Today at lunch I sat with Douglas Manson-Blair and Ian Farish, the directors of the Middle School musical, The King of Elfland’s Daughter (Douglas does the directing, Ian oversees the music).The King of Elfland’s Daughter is on stage at the McPherson Theatre on March 5, 6 and 7. In Senior Chapel this morning, we had the cast of West Side Story perform a couple of numbers for the school, in anticipation of next week’s performance, again at the McPherson Theatre, February 24-28.
Exciting times, these musicals. I love these events at the school that bring together such large numbers of students from so many grades, with many teachers and parents helping out, everyone contributing to a quality production. So much creativity, and so much skill. In the case of The King of Elfland’s Daughter, what we are seeing is the world premiere of the musical. Originally a novel, it has been transposed by Douglas Manson-Blair for the stage, and all the original music has been written by Ian Farish. Sitting with Douglas and Ian at lunch, you could feel the buzz that they are containing inside themselves, and gauge the exhilarating energy that is no doubt keeping them going in these last few days of rehearsal.
Likewise with West Side Story. Although it has been mounted on many stages, you can feel the same energy pervading the Senior School these days. Rehearsals for various bits and pieces in the morning before school, at lunchtime, after school and in the evenings. This morning in Chapel the orchestra sounded great – it is challenging music, and I know that Donna Williams, the Music Director for the musical, is very pleased with the way in which our orchestra has risen to the occasion. David Gauthier, the Director of the show, our Director of Drama, is clearly also surviving on the energy of himself and others; he introduced “America” this morning, pointing out its continued relevance even today, 50 years after the musical was first performed. So much talent, so much energy, so many students. I hope that everyone who is able finds time to go and see both these productions. Not only will they be impressive, they will be very enjoyable.