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Is High School Theater Important? Local Student Critics Explain Why

Is theater important for students today? Was it important for you? Should it be stressed in high school? More than 120 students around the region learned about how to do theater criticism for the 29 shows they'll review this school year.

Everyone's a critic? Well, for 120 students from high schools throughout St. Louis and St. Charles counties, they're not officially critics until they've gotten their training from The Cappies, the national student theater critics program.

Students from 15 area high schools converged on on Saturday for a morning of training in how to write reviews, the rules of The Cappies program and tips on theater etiquette.

Patch tagged along to find out why some of the aspiring scribes think theater is important in their lives, their schools and the world. Check the photo captions to see what students from around the region answered. Do you agree? Offer your replies in the comments below. Was theater important to you in school? Is it now? Why? Is it important for students to learn?

This school year is the eighth for The Cappies program in the St. Louis area. Students from high school theater and journalism programs will review 29 high school theater productions during the 2011-12 school year. The theater season ends May 19 with a Tony Awards-style gala, in which students are awarded acting, music and technical awards.

Participating schools are: Bishop DuBourg, Clayton, Francis Howell, Francis Howell North, Holt, Maplewood Richmond Heights, Marquette, Mary Institute St. Louis Country Day School, McCluer, Nerinx Hall, Northwest, Notre Dame, Parkway Central, Pattonville and Rockwood Summit.

Dates and times for show The Cappies will review (note all times are p.m.; show dates do not indicate the full run of the performances):

Date Time School Show Oct. 15 7:00 Arsenic and Old Lace Oct. 22 7:30 Bishop DuBourg High School The Haunting of Hill House Oct. 28 7:00 Chateau La Roach Nov. 4 7:00 A Raisin in the Sun Nov. 4 7:00 12 Angry Jurors Nov. 6 2:00 Taming of the Shrew Nov. 10 7:00 Twelve Angry Jurors Nov. 10 7:30 Don't Drink The Water Nov. 11 7:00 Francis Howell High School Distracted Nov. 11 7:30 Notre Dame High School The Crucible Nov. 18 7:00 FOOTLOOSE Nov. 18 7:00 GREASE Nov. 19 7:30   PHANTOM OF THE OPERA Nov. 26 8:00 Picasso at Lapin Agile Jan. 19 7:00 Footloose Feb. 10 7:00 Francis Howell High School Return to the Forbidden Planet Feb. 17 7:30 PRIDE and PREJUDICE Feb. 18 7:00 The Music Man March 2 7:00 Steel Magnolias March 3 7:00 Dreamgirls March 8 7:30 The Diary of Anne Frank March 9 7:00 You Can't Take It With You March 9 7:00 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying March 10 8:00 The Drowsy Chaperone March 30 7:30 Notre Dame High School Thoroughly Modern Millie April 14 7:00 The Diviners April 19 7:00 Death of a Salesman Fri, Apr 20 7:30 Bishop DuBourg High School Godspell Thu, Jan 1 12:00 TBA
Cassie Boyer October 04, 2011 at 04:55 PM
First I would like to say WOW! An article about High School THEATRE!!! I'm VERY impressed Patch!! Also...WOW to the AMAZING schedule these schools have planned for their shows this year! They are all fabulous and I wish I had time to see every single one! From a fellow Thespian I am very excited to see this next step progress in HS Theater! I think The Cappies are a FANTASTIC idea! It gives students a "reason" to travel to other theaters to experience their shows and it gives the students performing a "reason" to excel in their performance! Theatre is a very important part of High School and should get the credit it deserves! What would this world be without the Theatre?! That's where MANY famous people got their start, whether it be acting on stage or developing their love for electronics as a Techie! Theatre plays a HUGE role in helping children figure out who they are going to be for the rest of their lives and that DEFINITELY should not be overlooked! After all....we can't ALL be jocks! ;)
Holly Edgell October 04, 2011 at 11:01 PM
Here's to the arts!
Debby October 05, 2011 at 02:39 PM
It saddens me, the mother of a Ladue 5th grader whose passion is performing arts and musical theater, that Ladue High School is not on this list. Theater kids are sometimes a breed all their own, and a high school experience without it would certainly mean incredibly different outcomes for these young, peer-driven artists. Thank you Patch for this list of shows, and for covering this subject. Unlike the 2 goals in 23 seconds type piece that is part of every publication, theater doesn't have a regular place in the news. There are some great performances awaiting us at our area schools... in their theaters.
Keaton Treece October 06, 2011 at 09:38 PM
Thank YOU Patch for bringing the creativity and efforts of our theatre students to their family, friends, and all of the theatre patrons who read your publication. Did you know there have been studies that have proven: students who engage in the Fine Arts do better in class and show improved ACT scores? Not only is there a strong academic factor in theatre, but it is also one of our country's greatest exports! The industry doesn't just include actors, think of the writer's, producers/directors, builders, light/sound technicians, musicians, publicists, graphic artists, financial and legal people, along with many other careers related to theatre students can pursue. In response to Debby (above), any school who would like to join can still become a member providing they 'act' right away. Cappies can be found at www.cappies.com - scroll to STL and send us an email. Thanks for supporting the St. Louis Cappies...Go See A Show! (note the phenomenal schedule of shows w/dates, etc. above)

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