I hope this makes it into all three papers.
That’s the primary thought which circled my mind last Saturday morning, Oct. 14 as I prepared to brag a bit on some talent, as well as opportunity which is centered in Oakdale.
As many in our communities spend their Friday nights settling in to football stadiums – Oakdale is the town known for “Friday Night Lights” after all – last Friday I spent my evening tucked away in the Oakdale High School Theater taking in their latest production.
It was a less than ideal night for an “opening night” of a production, as the Mustangs were taking on “CC” my daughter told me, which I personally know as Central Catholic. Now granted while it may not have been the “theater kids” drawing the shortage of parking, unlike what was happening in the Corral that night, the theater kids of OHS had a major win.
The fall production of the “Addams Family,” was anything but droll and boring.
Under the direction of second year drama teacher, Lezlie Acker and her production support team, this show was amazing.
I’ve been a fan of OHS theater productions my entire tenure with the paper. So much so, my own two children were bitten by the theater bug as a result.
However, I am also a parent who keeps it real, so to speak and if being honest, not all musicals are homeruns. The efforts always commendable, but as a department that hosts open auditions it’s fair to say top vocalists are not always the students who show up and that does matter.
While I’m not 100 percent sure if it was top vocalists or the guidance of former Broadway performer Colleen Hawks-Pierce who offered her help on this production, but the vocals were chill worthy amazing.
As most know if you have a musical production there’s going to be choreography and thanks to the years of experience and talent of Emily Johnson the choreography on this production is equally top notch. So much so that while in the audience Friday night, Hawks-Pierce herself turned to me and shared her amazement with the brilliance of Johnson’s choreography.
Typing this, I realize I’m gushing a bit and while I should be ashamed a bit, I’m not.
Reason being … simple.
We’re living in a day and time where we all need to get out a bit more. Sitting at a football game on a Friday night, a soccer game Saturday morning or the like is a great way to not just spend family time but support our youth. This is no different, it’s just a different type of entertainment.
Watching these students last Friday, Oct. 13 with a girlfriend who was a first timer, I couldn’t help but beam as she continued to share praise and amazement for what these students could do.
We are fortunate to live in an area with opportunity for theater productions not far off. A quick trip to Modesto, the foothills or Stockton are not bad options, but this, this is different.
These are kids who have put an immense amount of time, dedication and hard work into sharing their passion for the arts. No different than a football player on a Friday night, they are poised on stage doing what they love and hoping for a “win” by way of audience response. They got that last Friday night.
So, for those with a bit of free time and an ounce of curiosity, I strongly recommend finding the Oakdale High Drama Club page on social media or making a call to their business office to see about securing tickets for the final three shows. I promise you; you will not be disappointed and will leave with a newfound respect for a special group of kids.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 209-847-3021.