Mama Madison: Theatrical talent close to home

Real high school musicals shouldn't be missed

A couple weekends back, as a group birthday present, my mom treated my sister, my niece, my daughter and I to tickets to a Saturday matinee performance of Flashdance: The Musical at the Overture Center. The two 11-year-old girls absolutely loved it. And to be honest, if you'd been in the balcony, you might have caught their 40-something moms performing a relatively tame lip sync to "Maniac" and "Manhunt," as well. When it comes right down to it, what's not to like about a stage show that features yards and yards of Lycra, ripped sweatshirts and a sexy steel worker?

Oh yeah, I can definitely think of one thing not to like (beyond the somewhat forgettable new music). The price. At nearly $50 dollars a ticket, it was an extremely expensive afternoon. And that's without buying (much to my daughter's chagrin) a pair of the fluorescent pink legwarmers they were selling in concessions.

So what's a parent who is not the financial equivalent of Annie's Daddy Warbucks to do if she wants to expose her kids to musical theater more regularly?

The answer came just this past Saturday night when my same performance-going posse (plus my five-year-old nephew) went to the closing night performance of West High's spring musical Beauty and the Beast, a stage adaptation of the 1991 Disney animated feature. To say it was absolutely fantastic would be the ultimate in understatement.

Junior Grace Ferencek who played Belle has a gorgeous singing voice and was a complete delight to watch on stage. She was so fabulous that I was somewhat tempted to make my way backstage after the performance to get her autograph before she someday wins a Tony or an Oscar. Trust me, she's that good.

And the fact that Reid Annin, also a junior, had the acting chops to communicate the pathos of the beast under heavy make up and faux fur was remarkable, as well. Truth be told, every member of the ensemble was well cast and memorable. I wish I could name them all, but there must have been at least fifty kids in the production, if not more. And whether portraying French countryside villagers or anthropomorphic kitchen utensils, their excitement with being on stage was palpable.

Mix this in with lavish costumes, gorgeous sets, a full orchestra and a concession stand where nothing cost more than two bucks and you have a pitch perfect experience at the theater. Oh, and did I mention the ticket prices were just $10 dollars apiece? One could afford to take the whole family for a live theater experience for less than an evening at the Lego movie would cost including popcorn.

So I'm genuinely sorry for you theater fans who missed out on West's show. But there's no need to fret. There's another chance to check out a Madison high school musical this weekend at La Follette. The Lancer Cast & Company will be presenting the final performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Oklahoma! over March 13-15 at 7:30 p.m. (Call La Follette at 608-204-3600 for reservations, because the online ticketing function is down right now, or buy tickets at the door.)

Yes, I guess you can say, to borrow from Ado Annie, that I'm becoming a "Girl who Cain't Say No" to a terrific student musical experience. And tickets for this one are an outrageously affordable $7 for adults and $5 for students.

I've often heard you get what you pay for. But "What a Feeling" it is when you get -- as is the case with high school theater -- so, so much more.

comments powered by Disqus

More to read

Loading More Articles
No More Articles

Mama Madison: Time for New Year's 2015 resolutions

New Year's resolutions are hard to keep. In fact, something around 90% of people fail every year! But one way that you can increase your odds of victory is to get other people involved.

Mama Madison: Talking about race with Families for Justice

Like many parents, I look at the wide world around my kids and do my best to prepare them for life. We talk about working hard, being kind and responsible, Internet safety, stranger danger, and the (gulp) birds and the bees. But what about a topic such as race?

Mama Madison: Checking it twice

If you're like me, looking around your house in the weeks before Christmas will probably have you convinced that the last thing your kids need to find underneath the tree is a pile of new toys.

Mama Madison: Managing holiday lists

I spend a lot of time talking to my kids about how lucky we are to have what we have. Though our house is tiny and our van is unequipped with automatic doors, we have all we could ever need, and a lot of what we want.

Girls on the Run of Dane County marks a decade of changing young lives

On the evening of Nov. 6, a throng of people gathered at Monona Terrace. They were there to attend an impressive anniversary shindig, but the real buzz of excitement centered on the event's guest of honor.

