MCHS Theater

Madison High School theater season
opens with 'Singin' in the Rain'

By Lela Jane Bradshaw
Contributing Writer

(November 2010) – For those seeking a Broadway-style musical right in their own hometown, Madison Consolidated High School has just the ticket.
This November, MCHS kicks off its 2010 theater season with a look back at the Golden Age of Hollywood with “Singin’ in the Rain.” The musical comedy follows stars working to make the transition from silent films to the talking pictures. MCHS students, under the direction of Aaron Kelsey, bring the beloved 1952 Gene Kelly and Debbie Reynolds movie to life on stage. Julie Swartz, president of the MCHS Theater Parent Organization, says that “These kids have an incredible amount of talent.”

2010-11 MCHS
Theater Season

• Nov. 12-14: “Singin in the Rain”
• Feb. 4-6; Feb. 11-13: “You Can’t Take It With You” (Presented in association with Spectrum of Jefferson County)
• March 11-13: Neil Simon’s “Rumors”
• April 29-May 1: “Hello Dolly”
• Tickets: http://mchstheater.org

“Singin’ in the Rain” will be presented Nov. 12-14 at MCHS Auditorium. Evening shows will be Friday and Saturday at 7. On Saturday and Sunday, 2:30 p.m. matinées are available. Tickets are available at the Hilltop branch of River Valley Financial Bank, on the MCHS theater website, or at the door starting one hour before the show. Swartz encourages area residents to take advantage of this year’s reduced ticket prices and come out to enjoy the show. Student tickets for grades K-12 are $5, and adult tickets are $5 for balcony seats, $10 for the main floor.
The show features a cast of 32 and a crew of 12. These high school students have been hard at work since August on the production. Behind the scenes, others have been busy on the technical side shooting the “movies” that will be projected during the show, and readying a challenging scene featuring a rain effect. Swartz highlights the dedication of the students involved saying, “They’re been working like crazy.”
Director Kelsey is looking forward to his 26th production at MCHS. The 31-year-old theater director has spent nine years teaching at the school, and has seven years as the sole director of the theater group. He explains the selection of “Singin’ in the Rain” laughing that, “I just like musical comedies.”
He adds that “I think most people have seen the film. I thought it would be a popular show for the crowd.”
Both Kelsey and Swartz hope that his prediction proves correct. Swartz stresses the fact that the costs of the productions are paid for by ticket sales from the previous shows. The school only pays the director a small stipend for two of the four shows presented each season.
“Singin’ in the Rain” costs an estimated $13,000 for the costumes, effects, production rights, choreographer and assistant director. “If the public supports us, we’ll be able to continue on. We would love to have a sell out every night,” says Swartz.
Kelsey believes that his theater students are “a good group of kids that deserve support from the community” and points out that there are “more students in theater than on the football team.” He is proud of the fact that last year the students taking part in theater had an average GPA of 3.5. Many of his students have gone on to study performing arts in college, and one recently served as an intern for David Letterman. Even those who are only taking part in high school theater as a fun hobby reap the benefits of improved public speaking abilities and plenty of practice in conceptual thinking and problem solving.
Swartz also invites individuals interested in supporting high school theater to stop by the monthly meetings of the MCHS Theater Parent Organization held at 7 p.m. the first Tuesday of each month in Kelsey’s room. Swartz became active in the group due to her own daughter’s involvement in the theater.
, but she encourages anyone to volunteer saying, “I absolutely love it.” She particularly enjoys seeing the process by which the productions move from initial concept sketches to the final curtain.
“Mr. Kelsey is an incredible director.”

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