10 Rules for Students and Teachers

Avant-garde composer John Cage started out as a disciple of Arnold Schoenberg. He greatly looked up to the exiled Austrian as a model of how a true artist ought to live. Cage, in turn, inspired generations of artists and composers both through his work – which incorporated elements of chance into his music – and through his teaching.

One of those whom he inspired was Sister Corita Kent. An unlikely fixture in the Los Angeles art scene, the nun was an instructor at Immaculate Heart College and a celebrated artist who considered Saul Bass,Buckminster Fuller and Cage to be personal friends.

In 1968, she crafted the lovely, touching Ten Rules for Students and Teachers for a class project. While Cage was quoted directly in Rule 10, he didn’t come up with the list, as many website sites claim. By all accounts, though, he was delighted with it and did everything he could to popularize the list. Cage’s lover and life partner Merce Cunningham reportedly kept a copy of it posted in his studio until his dying days. You can check the list out below:

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Lessons Learned in Theatre that Serve any Student well almost Anywhere

1. Always show up, on time – the curtain will open without you.

2. Pay attention, stay present to instructions and correction.  Self-discipline is the key to growth and success in theatre.

3. Learn to take correction without being resentful.

4. Work to discover several creative solutions to your theatre-making and reflective essay writing assignments – that’s called divergent thinking, and critical thinking skills – you need them in many settings.

5. Work at your ability to self-assess your own performance, and self-correct; this amounts to taking responsibility for your own improvement and outcomes.

6. Learn teamwork skills and communication skills so that you can work with other actors, designers and directors – these skills will translate well into all other life situations where two heads are better than one.  It’s also called collaboration.

7. Learn to genuinely value what you learn from working with those who are different from you – different in size, shape, color, gender, sexual preference, skill level, socioeconomic background, political/religious tradition, etc. etc. etc. (to quote Yul Brynner).

Join us for the 4th Annual PATs Gala!

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Having Free Time Because of Having No Shows

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“The Mikado” wins big for Tommy Awards

Named for local Broadway star Tom Wopat, the Tommy Awards encourage, recognize, and honor excellence in high school musical theater. Educators, industry professionals, and theater experts review productions at more than 60 high schools, provide valuable feedback and advice, and honor schools and individuals’ achievements with category-based awards. Schools and individuals receive awards at a ceremony held at Overture Center in June, and two outstanding performers advance to The National High School Musical Theater Awards competition n New York City.

Homestead High School was eligible to enter this amazing program for the first time this year.  We just heard the news that out 2015 musical The Mikado won 8 Tommy Awards!  

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PERFORMANCE: ENSEMBLE
IMG_1772“The ensemble for this production was essential to the show’s success. Both male and female groups worked extremely well to create an identity within each sub group, but also performed very well as a complete ensemble in large group numbers. “If you want to know who you are” was a memorable introduction to the male ensemble, as musicality and energy were both strengths of the group. The ladies countered on an equally impressive level with “Comes a train of little ladies.” When both ensembles performed together there was an overwhelming sense of focus and commitment to the scene. As a whole, the ensemble can continue to bring a lighthearted, boisterous energy to each scene.”

PERFORMANCE: SINGING & ACTING

Maggie, who won for Lead Performer.

Maggie, who won for Lead Performer.

“Maggie Collins (Yum Yum) – Maggie had a really nice performance. This interpretation of the show lent itself nicely to this character. Her scenes with Nanki-Poo were solid with really great chemistry between the actors, but the trio work with her and the other women was outstanding.”

Sam Faber won for Supporting Performer

Sam Faber won for Supporting Performer

“Sam Faber (Pooh-Bah) – Sam had to juggle a lot of hats (literally) in the character and he did it quite well. His stage presence as Pooh-Bah was pretty interesting as his true motives seemed hidden and exclusive from each of the many titles he held. It’s always a joy to see an actor having a blast on stage.”

Grace Bobber wins for Supporting Performer

Grace Bobber wins for Supporting Performer

“Grace Bobber’s Katisha was simply amazing. Her “ugliness” was so incredibly beautiful to me. I couldn’t wait for her to come back onto the stage to see what choices she was going to make next. Her singing and acting ability made me want to watch her constantly. The character she created was full-on crazy with just the right amount of humanity and decency to make me want to get to know her entire back story.  Her singing voice is unbelievable for a high school student. The difficult material seemed easy in her hands and the acting through song was truthful to the character she created. Her expressions, pitch, lyrics were really wonderful to hear and watch. All the basic skills needed for a professional actor/singer are there and then some. An absolutely perfect choice to complete a high school career!”

