ROSEMOUNT - The inspiration for the OnStage performance "That's Life" has a unique back story pulled from within the walls of Rosemount High School.
Art interprets life
The program title of "That's Life" is pulled from the famous song by legendary musician Frank Sinatra and the students have been rehearsing for seven shows that take stage beginning Thursday, April 25.
"I wanted to do a show about life, and to be honest with you, it kind of started with all the construction at the high school and dealing with the mess that comes along with construction," director Steven Albaugh said. "I thought that is life and I knew we could just do a show about how life goes, and how you have to make it happen - that was the light bulb moment."
The first set depicts dreams and the second set is turmoil when life does not go well. The second act includes two sets. The OnStage show ends with a set of celebration.
"I chose to go that route and it was a little more challenging to find music, but in the long run, I think it is a little less predictable and more entertaining show," Albaugh said.
Four seniors who have taken part in OnStage each year of high school reflect on how fun it is to sing and dance together on stage.
RHS senior Nick Tentis, who sings baritone, plans to become a teacher and is excited to teach drama in high school. All because he found his place during his high school career and excelled in academics and the arts.
"The whole experience is really nice because it is a chance to be with your peers and some of the teachers you have gotten to know," RHS senior Wylie White said. "It is a chance to get to know a whole bunch of other people you get thrown into these numbers with and you sing and dance with them and it has a really good community vibe to it."
"It is getting sad especially being at the end of senior year, too, and so everything is coming to an end," senior and soprano Cici Adams added. "Overall, it is probably one of the best things about high school and I think everyone would agree with that because it is a one-of-a-kind experience."
Hannah Beumer, also a senior at RHS, will sing and do some tap dancing in the shows.
"I have been dancing the majority of my life and I had to quit once high school started and theatre was a way for me to keep dancing," Beumer said.
Tentis has been able to write comedy lines to sing his own jokes in the show and this has been a way to grow emotionally and enlarge his funny bone.
"It kind of lets me flex my creative muscle and I feel like a lot of things I am writing are funnier than it was in Hee Haw, to be honest," Tentis said.
In his 19th year planning and producing this year-end musical, Albaugh, 55, said the show means a lot to him as an educator.
"I don't think it is any different than a coach watching their athletes compete and succeed and get better," he said. "We try to come up with the best show for the audience, but really truly with our artistic staff it is about seeing our students do amazing things and seeing the response from the audience and how it changes them for the better."
The RHS artistic team calls for teamwork and leadership from choreographer Christina Morris, technical director Nathan Miller, instrumental director Scott Palmer, costume designers Sandra Sandberg and Mari Kae Schouweiler, and production assistants Emily Lehmann and Trina Sletto.
The OnStage production showcases the talents of 200 youth with 130 choral students, 40 dancers, 24 jazz band musicians and 50 third through sixth graders who sing in a children's chorus. The production is supported by the valuable talents from the 25 youth who work as part of the tech crew who direct sound and lighting.
"We just try to do a good show and each year there is more interest from kids who want to be in it, and I cast as many as I can because I want them to have that experience and I want them to have that fun doing a performing arts show," Albaugh said. "At Rosemount High, we believe very strongly in that AAA philosophy of how the arts are just as important as athletics and academics, and this is a way to see the impact it has on young people and it is pretty inspiring."
OnStage will perform at 7 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, April 25-27 and May 2-4 in the auditorium at Rosemount High School.
Tickets can be purchased at https://public.district196.org/rhs/theaterarts/index.cfm.