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'Motivated' students to perform 'smart looking show'

Cary Ashby • Mar 19, 2018 at 10:00 AM

GREENWICH — Dinner theater director Linda Jackson said she’s “fortunate to have a group of motivated and committed students who really want a smart-looking show.”

That show is the annual “Dinner Theatre” at South Central High School, a revue which features about a dozen well-known songs performed by 23 students. The perfomances include soloists, duets, trios, a quartet and small groups. The singers will perform with a small ensemble of instrumentalists.

“There are company songs too,” said senior Sarah Oney, who will sing “Someone Like You” from “Jekyll & Hyde.”

Oney estimated it took her about a week to get it “under my belt.” She listened to the song about 10 times on YouTube.

“It’s definitely a song of hope — hoping for the (right) person to come into your life,” said the daughter of Bryan and Wendy. “I’m more confident with the slower songs, the power ballads. Those are the ones that really hit your audience.”

The show times are at 5 and 7:30 p.m. March 23 and at 1, 5 and 7:30 p.m. March 24. The $15 ticket includes dinner (chicken cordon bleu, buttered redskin potatoes, Italian green beans, cinnamon applesauce, dinner roll, homemade cakes and hot and cold beverages). Tickets can be ordered by calling or texting Patti at 567-224-0797, by emailing tickets@south-central.org or by visiting scchoirs.org to order and paying through PayPal.

Rehearsals started in early January.

“What I always enjoy most about rehearsals is (the students’) willingness to improve and not settle for just ‘good enough.’ Tap dancing is always a challenge and as with anything else, some learn faster than others, but in the end, even the struggles with choreography are worth the effort because the audiences are pleased with the outcome. And of course, that's a big reason why we do this: to bless people,” Jackson said.

As with many of the singers in the production, senior Brady Dotson performs in several numbers. One of them is “You Will Be Found” from “Dear Evan Hanson.”

“It’s a slower song to start, but a momentum-builder,” said Dotson, who has been singing since the fifth grade. “To start it, I’m all by myself, so it’s weird not having the support of everyone else.”

The son of Steve and Jen sings the lead in the Four Seasons classic “Walk Like Man.” Dotson’s “background singers” are sophomore Ashton Dotson (his brother), junior Cristiano Murphy and senior Colin Seidel.

Overall, Brady Dotson said he thinks rehearsals have been going well.

“We have a lot of people returning from a lot of shows, so we’re working together well,” he added.

This stage crew for this year’s “Dinner Theatre” are: Taylor Whitright (stage manager), Liam Bacon, Karen Kluge (wardrobe), Wesley Madison and Elizabeth Radcliffe. Ben Chaffee Jr. — better known as the South Central Local Schools superintendent — is the technical director handling sets and lighting.

“The stage crew is in charge of taking the show from one number to the next. Since this is a revue of sorts, there are no set pieces or props to move, so their role is often centered on spotlights, running the main drape and setting the stage with whatever needs to come next. They're unsung heroes, as they do not receive the public exposure and applause that the actors get, so I really appreciate their behind-the-scenes work,” Jackson said.

The South Central music teacher was asked what will set this show apart from other years.

“A consistent highlight for me with the ‘Dinner Theatre’ stage show is watching the performers grow as artists. From facial expression to interpreting meaningful lyrics to just being funny, it's all part of the learning process and I hope that will stand out in their performance.”

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