Future stars of stage and screen can begin their training at an early age amid math classes, English lessons, and a high school cafeteria.
A handful of students enrolled in the Eastland-Fairfield Career and Technical Schools Performing Arts Program teased school board members with an exercise in dialects during a Feb. 20 board meeting. The program is presenting their latest production, "Hello Dolly," on Feb. 29, and March 1 and 2.
"The Performing Arts program, located at Reynoldsburg High School, was one of our very first satellite programs," said Teresa Durkin, coordinator of Off-Site Program and Marketing, "and is now in its 13th year. It’s truly a unique program. What makes the program so unique and very special boils down to the instructors. What they’re able to accomplish is amazing."
Students receive instruction in choreography, dance techniques, improvisation, musical theatre, stage combat, stage management, costume design, directing, light and sound design, playwriting, theatre and dance history, and stage design. Multiple productions take place throughout the school year.
Instructor Doreen Dunn told board members the program started in 1995 with a handful of students, two annual productions, and two majors-dance and theatre.
Today, there are a variety of majors, guest artists frequently assist students with productions and instruction, and field trips have taken students as far as Scotland in 2003 when the program was nominated to represent Ohio at an international festival.
"We also have a very active alumni," continued Dunn, who said many go on to teach at the university level or pursue a career in professional theatre, "who come in and direct workshops, choreograph, or teach a class. One former student opened a theatre in Colorado and hired our graduates.
"Our students are pretty much 100 percent college bound and scholarships total over $1 million over the last five years. Our playwriting class is really astounding and we created extra productions to offer more opportunities. After "Hello Dolly," we’re doing "Kinder Transport," which is based on a true story of children saved during the Holocaust."
On Feb. 28, a special production of "Hello Dolly" benefits the Anita C. Miller Scholarship Fund. Tickets are $12 and include refreshments at 7 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m. For all other productions of "Hello Dolly," the show times are 8 p.m. on Feb. 29 and March 1 and at 3 p.m. on March 2. Tickets are $9 for adults, $6 for seniors, and $5 for students.
For information, call 501-4071.