High School Theatre

old fan
old fan

September 5th, 2008, 2:32 pm #21

While I do sympathize with your frustration and your daughter's, it sounds like she has had a very good high school experience in many areas. Maybe you should encourage her to focus on what she HAS done rather than the one thing (and I realize it's the most important to her) and her achievements in theater and singing opportunities out of school...in just a few months (!) she will be off to college or wherever she plans to go, and high school will be in the past. I hope she has some fond HS memories; not everyone does.
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Rachel
Rachel

September 5th, 2008, 4:42 pm #22

Just catching up on this thread now and it sounds like at least your daughter is fortunate enough to be in a school with a vital arts department and many opportunities to explore the performing arts, be it in musicals, hip hop, etc. It may seem like it now but high school theatre is not the be all and end all of her career. I went to a NYC public junior high school with a great theatre program (by public school standards at least). I was able to take theatre as my required elective and also participate in the musicals that were rehearsed for after school and performed at the end of the school year. I then went on to my zoned NYC public high school and figured out on the first day that they didn't even HAVE a theatre program. They didn't do plays. They didn't do musicals. There was a choir that became my salvation for 4 years. They did a talent show one year that I got to participate in. That was it. A couple of us tried to form a club and none of the teachers felt equipped to sponsor it. I certainly commiserate with your daughter but it's also an important lesson to impress on her that she is lucky to be in a situation where she has the opportunity to explore the arts in her high school (and exposure to many different arts will only help her if she pursues theatre as a profession) and that she also has the opportunity to learn with other kids who share similar interests. I felt isolated in high school a lot of the time specifically because there wasn't a place for me to congregate with other kids who liked to do musicals (and I am not and never have been a professional by any means, just somebody who likes to participate in the process even in the smallest ways).

She is also learning from an early age how fickle the business is. These kinds of politics go on at the highest levels as well. Look at all of the big movie stars with no musical experience that they cast in big budget musical films just to make money. People are passed over because they're too tall, too short, too tan, too fat, too skinny, a soprano, a belter, because somebody else knows the director, because somebody else has worked with them before, because they have black hair or red hair or an accent or a birth mark, it goes on and on. That is the type of situation your daughter, no matter how talented she is, will run in to over and over again as she continues to pursue her career. It is grossly unfair but if she is meant to do this as her life, it is preparing her for the big time.

By not getting cast, she is also giving a turn to kids who may not have the professional background she has and need this time to learn and grow as performers as well.

Just trying to help her see the positives in this!

Rachel
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Not so frustrated anymore
Not so frustrated anymore

September 5th, 2008, 5:53 pm #23

I know that in the scheme of things I have nothing to complain about. My daughter has had a pretty amazing high school experience. I was just venting that it is a shame that this seems to happen to so many talented musical theatre kids. I read somewhere that many kids who were on Broadway in Annie couldn't get parts in their school shows. I think people sometimes feel that successful kids don't get hurt. But, as we all know, they have the same feelings as everyone else.
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understand
understand

September 5th, 2008, 10:40 pm #24

It doesn't work that way with sports. The best athlete (pitcher/QB) gets the spot on the team.
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AnnieFan65
AnnieFan65

September 6th, 2008, 12:06 am #25

...believe me, I have waged many "battles" since my kids were little...I think a lot of things are wrong in the public school system, from hours, curriculum, bullying, teacher issues, all sorts of things, etc. The mom who posted first feels more passionately about this particular subject than I do, but I support her. My kids have been lucky to find activities that they enjoy (such as debate team/speech club, badminton, photography and more) I was disappointed that my daughter did not pursue her love of sports, but it was her decision because she did not want to tackle (excuse pun !) the "hierarchy." I would have fought for that one, but it was her call. If the "frustrated mom" and her daughter want to challenge the theater department, go for it !! All I'm saying is that local theater is there for her daughter, and schools do provide many other activities, if she wants to try something else.
There is also, from my experience, an attitude of "give someone else a chance" because you already get jobs. When a kid is known or successful, even in local theatre, they seem to think they're not "high school" material. I don't know if it's jealousy or what.
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AnnieFan65
AnnieFan65

