A Night of High School Theatre

Hello, theatre-goers, my name is Brantley Addison — "Mr. Addison" to the kids in the Ezekiel Tottendale High theatre department. I have been teaching your children about the wonderful world of theatre, which I have dedicated my entire life to.

You can tell, because I constantly spell it "theatre" and not "theater." I sometimes even pronounce it "theatah" unironically.

I have appeared in a number of different plays and musicals starting in my own high school days through a brief run in the vibrant St. Louis theatre scene where I once appeared as Underling in The Drowsy Chaperone.

I have spent the last 23 years helping your wonderful children on their journey to discover the creative spirit that lives within us all, showing them how to meet their need for approval and validation through the dramatic arts.

This year's production of "Chicago: Teen Edition" promises to be one of the best we have ever done. I know I say that every year, but this year I really mean it.

I know I say that every year, too.

Please remember that there is to be NO flash photography or video recording of the performance. Also, please refrain from talking or whispering during the performance, and there is to be no eating or drinking in the auditorium.

The cast of tonight's performance includes:

Roxie Hart is played by Madison Altona. She is a senior who plans to attend Indiana University, where she will major in theatre. 

Velma Kelly is played by Madisyn Brennan. She is a senior who plans to attend Ball State University, where she will major in theatre.

Billy Flynn is played by Peregrine Mallory. He is a senior who plans to attend Mid-America College of Funeral Service, where he will major in theatre.

Amos Hart is played by Rafferty Bartleby. He is a senior who plans to attend New York University's School of the Performing Arts, where he will major in accounting.

"Mama" Horton is played by Maddisun Newman. She is a junior, so we don't know or care where she will be attending college.

Mary Sunshine is played by Balthazar Duncan. He is a senior who will apprentice at the Carpenter and Millwright Training Center, where he will major in theatre set design.

The Chorus is filled with all the freshmen and sophomores who desperately wanted to be in this play but didn't realize we select our leads based on seniority, not on merit.

The rest of the roles are a bunch of kids whose names we couldn't be bothered to learn, so we just called them "You there! No, not you, that one!" for the last three months.

The part of the woman who screams "GO, HAYLEIGH!" all three times her child appears on stage will be played by the woman sitting directly behind you.

The two people who constantly whisper and crunch on a family-size bag of Doritos will be played by the people directly to your right.

The 18 people who ignored my message about flash photography will be played by parents who didn't know you could turn the flash off on your phone.

The 12 parents who hold their phones so they block your view in order to video their children in the back of the chorus will be played by people who will never watch that video again.

And finally, the men who keep loudly asking, "Where is she? I don't see her. Is that her?" will be played by Madison Altona's grandfather James, Madisyn Brennan's grandfather Jim, and Maddisun Newman's great-uncle, James.

Let's give a big Ezekiel Tottendale High School thank you to our sponsors. We encourage you to please support them, even though you and I both know you won't.

Thank you to Celeste Worcester-Newman at Stately Homes Realty. If you want to sell your home and move to another one in the Ezekiel Tottendale school district, Celeste Worcester-Newman has you covered. As she tells all her clients, "There has never been a better time to buy or sell your home. I know I say that every year, but this year I really mean it."

Celeste will also be reprising her role as the woman who loudly shushes Maddisun's grandfather, which she also performed in last year's production of Rent.

Another big thank you to our sponsor, Sweeney's Appliances. Peregrine Mallory's father, Tyson, is the general sales manager at Sweeney's Appliances, and he's offering a 10% discount for anyone who mentions they saw this notice in the program. As Tyson tells all his customers, "There has never been a better time to buy a washer and dryer."

Thank you for supporting the Ezekiel Tottendale theatre department. Your children have worked hard, molding their raw talent to become some of the best actors in Maconaquah County.

As we often said during rehearsal, "Every day, in every way, we're getting bettre and bettre."

Photo credit: Andy Bowman (Flickr, Creative Commons 2.0)

My new humor novel, Mackinac Island Nation, is finished and available from 4 Horsemen Publications. You can get the ebook and print versions here.