Mama Madison: Mom dates are hard

You may call them "play dates," but I like the term "mom dates," especially since my kids are still too young to really care that there's another small person to squabble over toys with.

Mama Madison: No judgments with No Excuse Mom

If there is an excuse for not working out and eating healthy, I have used it: I don't have time. I'm too tired. I'll start tomorrow. I'm no good at this, I give up. I don't know where to start. Yes, I have used all of these and more.

Mama Madison: Introducing kids to your CSA box

At almost a year old, my kids are in the blissful stage of life where they'll eat nearly anything that I put in front of them (at least as long as it doesn't require much in the way of molar action).

Mama Madison: Changing tables, changing times

My family recently went through something that we have not experienced in over eight years. We have become a household that no longer harbors a crib or a changing table.

From museum to school with MMoCA

"There really is no wrong way to do it." That's how Madeline, age 13, describes creating artwork. She and her classmates at Prairie View Middle School in Sun Prairie are honing their artistic skills by participating in the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art's Art on Tour program.

Mama Madison: Coping with toddlers in a Wisconsin winter

I'm having trouble enjoying the season, because I can't keep myself from thinking about the miserable weather that's sure to be following close on the heels of the crisp, pleasant fall we've been having. I am not at all emotionally prepared to be the parent of two toddlers during a Wisconsin winter.

Mama Madison: Melissa Wardy pushes positive messages

I've always been a supporter of companies that empower women and girls, and when the creator of such a company is a fellow Wisconsinite, I get even more excited. When Melissa Wardy of Janesville got fed up with stereotypes found in clothing for girls, she started her own company.

Mama Madison: Three cheers for reading at the Wisconsin Book Festival

Do you have a little reader or an aspiring teenaged writer in your house? If so, you may want to venture to the Wisconsin Book Festival this weekend, to whet their appetite for wonderful words as well as your own.

Mama Madison: What's in a name?

When I was pregnant with my daughter, my husband and I had two names picked out. Upon her arrival we had not yet come to a conclusion on what that name would be. Everyone told us that when we saw her we would just know. We didn't.

Mama Madison: Eugster's is more than just a visit to the farm

At age 10 months, my kids have seen the zoo a lot already. I was a zoology major in college, and I have something of a zoo addiction still, so the twins (and their dad) are more or less condemned to a future rife with zoo visits.

Help for home-schoolers at the Madison Mentor Center

Home-schooling can be a lonely proposition. Even as a college professor, Juliana Hunt remembers struggling to find support to home-school her now-grown daughter. "I was always hoping to find like-minded people who were in the same position as me," she says. "I know that children learn best through a give-and-take, question-and-answer process of teaching and learning, but where do you find mentors who can make that happen?"

Mama Madison: Yummy Sprout is a wonderful resource

After sleep patterns, I think the next biggest parenting concern I have and hear about revolves around the topic of food. How can I make sure my kids are eating enough vegetables? Did I pack them a lunch that is healthy enough? What can I feed them after school that doesn't come from a box? How many gripes am I going to get about the dinner I'm about to prepare?

Mama Madison: Tips and tricks for baby air travel

As far as places to embark on Baby's First Air Travel go, Dane County Regional Airport is a pretty sound choice, especially at 6 p.m. on a Saturday night. My biggest fear was that my nine-month-old son would start screaming in the airport; my second biggest fear was that my son would start screaming and some of my former Epic colleagues would be around to hear it.

Mama Madison: Apple-picking time

The recent shift in the weather is just another sign that autumn is fast approaching. That means one of my favorite activities is just around the corner -- apple picking. My husband and I have been picking apples every fall since before our kids were born.

Mama Madison: Baby feeding recommendations

I have a lot of questions about what to put on my eight-month-olds' plates -- and, if I'm honest, a deep and abiding fear of putting the wrong thing there. Did I start them on solid foods at the right time? What's the deal with baby-led weaning -- how much self-feeding should they be doing? At what age should I give them potential allergens like shellfish or nut products?