that is forcing those young people wanting to act to either drive into Savannah, where a lack of the arts is not such an issue, or to simply do without.

I’ve talked to teachers and students alike and they’ve all told me the biggest hindrance to putting on a play is finding a place to do it. I feel that as we grow as a community we must be prepared to better provide for the interests of the public. As Richmond Hill continues to get larger and more diversified, things like a performing arts center are going to continue to be in high demand. The problem isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

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Stephen asks, What makes prom such a big deal?

"The only time you get to go to a school dance is Homecoming and Prom so it’s kinda important to go and chill with your school peers."

-PJ Kandel

 

"It gives you the feeling that you’re sort of grown up."

 

-Kerrie Keith

 

"Getting dressed up; all the fancy clothes."

 

-Bolton Kurt

 

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Behind the scenes of the play

Thursday and Friday, the RHHS musical theater class put on their rendition of the award winning play Bye, Bye Birdie at Carver Elementary School.

I was able to speak with junior Julie Finnell about her thoughts on the play, as well as what she thinks about the musical theater program here at RHHS as a whole. Julie is a fairly new student to RHHS so it was interesting to hear what she had to say about our performing arts program.

Q: What part do you play in Bye, Bye Birdie?

A: I play Alice, one of the teen girls, and I am drooling over Conrad Birdie who is a superstar going into the army.

Q: Have you ever been in any musicals before?

A: No, I haven’t. But I’m glad that I’ve had the ability to be in this musical.

Q: What made you want to be a part of Bye, Bye Birdie?

A: I like acting, dancing, and singing so I thought this would be a great opportunity to put that out there and try something new.

Q: How do you think students will react to the play?

A: I hope they like it, it’s very entertaining. And I hope they will try to pursue more of this type of thing.

Q: What is your opinion of the play?

A: It’s really fun. There’s so much to just sit there and laugh about. It’s just amazing, there’s no other way to put it.

Q: As a new student what do you think of the musical theater program here at RHHS as a whole?

A: It’s really good, but one of the main things that holds us back is lack of an auditorium. It was like pulling teeth to get into hear [Carver] and practice. If we had an auditorium it would be more beneficial.

Q: What would you say to a prospective audience?

A: Just have fun. Don’t boo us, because we’re working really hard, but it’s not like you need to. So just have a good time.

 

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