William Toney won for Supporting Performer

William Toney won for Supporting Performer

“William Toney (Ko-Ko) – I don’t know how to properly say how much I adored this performance. I love the character that William created. It was larger than life. He was absolutely hilarious and “As some day it may happen” was just amazing. The bit with cuing the orchestra was awesome.”

ORCHESTRA & MUSICAL DIRECTION

Ms. Rebecca Renee Winnie conducting the Orchestra and performers during "The Mikado"

Ms. Rebecca Renee Winnie conducting the Orchestra and performers during “The Mikado”

“Ms. Rebecca Winnie’s musical direction and orchestra were perfect in sound, balance and beauty. They never overwhelmed the onstage talent, but possessed an amazing talent of their own that showed professionalism at every turn. Involved sometimes vocally, their timing was perfect, but musically — Wow! What else can be said? The accuracy and interpretation under Ms. Winnie’s direction was simply beautiful. Ms. Winnie’s direction of the onstage talent was also brilliant in its balance. Harmonies were beautiful. The full chorus sound was fresh and energetic and clear. The solos and small group numbers were on-pitch and interpreted in full character. Because of the difficult pacing and musical style, the cast was very dependent on Ms. Winnie’s timing and relied on her direction.”

The HHS Pit Orchestra won for Best Orchestra!

The HHS Pit Orchestra won for Best Orchestra!

Spirit Award

Lonnae Hickman, our production script secretary.

Lonnae Hickman, our production script secretary.

This award is given to a student from each of the participating Tommy Awards schools. The recipient is selected by the cast and crew of your production. The Spirit Award goes to a student who is a team player, is professional and prepared and who inspires others.  For the production of “The Mikado,” the cast and crew voted on a spunky sophomore, Lonnae Hickman.

Why I do it.

Jenna Buraczewski, the Assistant Costume Designer for "Arabian Nights"

Jenna Buraczewski, the Assistant Costume Designer for “Arabian Nights”

Costume crew is not just a bunch of girls sitting around sewing and gossiping. It’s a group of dedicated people who choose to spend hours on end frantically fixing buttons so an actor can make their cue, running around to facilitate quick changes, and, well… sitting around sewing and gossiping.

Hi. I’m Jenna, if we haven’t already met. I’m the assistant costume designer (working under the ever amazing Emily Eckhart) and it’s my job to make sure actors have the right clothes when they need them, where they need them, and in good condition. I am constantly running around to make sure that one little button got sewn on and that the quick change for the next scene is set up. Most likely, I run up and down the costume room stairs dozens of times a day. It’s exhausting. I constantly have a list of what needs to be done, and every time I cross something off it, a new task magically appears.

Here’s how a normal show goes for me:

Costume Crew for "The Mikado"

Costume Crew for “The Mikado”

About two weeks after the last show, everything gets into gear. The first rehearsal is often the worst. We may not know who is playing who and therefore, we can’t plan much, so we just watch the hilarity that is actor warm ups. The next couple of weeks see an outline appear, and we sit and desperately pray Figg will change her mind about a few of the giant and difficult costumes she wants (something that rarely happens) and begin to pull a few costumes that we want to try on people. We soon decide who is going to need a full handmade costume. Next, we start to get most people costumed and start the custom designs. As we get more people costumed we make the mistake of feeling like we’re on schedule. Tech Week suddenly appears.

Tech is all night, full costume rehearsals starting on Friday and leading to the show the next Friday. This show had shorter rehearsals, but its still hours after school when we forget what sunlight is. This is crunch time. My ‘To-Do’ list suddenly becomes a four-page document. Clasps break, pants rip and collars get stained with stage makeup. Homework becomes a relic of the past. All I want is to go home and sleep. And then, we have to get up and do it again the next day. For a week. Then the big day comes; for me that means double-checking my list and fixing even more clasps that decided to break 10 minutes before the show.

Costume crew in the home... the girls dressing room

Costume crew in the home… the girls dressing room

During the show the running never stops with me making sure that quick changes run smoothly (or as smoothly as they can) and constantly dreading the moment an actor runs up to me frantically saying that their costume fell apart and they need to be on stage in 2 minutes. We do this for three (or four) days. Sunday, the last show always is a bit easier because we have the quick changes down pat.

