Canevin Theater Canevin Catholic High School offers many extra curricular activities. Those students geared toward the physical challenges may choose from various athletic programs such as, basketball, soccer, and football. On the other hand, there are additional activities for those more interested in a mental challenge. These students may join such organizations anywhere from FBLA to Forensics. However, of all the extra curricular activities offered by Canevin, none excites me more than Dramatics.
This paper takes a look at my last three years involvement in the annual musical productions here at Canevin. Traditionally, Canevin’s dramatics has been a full-scale musical production performed in the spring. Students may audition for chorus, acting or dancing parts or they may join one of the many stage crews. During freshman year, I tried out for the musical “Working.” “Working” depicted different careers through dialogue, song and dance. To my surprise, I made callbacks. When the cast list was posted, the role of Anthony Polazzo, the Mason, was awarded to me.
After weeks of hard work and rehearsals, it was finally opening night. From that time on, I realized Dramatics was for me. The following year, the start-up meeting could not arrive fast enough for me. The play selected for my sophomore year was “Damn Yankees.” The musical’s main character was Joe Hardy. Joe wanted so drastically to play baseball for the Washington Senators, that he was willing to sell his soul to the devil. When the cast list was posted this time, I was assigned to play the role of Mr. Welch.
As owner of the Washington Senator’s, I was expected to portray a prestigious and confident businessman who enjoyed his cigars. In one short year, I went from a mason in overalls, to a baseball team owner decked out in a suit and tie. That’s show business! “Into the Woods” was selected as the musical for the following year. The story line included various adaptations of traditional fairy tales. Well, if mason to owner wasn’t extreme enough, what would you say about Cinderella’s father? Junior year found me playing the character of an older man who marries for the second time, to a woman with two nagging daughters. In a house of four women, no wonder he resorted to drinking. Directed to use a silver flask as a prop and a fair amount of improvisation of libations, I portrayed the character of Cinderella’s father as a drunk.
When the final curtain came down closing night on “Into the Woods,” there was, however, one more performance still to come. This year Canevin had been nominated for 6 Gene Kelly Awards, including Best Musical in Budget Level 2. The Gene Kelly Awards sponsored by Pittsburgh’s Civic Light Opera recognizes students for excellence in High School musical theater. On the night of the awards, those schools nominated for Best Show perform on the Benedum stage a selection from their production. Extra rehearsals were scheduled, and a final practice with the Benedum orchestra was needed. I am proud to announce that Canevin was awarded the Gene Kelly for Best Costume Design and Best Musical in our division.
Additionally, each year two students are asked to represent their school in a final production number. This prestigious honor is always given to two seniors. Unfortunately, this year, two of the practices fell during graduation activities. Since 5 rehearsals are mandatory, our director, Treva Rueso made her selections from the junior cast members. A fellow junior and I were ecstatic to be chosen to join members from all the participating schools in the final production number, “Keep Your Eyes on the Goal.” The plethora of ecstatic people applauding at the close of the Gene Kelly’s was phenomenal. It was indeed an honor to represent Canevin in this collaboration of students exercising their many talents.
I have experienced many gratifying moments in my years at Canevin, but few have been as electrifying as sharing with fellow cast and crew members their ability, courage, and commitment in creating the annual school musical. The Dramatic program continues to surprise its supporters with innovative musical theater. Through my experience in putting on a musical, I have learned what it means to work as a team. The camaraderie was intense and rewarding. I look forward to this year’s production of “My Fair Lady,” and to once again contribute and experience the magic of the stage.