Friday, April 11, 2008

More Pictures from the OZ production!

The Wizard of OZ in pictures.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Let us know what you thought of the show!

If you'd like to let the Drama Club know what you thought of the recent Wizard of OZ production, just add a comment. Thanks for coming to the show. It was the Biggest in Drama Club History and a great way to celebrate the 50th birthday of the Drama Club.

Friday, April 4, 2008

From the Barnstable Patriot

KATHLEEN SZMIT PHOTO-THE SWEET SMELL OF RECOGNITION – Joyce Arlington poses amidst 50 red roses and a commemorative plaque honoring her for starting the Barnstable High School Drama Club in 1958. Arlington was recognized following intermission of the opening night performance of The Wizard of Oz.

BHS Drama Club creator takes center stage

Written by Kathleen Szmit

Joyce Arlington’s idea a major force 50 years later

When Joyce Arlington sparked the idea to create a drama club at Barnstable High School in 1958, she had no clue that it would become the revered organization it is today.

On last week’s opening night of The Wizard of Oz, the BHS Drama Club’s spring production, Arlington was recognized in a special mid-show ceremony.

Following intermission, Shakespeare teacher Ed O’Toole called Arlington onstage where each of the five main characters of the play, including Toto, presented her a bouquet of 10 red roses, one for each year of the club’s existence.

O’Toole offered praise to Arlington for her contribution to the school, noting the thousands of students who have benefited from participating in the club through the years.

Arlington, who has attended club shows through the years, wasn’t expecting the attention.

“It was a total, total surprise,” she said, noting that it was research conducted by O’Toole and others that revealed her role as founder of the original club.

“It was 1958 and we had moved from High School Road to West Main, our first year in the new big school,” Arlington said in a phone interview this week. “I was a junior. I had come to Barnstable from off-Cape, so I was at the old school a year and the new school a year.”

Because Arlington was not drawn to sports or the clubs that existed at the time, she longed for an activity that would fit her needs while possibly appealing to other students as well.

“I think there were a couple of things that inspired me to start the club,” she said. “I had this dream that maybe I could be an actress, and I wanted to belong. I wanted to do something that I could be a part of.”

Arlington went to Principal Briah K. Connor about the idea of starting a drama club.

“He said, ‘Go find yourself an advisor’ and he’d support it,” said Arlington.

The club’s first advisor was Elliot McSwan, a BHS teacher who acted in amateur theatrical shows at the Cape Cod Melody Tent in summers.

“I felt that Mr. McSwan would be a good advisor because he had that interest,” Arlington said.

Unfortunately, Arlington learned during auditions for the club’s first show that her acting skills were, ahem, not up to snuff.

“My own acting career kind of fizzled,” she said. “I had my first tryout and I was so nervous I couldn’t speak the words. But I am a born organizer. I love to start things and bring people together. I have a knack for seeing the big picture. I definitely was behind the scenes.”

Although Arlington’s acting career never took off, life offstage has been busy for the Dennisport resident. Following graduation, she attended college and ultimately earned her masters in nursing, working since 1973 as a nurse practitioner, first through New England Baptist Hospital, and now at Preventative Medical Associates in Yarmouth.

An avid traveler, Arlington has visited Europe, been a self-proclaimed ski-bum in Colorado, and with friends even chaperoned the first US Olympic luge team.

Arlington returned to Cape Cod in 1994 during what she quietly called a “dark period” of divorce and illness.
“I came to visit my aunt,” she said. “I came for a weekend and never left.”

Upon returning to the Cape, Arlington reconnected with classmates from the BHS class of ‘59.
“We’re all very tight,” she said. “We’re a very close class.”

Back in her high school days, Arlington became secretary of the drama club, which in 1958 and 1959 had one production a year, then known as the Senior Show.

It was only recently that Arlington realized how big her little idea had grown.

“I have to admit that I was in total shock,” she said. “I had heard people talk about the Drama Club, but I never realized it was as big as it was. I’ve known that it’s been involved, but I had no idea how involved.”

Arlington was impressed to learn that shows occur year-round, with two major productions a year, a Shakespeare play, and Shakespeare and family theatre in the summer.

“We had 20 kids in 1959,” she said, marveling at the 300-plus cast of The Wizard of Oz.

What impressed Arlington in the 1950’s was that, although the club was small, students from all classes tried out for shows.

“What was evident in our first production was that we got kids from all the classes to try out, not just one class,” she said. “That was a little taste of what was to come.”

Arlington credits Drama Club head John Sullivan for helping the program to flourish.

“It started to develop under [Jim Ruberti] and John really started flying with it. He brought his artistic talent to it,” she said. “He brings a lot of connections to the Drama Club and reaches so many people.”

Arlington also offered kudos to O’Toole for his involvement with the Shakespeare productions.

“They are the proof of the importance of teachers and how important it is that they care about kids,” she said.
On opening night Sullivan took Arlington to the “old auditorium” (Knight Hall) and caught her up on the club’s history. Arlington also talked with technical director Steve Bearse and costume designer Karen Mannal.
Arlington enjoyed meeting the folks that came up to her following the show to thank her for creating the club.
“I just realized the extent to which the Drama Club has reached people,” she said. “I’m still absorbing the whole thing, by the way.

“The club just makes me happy because kids are our biggest resource. Children: raising them, caring for them and their education is most important. I see what kids get in trouble with out in the world and I wish there were more places for kids to go. This is meeting a real need. I know how it touches lives and how important it is.”

So what did the founder of the Drama Club think of its 50th anniversary production?