Then we get to go home! Or not. It’s Strike time, so we get to spend the next several hours along with everyone involved in the show cleaning up any sign that there was even a show happening.

And if its the fall or winter show, we get to come back in a few weeks and do it all over again.

The Costume ladies at the  3rd Annual PATs Award Banquet!

The Costume ladies at the 3rd Annual PATs Award Banquet!

Just typing that was exhausting. Why do I do it? Why do any of the costume girls do it? The easy answer is that we’re just all insane. The other answer is that we love it (or are insane enough to love it… whatever works.) Sure, we sometimes feel quite unrecognised, very unappreciated and overworked, but we also feel like a community. Joining costumes makes you a member of a group of girls who are as insane as you, who would kill for you, and understand exactly why you’re in a awful mood (no sleep+constant stress = bad mood.) As a costume girl, you also become part of the Drama Club. A group of definitely insane people who will always keep an eye on you and make sure you’re ok.

We do it for each other. Yeah, seeing the final product and the audience is awesome, but looking at the people around you and saying “We did it. We put together a whole show!” is more amazing. Seeing all the pieces that had to go together and all the people that put those pieces there is really magical.

Here’s why I do it:

Alex, William, Sarah Mai, Mark, Tall Dan, Lococo, Alessandra, Lonnae, Johnny, Kia, Hannah, Jessie, Lilly, Emily B, Andrea, Miranda, Daniela, George, Sam G and all you lovely actors.

Nathan H, Mikah, Sarah H along with other awesome Seminar kids.

Clare, Nathan G, Nico, Tessa and the stage crew bosses.

Sarah V, Emma, Katherine and the makeup queens.

Becca, Cally, Zaharah, Sara I, Ali, Alo and all my costume lovelies.

Emily Eckhardt, mentor, boss and friend.

And of course, the person who makes this all possible: Figg.


That’s why I do it.

Written by: Jenna Buraczewski (2017)

Arabian Nights: Colorful Storytelling

Arabian Nights, adapted by Dominic Cooke, playing at the James Barr Auditorium in Mequon WI.  5000 W. Mequon Rd, 53092

May 1 and 2 @ 7:30pm
May 3 @ 2pm

Students $7
Adults $8

Or Donate a children’s book and get $1 off your ticket!!!

Shahrazad tells King Shahrayar her last story

Shahrazad tells King Shahrayar her last story

The play opens in ancient Persia, where King Shahrayar (William Toney) and his wife (Alessandra Gouverneur) live in happiness and rule over the kingdom with wisdom and kindness. This all changes when the king discovers his wife is having an affair with another man and puts her to death. He quickly falls into a great despair and declares that he will never give another woman a chance to cheat on him, taking wives for one night and then putting her to death the day after. This horrid reign of death plagues the land and threatens to cause an uprising among the people in the name of their murdered daughters. It is then that the royal advisor’s daughter Shahrazad (Alex Gieske) puts a plan into action to heal the king of his bitter life and save the kingdom from civil war.

Actor Jonathan Bartlett learned aerial tricks on the dance trapeze to play the Talking Bird

Actor Jonathan Bartlett learned aerial tricks on the dance trapeze to play the Talking Bird

She asks her father to marry her to the king and then, with the help of her younger sister Dinarzad (Sarah Mai), begins to tell the king a series of intriguing stories, holding his attention so tightly that he keeps her alive night after night in order to hear the next story. As her stories go on, they begin to show a trend of honor, mercy, and love, which she attempts to impart on Shahryār.

The production of Arabian Nights is preformed in a very Cirque Du Soleil fashion, with actors in highly colorful costumes representing landmarks, mythical beings, and animals instead of set pieces and props. Everything in the play is very vivid in its color and movement, keeping the attention of younger children while celebrating the color pallet of ancient Persian art.

Hannah Engel plays Marjanah, a slave girl who performed the "Dance of the Deadly Dagger."

Hannah Engel plays Marjanah, a slave girl who performed the “Dance of the Deadly Dagger.”

A cast of 18 actors play multiple roles in order to fill out the many different characters that the tales contain. The dialogue of the play is read as it is within a fairytale, with actors explaining what they are doing as they do it in order to maintain the direct narrative feel of the production. The actors also perform acrobatics, dancing, and other physical spectacles in order to add to the celebratory nature of the show.

It is fun, family friendly, and full of fantastic visuals to make it one of the more likable productions that has been seen at Homestead High School in recent memory.

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