ELLINWOOD — At Ellinwood High School, it’s time for a "Celebration,"a remembrance of 37 years of Broadway musicals presented by students of the vocal music department, including songs from "Kiss Me Kate," "My Fair Lady," "You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and others at 7:30 p.m. today and tomorrow at EHS Auditorium. Tickets are $5.
The school began its presentation of Broadway hits in 1974, and the students will present solos, duets and ensembles from most of the 23 shows that have come to the Ellinwood stage. Video clips from past musicals will be interspersed between the numbers, as well as a segment of where the students are now. Narration will be by Julie-Ann Jacobs who will document the history of the Ellinwood productions.
"It’s nice to go back and reminisce," said retired Instructor Leon Sobba, who still works with the sets, set design and lighting. "I’ve had to convert from analog to digital," he said of making the video and photo montage.
Sobba has been involved in all of the productions. An enjoyment of theater provides motivation for Sobba, who has attended productions in Wichita and other places to compare and improve his work. He also enjoys working with the students.
"I like my kids," said Sobba. Watching the students grow and become more responsible is something he also appreciates.
In addition, Librarian Sharon Strugis was involved in the first three musicals as a student, and then she came back as a sponsor in charge of props.
Most of the sponsors have worked together for years. Mike Westerman, who does costumes, began working with productions in 1977.
"We’re long-timers," said Sobba. "It’s been neat."
Relative newcomer Lori Underwood is the music director, and will be a part of the pit orchestra, playing the piano. Jeff Underwood will play bass guitar, and Alan Baxter will play drums. Underwood has been involved since she began working with the district.
"It’s been a real collaborative effort," she said.
Minimal sets will be used, but some of the original costumes and props will be onstage.
"It will be a fun evening reminiscing for anyone who has been to an Ellinwood show," said Underwood.
Student Rachel Morales explains why she participates. She is in the choir. "A lot of my friends are in musicals and it is fun to interact with them and support them," Morales said.
Tickets may be purchased from the Ellinwood Community-School Library or from members of the Mystic Blues.