Students show meaning of community in musical

Published 4:52 pm Monday, April 20, 2015

PHS Spring Production "A Night on Broadway" performers celebrate a successful opening night. (Contributed)

PHS Spring Production “A Night on Broadway” performers celebrate a successful opening night. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

Spotting Zach Allison in the audience of Pelham High School’s musical revue, “A Night on Broadway,” piqued my curiosity.

I was sure that Allison was in the production, but there he sat—looking incredibly uncomfortable.

I wondered if having athletes in the cast had been trying for PHS Theatre Teacher Jamie Stephenson. More used to dealing with a coach than a theatre teacher, I wondered if Zach Allison was benched.

Riley Taylor’s beautiful voice brought me back from wondering whether the usually cooperative Allison had been overtaken with spring fever and senioritis—and then he began to sing!

Allison joined Taylor on stage in a true musical theatre duet. Taylor is serious about her songs.

Allison seemed serious about his fun—and his performance. While Taylor may have made Allison a better singer, Allison’s playfulness may have taken the edge off of Taylor’s nerves.

In Stephenson’s opening remarks, she reminded the audience that just 36 days earlier, several of the cast members had never sung or danced in public.

In this revue, all of the cast members performed with boundless energy expanding their high school experience and their community of acquaintances.

“In the thirteen years that I’ve been a teacher at PHS, I’ve learned what community really is,” said Stephenson in her director’s notes.

Sharing the contributions of the school community that supports the theatrical endeavors of the PHS students, Stephenson went on to recognize this community of students working together seamlessly.

“These students are an excellent example of what happens when a group of different people come together to overcome obstacles and to succeed at an endeavor. These students are a wonderful community of performers,” said Stephenson.

After Meredith Revel and Connor Atkisson performed “Speed Test,” from “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” his mother Missy Atkisson said, “I never knew that my boy could sing.”

Stephenson hoped to stage a community-wide production of “The Wiz,” this spring; however, funding issues and challenges of proximity sent her in another direction.

“Perhaps a higher power made sure we couldn’t stage “The Wiz.” Performing this revue has strengthened our community,” Stephenson said.