September 6th, 2008, 12:08 am #26

I know that in the scheme of things I have nothing to complain about. My daughter has had a pretty amazing high school experience. I was just venting that it is a shame that this seems to happen to so many talented musical theatre kids. I read somewhere that many kids who were on Broadway in Annie couldn't get parts in their school shows. I think people sometimes feel that successful kids don't get hurt. But, as we all know, they have the same feelings as everyone else.
Sounds like some of the teachers are jealous of kids who have been cast in outside plays. Makes you wonder . . .
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Marie
Marie

September 6th, 2008, 12:12 am #27

It doesn't work that way with sports. The best athlete (pitcher/QB) gets the spot on the team.
There's lots of politics in sports.
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old fan
old fan

September 6th, 2008, 1:18 am #28

...plus plenty of competition for the slots on the sports teams. As I mentioned earlier, just like theater etc, kids start "training" so young, that there are many qualified athletes by the time they enter high school.
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CindyS
CindyS

September 6th, 2008, 12:46 pm #29

I think the biggest problem is this: These kids come to high school with a reputation of having a certain level of talent. When they are passed over for roles, for whatever reason, the other kids at the school begin to falsely believe that they weren't so talented afterall. Especially when kids with very little talent beat out the professional kids. My daughter says that it is just embarassing. Only her close group of friends has seen her perform in outside theatre.
The saddest part is that teachers are supposed to inspire kids to follow their dreams. Their job is to seek out those with special talents (whether it is math or science or art) and guide them, mentor them, and support them. There is nothing worse than blowing out the candle in someone's heart.
But, here's the good part: Everyone needs something in life to drive them. And, if my daughter wants this bad enough, she will use this as fuel to succeed.
I totally agree with you, although, again, as a teacher I see both sides.

My daughter came home last night devastated that she was passed over AGAIN for a lead in "Kiss Me Kate" in her performing arts high school. True, the talent levels of some of these kids are incredible, yet, dd has more professional credits, a higher GPA and a stronger work ethic than some of these kids. She's decided she's "not good enough", "not pretty enough", etc,. etc., etc. Yes, her spirit has been broken and, as her mother, my heart is broken. But, she knows the only way to succeed in this business is to keep going and keep the spirit alive. Without that, all is lost. So, I told her to really go deep within herself and see if the passion for theater is as strong as she says it is. If it is, then she'll keep believing in herself, and continue going. If not, perhaps it wasn't meant to be. She told me she loves theater, and after the disappointment wanes, she knows she'll love being the show (she's guaranteed at this point something in the show), and being part of the company.

That's the hardest thing for some of these kids.....to deal with life's hard lessons early at a time when they are faced with so many other challenges. We, as parents, can only love them.
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Rachel
Rachel

September 6th, 2008, 2:39 pm #30

It doesn't work that way with sports. The best athlete (pitcher/QB) gets the spot on the team.
Here's an example of politics in gymnastics:

The way the Olympics (and the World Championships) used to work, each team had 7 members with 6 members performing per event and 5 scores counting. In the sport, the scores for the first few athletes are usually lower because if you give a 10.0 to the first athlete and the second athlete is better, how can you improve that score? So there is always an athlete asked to be the "tablesetter," e.g. somebody who is very consistent and usually does great routines but essentially has to sacrifice themselves and not make the all-around or event finals (you qualify for those rounds based on your scores in the team competition) because their scores will be lower. The superstars of the sport get to go in the last few spots since they are expected to rake in the medals and there is a great athlete stuck at the beginning whose routines would get much better scores if they went at the end. But somebody has to do it. For those who remember that Magnificent Seven in 1996, Jaycie Phelps went first or second on every event despite finishing second at the National Championships. They knew that Shannon Miller and the two Dominiques were the bigger draws. Obviously it paid off in spades. Sports is as much full of politics as anything else.

Rachel
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