For the sixth year in a row, Harlem High School drama students will direct faculty members in a Christmas musical.
Faculty, directed by seniors Megan Lyles and Steven Kuss, will perform Sanders Family Christmas, a bluegrass holiday musical, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
"Then we can act like the kids," said Harlem High drama teacher Roy Lewis. "We can really be obnoxious. We can drive them crazy. But it's a lot of fun."
The musical follows one bluegrass gospel family through Christmas Eve 1941 as they witness to the congregation of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church. It includes more than a dozen Christmas carols - many old hymns - and hilarious yuletide stories.
"If you leave here not having a good time, it is not because of anything we did, or did not do," Lewis said. "The music will get your toes tapping. The monologues and the storylines behind them are just hysterical."
Joyce Cheek (left), Phillip Streetman and Pam McCorkle practice excerpts from Sanders Family Christmas, a musical directed by Harlem High School students. The performing faculty members will put on the complete show this week.
Photo by Vicky Eckenrode
The play depicts the feelings of the Sanders family in the early days of America's entry into World War II. Those feelings are similar to what many Americans face as soldiers now fight in Iraq, Lewis said.
"My monologue as Burl Sanders alludes to the fact that my youngest boy, Dennis, is being shipped off to basic training, and we talk about going into World War II," Lewis said. "Just by fate where America is right now, as I was reading my monologue, it really made me evaluate what is going in the world today and what was going on in the world then."
Tickets cost $10 and are available at the school. Reservations, which can be held for 48 hours in advance, can be made by calling 556-5980 or e-mailing Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All proceeds from the musical go toward the annual drama scholarship and the drama troupe's trip to the 2004 Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland, next August.
Each year, the drama department gives a scholarship or two to seniors who want to study theater in college, Lewis said.
Also, the troupe traveling to Scotland must raise more than $120,000 for the trip, equaling $4,148 per student. The group has raised $45,000 already.
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