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High schools' theatrical productions truly celebrate the arts
By Stephanie Penick | Daily Herald Columnist
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Published: 5/5/2010 12:00 AM

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I hope you were among the thousands of family members, friends and supporters of the performing arts who helped put butts in seats in our high school auditoriums April 29 to May 2.

If you made that choice, you experienced the incredible talent Naperville families have produced for our dedicated music and theater educators to showcase all year long - and especially during their spring theatrical productions.

Many local students brought their dramatic and musical talents to the stages of their schools, providing a variety of opportunities to see some of the best theater in the area at great box office prices. My ticket was $10.

It's been our family's experience for 17 years, mostly attending performances at Waubonsie where our three children went, that these high school theater productions offer top-notch family entertainment, and another fine way to introduce school-age children to the performing arts without spending Broadway prices.

"The Music Man" at Naperville Central, "George Washington Slept Here" at Naperville North, "Les Miserables" at Waubonsie, "Kiss Me, Kate" at Neuqua Valley and "Pajama Game" at Metea Valley were produced by the five high schools in Naperville Unit District 203 and Indian Prairie Unit District 204.

Though I would have loved the time to attend all five productions, I stayed true to tradition and headed to Waubonsie.

Oh, my gosh! What a program! The 20-page work featured a synopsis, bios with photos and the message that "the very essence of 'Les Miserables' is to love another person is to see the face of God."

What casting, performances, direction, staging, music, singing, special effects, costumes, lighting, sound, scenery and choreography!

The voices that sang the Tony Award-winning score (the musical set in early 19th-century France follows the intermingling stories of a cast of characters as they battle for redemption and revolution) exceeded all expectations - and then some.

Simply put, our superintendents, members of boards of education and principals need to know how much our community values and supports the arts. Thanks for writing letters or sending e-mails to officials in your school districts.

Thanks also to parents for providing your children with the music lessons, instruments, classes and time that allow them to follow their passions for our enjoyment and entertainment. Few things are without sacrifices.

If our administrators and educators are truly "all about the students," I'm confident they'll figure out a way to fund the arts.

Going forward, be sure to mark your calendar for the Memorial Day Parade May 31 in downtown Naperville.

Our city's annual parade will be an opportunity to see more than 24 local marching middle school and high school bands as they join the Naperville Municipal Band in this colorful and patriotic tribute to everyone who has ever given the ultimate sacrifice for freedom while serving our country.

On another note, the parade route is changing slightly this year as it winds around to Central Park for the 30-minute musical observance at 12:15 p.m., immediately following the parade.

As is tradition, the Memorial Day Parade will step off from Jackson Avenue at Ewing Street at 10:30 a.m., and will advance along Jackson Avenue to Washington Street.

This year, however, marchers will continue north along Washington to Benton Avenue, where they will turn east toward Court Place. At Court Place, all parade entries will be directed where to disband and all veterans will continue to the ceremony in Central Park.