Some things in high school are quickly forgotten- like those algebra functions or which mystery chemical reacts with carbon. Some people fade from life until they’re only a face or a name years later. The groups you were in all meld together, and passed and failed assignments become blurred. Things that were such a big deal before graduation escape the mind after.
However, there are some memories that truly will last a lifetime, and people who you will always remember. The Bedford High School musical certainly creates these kinds of memories and connections. Perhaps it’s the vast amount of time spent with the cast, crew, pit, and directors. It could be the performance itself, with costumes, drops, props, and an audience. Or maybe it’s the end to the the entire production that really creates that connection. Whatever the link happens to be, it is shared throughout the entire group of production members, and will certainly provide stories to tell children and grandchildren.
It is with particular emotion this year that we close the production of Guys and Dolls. First, with a majority of the cast being seniors, there are large amounts of nostalgia and tears, particularly for the few of us who have been a part of TheArts since freshman year. Second, the rumor is that it is officially the last year that Sandi Bambic will be running the musical, which may well mean the end of musicals at Bedford period. It is not only the end for a generation of students, but also the end of an era for an educator and an institution.
Nevertheless, Bambic and her students are taking it out with a bang. This musical has had audiences rolling in the aisles, and even the cast was rolling back stage. The voices that soared through the auditorium have left listeners stunned, and the choreography has raised much applause by itself. Aided as always by the professional backdrops, costumes, and choreographers, the production has certainly not suffered in quality from the morose fate waiting once the stage empties after the final performance. Even after a single performance, the praises began rolling in. Closing night will no doubt top all the previous performances.
Throughout the years, real magic has been created on the stage of Bedford High. Not the kind with wands and fairy godmothers (though they have been a part of it a couple of times), but the kind that truly touches the soul. Through hard work, late nights, and trying obstacles, the students under the direction of this amazing lady have transported dozens of audiences to other worlds and different time periods. The streets of New York, a royal palace, a fantastical land called Oz– each of these has spent some time in little old Bedford, Ohio, along with many others. Many unique characters have walked across the stage, from lions and tinmen to princesses and princes to cabaret dancers, rockstars, traveling salesmen, orphans, and a family searching for happiness. There is neither a physical wand nor actual fairy dust that brings everything together and entertains an audience. But the magic of the theater lies inside each cast member, audience member, writer, composer, choreographer, conductor, and director. It is something that many people outgrow, do not care to keep in touch with, and allow to pass by the wayside. It is what has developed societies, created technologies, and fueled lives and passions since the beginning of civilization. And while it may be a simple concept, it is probably the most powerful magic out there: imagination.
For the last time, the imaginations of the audience will be swept away for two hours of uninterrupted bliss as they enter the world of entrepreneur Nathan Detroit, his cabaret dancer fiance Adelaide, the suave and savvy gambler Sky Masterson, and Sergeant Sarah Brown, the Mission doll who’s trying to save all their souls. The music will have them tapping their toes for weeks, the dances will have them gasping in awe, and the jokes will make their sides sore from laughing.
Even after the final bows, when the curtain closes the portal that each person in the auditorium was drawn into, when the conductor has put down his baton, the costumes and makeup are all taken off, and everyone has returned to their normal life, there will still be bits of magic. A strain of a song will suddenly pop into mind, or a phrase will creep into conversation. One might be overtaken with the urge to pull out a dance move. The memories of that flight of imagination will keep the magic alive, as it has with every show. And each person will remember how special the experience was, how much fun they had, what they accomplished. These memories will not be forgotten. They are memories to last a lifetime. Just experience the magic, and see for yourself…