West Theatre’s Musical Showcase Tonight


By Chloe Heard

The cast of James and the Giant Peach prepares for opening night.

Chloe Heard, Staff Writer

The Musical Theatre and Children’s Theatre classes will be having a showcase on December 3 in the Central East Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. The night starts as a cabaret from the Musical Theatre class where students will perform, in costume, songs from various Broadway musicals ranging from classics like Show Boat and Grease to modern musicals like The Little Mermaid. Interspersed between Musical Theatre’s performances will be the Children’s Theatre class previewing numbers from the musical they’ll be touring with next semester, James and the Giant Peach. The event is free to attend but there is a suggested donation of $1 for students and $2 for adults to help fund the spring musical Matilda.

Musical Theatre has been preparing since the beginning of the semester to perform songs like Lida Rose from The Music Man and What Is This Feeling from Wicked. They’ve been working with accompanist and vocal coach Laurie Bridges on the singing aspects while creating corresponding choreography. This gives students the opportunity to learn how to truly feel comfortable performing in front of an audience, a skill which can be applied to many life or social situations as West senior Jonathan Padilla says.

The Children’s Theatre’s James and the Giant Peach preview, is a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s children’s novel from 1961 which debuted as a musical in 2010. Musical Theatre International describes the show as the tale of “a boy, his insect friends, and their amazing journey across the ocean on a giant piece of fruit.” These characters are brought to life by Central’s Children’s Theatre students, a group which will be touring the full show to elementary schools across the Central Unified School District next spring. The goal is not only to entertain and educate but inspire children to get involved in theatre as they get older.

Students in both classes have been working toward this performance for the entire semester and Padilla describes this show as their “big test.” Unlike the bigger theatre productions that get 3-6 hour rehearsals after school, students were only given the time they had in class to prepare. Theatre teacher Matthew Bridges believes that the performance will “showcase how these electives are unlike any other. Our students learn more from doing than they ever could from any textbook; theatre is the ultimate form of literacy- we literally bring the words to life.”