The Music Man - March 17 - March 26, 2017

Palos Verdes Peninsula High School

 End Notes 

The Music Man has long held a warm spot in my mind going back to when I was in a production of the show with the now defunct Prime Time Players company in Palos Verdes. Being one of the kids in a show full of adults left a strong imprint on my mind and many lasting memories. And I am very proud to be able to bring that show now to our students.


At the time, I am sure I had no clue what the show was really about, I just enjoyed getting to work with a couple of my theatre friends and a few of the ‘big kids’ that I really looked up to, and adults! But the message and meaning behind the show is truly an important one.


Like Complete Works in the Fall, here is a chance to relax and enjoy some family friendly entertainment. That alone, I’m told by some of my colleagues, is a reason to celebrate here on the Peninsula stage. But there is some real value here: at it’s surface, we see struggling independent businessmen fighting against corruption while preserving their way of life, and we see middle America, stuck in its ways, willing to listen to the first smooth talker to come to town promising to protect it from the dangers of the outside world, the dangers that progress – like a pool table – can bring.  Of course we realize pool isn’t the issue. I’ve met many people who enjoy playing pool. Some are not the most honorable individuals, but I am pretty sure the jerks are going to be jerks with or without a cue in their hands. Just as a good person is a good person inside or outside the billiard parlor.


Maybe I’m reaching there.


The bigger message here, though, is the importance of the arts for those who may not have a place. We see the joy that even the thought of a kids’ band brings to the town of River City. Music and performance reaches out to the ‘other’ kids in town. So many students rely on arts programs just to get them through school and in these programs they are exposed to career opportunities and authentic leadership experiences that cannot be manufactured or recreated in their core coursework. This is evident in the effect we see on some of the characters in this play, especially Tommy and Winthrop.


The arts have long been under attack in the world of education, while community programs are wonderful, they are still needed as a core part of our schools. At a time when the world is emphasizing math and science as the pathway for future careers, so much of what is being worked on in engineering labs is still influenced by what is being taught in theatrical design studios. As we speak, one of the biggest supporters of young artists, in and out of school, the National Endowment of the Arts, is under attack. For that reason, this production will be raising funds for the NEA at all of our performances. No society can thrive without the arts and we must, as a community and as a nation, continue to support the arts, not only here at Peninsula High School where our arts programs are strong and continue to flourish, but everywhere.


“Art is a nation’s precious heritage. For it is in our works of art that we reveal to ourselves and to others the inner vision which guides us as a nation. And where there is no vision, the people perish.” – President Lyndon Johnson


Thank you for continuing to support us and the arts everywhere.


~ sc

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