You CAN teach an “old dog, new tricks” – March 26, 2015

It is the day after a three-day stretch of split-session PARCC testing.  I haven’t written in a while and much has happened in the interim.  Here are my thoughts.

CABARET 2015.  Because of PARCC testing, our preliminary schedule for administering the tests included sixteen delayed opening days in March and May.  This coincided with the time I have traditionally rehearsed our Broadway CABARET in our Concert Choir class.  We do nothing after school.  Everything is rehearsed in 42 minutes.  We come together for a Tech/Dress Rehearsal the night before from 5-9p.  When we run a delayed opening in our school, we run every period for 22 minutes.  I can’t choreograph six production numbers in 22 minute time blocks.  Knowing this on the first day of school, I announced that we probably would not have a CABARET this year.

As this would be year thirteen, that did not sit well with my Section Leaders and Officers.

Much discussion ensued and the suggestion was made to put it up early.  I sat down to sketch out the time it took to put up the show from March to May and determined that starting in December, with very strict deadlines, we could do it, in the exact same amount of time!  So, CABARET 2015 was performed for the public on Tuesday March 10th…two weeks after the musical and the week before the first set of PARCC testing dates.  I have attached the program to give you an idea of the numbers which were chosen from the Open Call auditions and the All-Cast numbers.  2015 Program-Act1-2

And, the outcome?  We were 185 seats away from a sell-out (we have a 1000 seat PAC) and we attribute the increase in ticket sales to the time of year.  (Previous CABARET’s were always the Thursday before Memorial Day in May, as we always have that Friday off as an in-service day).  The show was beautifully executed and enthusiastically received and my Concert Choir has bonded in a way I could not ever have predicted.  They have become closer as a class and as a performing ensemble.  An uptick from PARCC testing!

Knowing this and living through this new schedule, we will keep CABARET in March.  The project fills up those first two dreaded months of January and February and even though we were affected by snow delays and closures, everyone had practice tracks, music and YouTube videos of our choreography with which to practice.  It worked and it worked well.

CABARET is a terrific recruiting tool for my program.

Please email if you would like add’l information on what we do and how we do it.

Thanks for reading!

Barbara