Adult students take to stage with Almost Maine

May 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s an endearing and humorous view of love set on a cold night in Almost, Maine. And it’s the first production for our adult drama students.

Almost Maine is a unique show with a lot of heart, a lot of comedy and just enough drama,” said Metropolis Performing Arts Education Director Michelle Shaver. “Plus, the flexible cast size really fit our needs and allowed us to cast a really great ensemble of adult students.”

Classes for adult students are old hat at Metropolis, but this is the first time our adult students have tackled a full production. “We’re hoping to make this a regular opportunity for our adults,” added Shaver. Currently, Metropolis’ School of the Performing Arts (SOPA) has annual fall and spring productions for students in grades K-12. “We’ll weigh a lot of factors in moving forward on our adult productions,” said Shaver, “including the response to Almost Maine from the cast, audience, instructors and other students.”

For this first outing, Shaver selected Metropolis Resident Director and SOPA instructor Robin Hughes to direct. “We got very lucky that this fit in between other projects for Robin,” said Shaver. “And I can’t think of anyone better to bring out the sentimentality and charm of this show.”

“I will always teach in everything I do,” said Hughes of working with students on this production. “I don’t like thinking of actors as ‘better’ than one another, but rather on different points of their theatrical journeys. Teaching definitely keeps me interested in directing. Discovery with an ensemble of any level is always a unique experience.”

The challenge for Hughes was in the schedule, rather than the students, as they had just 10 rehearsals to perfect the show.  “That’s difficult for even the most seasoned actor,” said Hughes, “but we have an amazing group of students who have committed themselves so fully to the process and are working countless hours outside of rehearsal as well. I am amazed at their drive and appreciate their hard work so much!”

Hughes was hard pressed to choose a favorite moment or scene in this show – “that’s like trying to choose between children” she noted. Instead, she gave us a bit of a tease of the show: “I will just say that I love witnessing a trip around the world in the name of love – a tent pitched in the winter, a mistake turned happy accident for a villain, the drop of the other shoe, two old loves finding each other again, and a snowmobile strip down. You have to come to the show to find out what I mean.”

Almost Maine is playing at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre May 3 & 4. Tickets are free.

Music and Fine Arts Fests bring new opportunities to Metropolis students

April 15, 2013 § Leave a comment

shutterstock_2055551Most Saturdays are busy days within the halls of our School of the Performing Arts (SOPA). And this coming Saturday, April 20, is no exception. In the morning, we’ll welcome music students performing for our 7th Spring Music Fest, and in the afternoon, we’ll host our first Fine Arts Fest.

At the Spring Music Fest, students perform for our adjudicators and receive valuable insight and feedback about their performance. Last year, the Spring Music Fest saw more than 40 student performers, including Metropolis violin student Lindsey Sander, who will be performing again this year.

“I like to get feedback from someone who doesn’t know me and hasn’t seen me play before. The critiques feel a bit more honest and helpful,” Lindsey said of her past experience at Spring Music Fest.

This year, she’s preparing the First Movement of Concert in G Major for the adjudicators. “There’s a lot of room for interpretation, so I have fun with that,” Lindsey noted.

Lindsey is also a regular violin student at Metropolis. “Lindsey showed a strong interest in music from a young age,” said Lindsey’s mom Vickie. “SOPA gave her an avenue to learn from experienced professionals. She’s improved her musical skills and playing techniques, and enhanced her artistic expression. It’s something that will be with her for her entire life.”

“Everyone at SOPA is so friendly and talented,” Lindsey added. “The teachers are great, and so is everyone else I’ve met. SOPA has such a nice, comfy quality to it.”

“We’re certainly proud of Lindsey, and all of our students, and the progress we see them make each day,” said Music School Director Lesley Swanson. “Spring Music Fest is just one more opportunity to show them how they continue to improve. It’s also a great performance opportunity that mirrors audition processes and prepares them for their future in the music world.”

New at this year’s Spring Music Fest is a silent auction. “We have some really great items – from Chicago Symphony Orchestra tickets to an exclusive movie screening in Metropolis’ theatre,” said Swanson. Items will be open for bidding from 9am to 1pm.

Also new this year, Metropolis is offering a sampler of fine arts workshops with the Fine Arts Fest. “We know that the arts extend beyond the performing arts we teach here at Metropolis,” said Metropolis Performing Arts Education Director Michelle Shaver. “This is a great opportunity for our students to try out some other art forms, and also for us to introduce them to some of the great visual artists in the area.”

Workshops include sewing a decorative pillow, creating collages, painting pottery and more. Workshops are 1 hour long and sessions begin at 1pm and 2pm.

For more information on the Spring Music Fest, please call the music school office at 847.577.5982 x240, and for details on the Fine Arts Fest, please call the performing arts school office at 847.577.5982 x221.

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