‘Our mandate isn't to fill the seats but to provide learning opportunities for the students'
TRURO - Although attendance at this year's Cobequid Educational Centre musical was down from past years, the event was a tremendous learning success for students.
Cobequid Educational Centre's production of Into the Woods has wrapped up. There were six performances and the last one took place on Saturday. Cast members included Erin Brocklehurst as Little Red Riding Hood, left, Joanna Burris as Cinderella and Adam Smith as the Baker. File photo
Robert Lutz, CEC's fine arts department head and drama and guitar teacher, produced and directed this year's CEC musical, Into the Woods. The musical, which first opened on Broadway in 1988 and won Tony Awards for score and script, depicted several fairy tale characters who learn the hard way that the happily ever after they sought isn't necessarily so happy after all.
Lutz said he knew audience numbers would be down because it wasn't as well known as other musicals the high school has tackled in the past.
"Our mandate isn't to fill the seats but to provide learning opportunities for the students," said Lutz, estimating most of the six shows that ran from April 14 to 21 were less than half full or filled close to half of CEC's audio-visual room. The AV room has about 950 seats.
Saturday night's show, the final of the six performances, was estimated to be "a little more than half full."
Lutz said the performances were successful and a huge undertaking for the students.
"The vocal talent was a highlight ... it's rapid-fire lyrics and timing. It's not a show that is produced all that often in schools because it's a very challenging piece for vocal talent and band. The technical aspects - light and sound - were quite difficult too. There were four times the light cues used as compared to usual."
Lutz believes audiences were impressed with the students' hard work.
"Based on comments I heard, people (understood) just how hard the students worked."
Vocal director Sheena Henderson agreed.
"They worked so hard on their own. They had no choice to spend time on it outside of practices (at school) because it was so challenging," said Henderson. "There were not a lot of people who were experienced going into it ... they proved they were capable and for a high school production it was of a professional nature."
It was CEC's 41st musical production and featured about 150 students, including performers, band, hair, makeup, set, ushers and others.