“It was fabulous,” she said. “I loved how Broadway it was. It’s amazing to me!”

Although Arlington doesn’t generally make a big deal about the drama club being her brainchild, she deeply appreciated the recognition.

“I’m thrilled and I have to say a little proud,” she said. “And amazed that they would give me that recognition. It was a sweet, sweet joy.”

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Wizard of OZ will Return this Summer!

Don't worry if you can't get tickets to this production, the Wizard of OZ will return July 10, 11, 15 - 19. All shows will be held in the Barnstable High School Performing Arts Center and showtime is 7pm. We are not accepting reservations at this point - but watch for that announcement real soon!

Wizard of OZ - the Review - the Barnstable Patriot

Wizard wows at Barnstable High School
Written by Kathleen Szmit

When Barnstable High School Drama Club President Matt Kohler said that The Wizard of Oz would be the club’s best show ever, he wasn’t simply trying to sell tickets. He was right.

Expectations were great for the much-ballyhooed production, buzzed about since it was revealed that its every detail was to be filmed for a WB Webcast. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the pressures, the cast and crew did not disappoint.

Even before the curtain rose over the stage of the Performing Arts Center at BHS for the first performance on March 28, every seat in the expansive auditorium was filled.

When that curtain rose, all 1,400 let out a collective gasp at the detailed set, intricately painted by Ethan Brown, Vanessa Varjian and Jess Emerson. For a short while it felt as though everyone truly was in Kansas; the scenery was that realistic.

Then the real magic began, with the Ozian Cast, one of three selected by director John Sullivan, taking folks along on a wonderful adventure.

The first time I saw The Wizard of Oz movie, on which the BHS production is based, I was barely out of toddlerhood. Although terribly frightened by the witch and her flying monkeys, I was hooked and it became a tradition when it was on TV to watch, peeking through the blankets when the witch’s green face appeared.

As I watched Oz unfold onstage at BHS, I was immediately transported back to those days of innocence and the spectrum of emotions evoked by the storyline.

When folks know a show it can be difficult to impress, especially because your audience might be looking for familiarity. The BHS Drama Club took that concern to heart and created a production that even the cast of the MGM classic would be proud of.

From her mannerisms to her speaking voice, it was as though Kelly Mosher, in the role of Dorothy, was channeling Judy Garland herself. Doubters were duly silenced when Mosher sang the favorite tune, “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” flawlessly.

Dorothy’s traveling companions, Chris Houghton as the Scarecrow, Shane Harris as the Tin Man, and Kohler as the Lion were equally outstanding, boasting smooth singing voices and nailing the quirky characteristics of each role.

The Totos, both the real pup and the Oz Toto, deserve mention as well. The actual canine, Callie Meyers, was spectacularly well behaved and the epitome of cute, while Jack Wood as the Oz Toto, was equally adorable in his doggie portrayal.

Let’s not forget the witches. Molly Handel captured the enchanting essence of Glinda the Good Witch, while Jess Emerson was spot-on as The Wicked Witch of the West. From her green face to her perfect voice, I was left wishing for blankets to peer through.

Especially impressive was that each actor added his or her own special flavor to a role while maintaining the original and much-loved affectations of those from the 1939 cinematic gem.

To mention each performer and show highlight would require space this paper doesn’t have. There are so many: the adorable and brightly dressed Munchkins, the festive field of poppies, the swarm of Flying Monkeys, including two who really flew, and more. Each moment brought a new feast for the senses.

Of course, it wouldn’t be The Wizard without the music. Backed by a sizeable orchestra conducted by Michael Gross, the BHS production included each of the beloved tunes from the film, while adding in two that had been cut in 1939 -- “The Jitterbug” and a medley of “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead” and “Merry Old Land of Oz.”

Caitlin Gardipe, one of the production’s three Dorothys, also had the task of choreographing the show, including the energetic “Jitterbug” dance featuring a stage full of Jitterbuggers accompanying the song.

The costume crew, helmed by Karen Mannal, deserves immense praise for hand-sewing each Flying Monkey suit, poppy flower, and Munchkin lapel. Every outfit was beautifully detailed.

Fortunately, the quick-thinking cast revived the momentum by finding a way to segue into the next tune, barely missing a beat.

Throughout the show I had to repeatedly remind myself that this was a high school production. Given the complex sets, the dynamic effects, the singing and acting talent, and the stunning costumes, it’s no wonder. My only disappointment is in not being able to see every cast.

Because of the popularity of this monumental production, however, I might be able to sneak in one more viewing, as Sullivan and his crew have added an extra show to accommodate those unable to get tickets to the rest of the sold-out performances.

I hope everyone gets to see this show for it is well worth its ticket price. Like the Great Wizard says, “It is not how much you love that matters, but rather how much you are loved by others.”

This show is one to love!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A letter to the Drama Club from the Honorable Senator Edward M. Kennedy

Photos by Russ Price

Russ Price has taken pictures of the cast and show - they are worth a look.

here's all you have to do:

The Wizard of Oz Photo Website will only be active until April 12th.
Go to this web site:
Register your e-mail address and enter the password provided.
The password for BHS Wizard of Oz is: oz
Click on the first image and then click on the Slide Show button.
Please click on any image to view a larger version. Add to shopping cart, if you would like a print made.
Enter ordering information and include payment with credit card. Your photo order will be processed and mailed to you directly.
Pass this info to your fellow cast members, family and friends.
Any questions, please contact the photographer: e-mail Russ Price or call him at 508-420-5581.