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This schoolhouse rocks – Graduating Drama Dawgs enjoy last time on Dalton stage

PHOTOS BY RANDY FATH  
From left, Evan Hodkinson, Kayla VanKirk, Miki Fath and Karmellah Buttler in “Schoolhouse Rock Live!”

PHOTOS PROVIDED BY MARCIA TRENT
Dalton’s spring musical, “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” allowed each cast member to have a big role on stage.

 

DALTON  Tears were in the eyes of cast and crew members following the third performance of “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” April 11 at Dalton High School.

The musical is, by far, not a sad one.

After last year’s spring show was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, “Schoolhouse Rock Live!” proved not only to be a fun production for the graduating theater students’ grand finale, but it was a meaningful and emotional final bow for them.

“There was not one person that Sunday afternoon that didn’t have tears in their eyes,” senior Ozzie Miller, who played the role of George, said in an emailed response to the DGKN following his final show as a Drama Dawg.

“This means so much to us,” he said, “and I’m so thankful that we were still able to perform and have so much fun.”

Colorful and funny with an energetic cast, the show is based on the 1970s Saturday morning cartoon series that taught history, grammar, math and more, according to mtishows.com.

“My favorite thing about my role was truly the songs I got to sing,” said senior Karmellah Buttler, who played Shulie (“the red one”).“I never listened to Schoolhouse Rock songs before this play, so I was happy to learn some really good ones.”

Rehearsing for the play as the pandemic continued meant the students had to practice with masks on at all times and be socially distant. This created a challenge while they were dancing, and blocking had to be rearranged, but those challenges brought the group even closer together, Buttler said.

“What I enjoyed about Schoolhouse Rock is that it gave everyone an opportunity to almost have a lead role in the sense that there wasn’t just three or four people on stage at a time,” said senior Miki Fath, who played Rosie. “Everyone got to be on stage the whole time which was really fun and different.”

Angelique Kosier said she enjoyed being crew chief one last time. The production was one of her favorites and she worked on the set, and changing the slideshows during the performance.

“For me, rehearsal and performing the productions wasn’t difficult,” she said. “However for the cast members, that’s a different story.”

Singing and dancing with masks and not many places to catch a breath was a challenge, she said. For the performance, which was live on stage with limited seating in the audience, they were permitted to take off their facial coverings.

“Once those masks were off the musical really came to life,” Kosier said.

She and other graduating Drama Dawgs agreed that they will miss high school theater, and the relationships they formed most of all.

“It’s something so unlike sports,” Fath said. “It’s somewhere I could just go, meet new people from all grades and have fun with, without the pressure/stress of competition like with sports.”

Miller said the theater group is a tight-knit community with a togetherness one doesn’t find elsewhere.

“I’m going to miss the crazy busy days and the wild memories that I got from drama,” he said.

The graduating seniors had much to say about their director and teacher Robin Evans-DelCiappo.

“I’m especially going to miss Mrs. Ed,” Miller said. “She is very underappreciated because she does so much for all of us whether that’s relating with school or just in how we are doing. I would always go to her with any problems i had just to talk about it and she took a major role in helping me through my issues. Mrs Ed and the whole drama program have been major parts of my life and I’m really going to miss it when I’m gone.”

Miller said the entire drama program and Evans-Del-Ciappo, in particular, did a great job in following COVID-19 guidelines for both the fall play, “A Christmas Carol” and “Schoolhouse Rock Live!”

Kosier agreed she will miss Evans-DelCiappo the most. “She puts so much time and effort into really helping all of us (crew and cast members) create an amazing show. She has impacted my life greatly and because of her, I have created many memories that I will carry with me for the rest of my life,” Kosier wrote.

Ashlen Lisic who played Jojo (the “green one”) also gave credit to choir director Heather Carr.

“I remember being scared and excited when I found out that I played one of the seven singing roles,” she said in an email. “I had always been scared of singing in front of others. If it had not been for Miss Carr, I would not be singing at all. I enjoyed the spirit of the musical and how much everyone brought to make it come alive.”

Many of the leading cast members also are on sports teams and they agreed that they enjoyed the unique camaraderie of high school theater.

“I am definitely going to miss the people and the atmosphere of the Drama Dawgs, it is something completely unique that I don’t think can be found anywhere,” senior Anna Maglott said in an email. “I will mostly miss our director, Ed, who is always there for you no matter what you need and lastly I will miss my fellow classmates in drama. They have helped make it an amazing four years. They are amazing people who I have been through many things with.”

 

 

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