Scalawag Productions, San Pedro’s community youth musical theater company has paired up for the second year with Grand Vision Foundation to bring youth musical theater to downtown San Pedro. This summer, 30 students, ages 13-17, from San Pedro, Wilmington & the Harbor Area are energetically rehearsing for six weeks, at the Grand Annex to bring Rodgers & Hammerstein’s classic production, OKLAHOMA! to life!
Under the direction of Marcia Barryte of Dodson Middle School’s Drama Department and her professional team, Julie Corallo, voice; and Cindy Magyar, choreography; with Paul & Marce Fabre, co-technical directors and the dynamic set design team, Mark Wells and Phil Buono, and the marketing and production efforts from Grand Vision, the Scalawag Company is ready to bring this historically significant musical to the Warner Grand stage.
The Pultizer Prize-winning Oklahoma! produced in 1943, is the first musical written by composer Richard Rodgers and librettist Oscar Hammerstein II. OKLAHOMA! is based on Lynn Riggs’ play, Green Grow the Lilacs. Set in Oklahoma Territory in 1906, it tells the story of cowboy Curly McLain and his romance with farm girl Laurey Williams. A secondary romance ensues with cowboy Will Parker and flirtatious Ado Annie.
The Scalawag cast has jumped right into the story, taking on the personas of pioneering Oklahomans who have a knack for breaking out in song and dance. Here’s what they are saying:
For Isaiah Barrett (Narbonne High, 12th ) who is playing cowboy Will Parker, Scalawag has been a great way to meet new friends who like musical theater as much as he does and it’s also been a fantastic place to discover and practice tap-dancing. Jorge Vasquez (Ramon C. Cortines High School for the Performing Arts, Los Angeles, 10th ) found out about Scalawag through Dodson Middle School. This is his first community stage production and he’s thrilled. “Scalawag has kept me active and the whole cast has become fast friends,” he said.
For Nadia Nizetich (San Pedro High, 12th) who is playing the wise Aunt Eller, Scalawag is all about learning to research and develop her character. She joined Scalawag on a whim with friends. “It’s amazing how much I’ve learned in such short a time. I’m really glad that Scalawag is here.” Zach Salas (San Pedro High, 12th) plays Curly. “Curly,” he says, “is a lot more confident than I am – so it’s challenging to push myself to be him. But working with Marcia and the Scalawag cast has been really supportive.”
For all, practice is truly paying off. With new skills and new friends, the 30 cast members are pulling on their cowboy boots or their petticoats and they’ll be ready to bring this American classic to the Warner Grand on August 10 & 11, 2012.
Gale Kadota, one of the co-producers of Scalawag feels strongly about offering active and creative summer options. Musical theater is a creative process and it also teaches responsibility and team work and builds self-esteem. And, there’s a lot of information now about how students in top-quality music programs do better in school and are more likely to graduate. Scalawag can be part of students’ whole education.
“Having youth musical theater on the Warner Grand Stage is very rewarding fit,” said Liz Johnson, Grand Vision Foundation’s Executive Director. “This is Scalawag’s second year – and we are so pleased to bring a larger cast together than last year. We believe that musical theater is a means to world knowledge, something that is very important for our local youth as they continue their educations and move into careers beyond our community. We also know that the more families who get involved also get to know the Warner Grand and discover San Pedro’s growing arts district.
SCALAWAG PRODUCTIONS, Scalawag Productions brings affordable youth musical theatre back to downtown San Pedro. With a mission to introduce youth to the stage through musical theater to provide an appreciation for the art form, teach life skills and enrich the community, Scalawag is open to youth from families throughout the L.A. Harbor and Palos Verdes Area. It is a chance for students age 13-17 to explore musical theater and receive professional instruction in acting, singing, and dance. The program emphasizes the learning process and team building, and is designed to encourage self-confidence, a work ethic, and lay foundation for cultural literacy and an appreciation for the performing arts. Scalawag’s Co-Producers are Gale Kadota, Anthony Pirozzi and Grand Vision Foundation.
GRAND VISION FOUNDATION is a 15-year old non-profit organization whose mission is to inspire and engage the diverse Los Angeles Harbor/South Bay community through culturally inclusive arts and educational experiences centered on the historic Warner Grand Theatre and the Grand Annex in downtown San Pedro. A decade ago, Grand Vision co-produced two youth musicals at the Warner Grand, Grease and City of Angels and last year, with Grand Vision’s support, Scalawag Productions was formed and presented their inaugural show at the Warner Grand, A Gilbert & Sullivan Musical Revue. Grand Vision has taken major strides to restore and maintain the Warner Grand. Grand Vision also produces annual sing-along events and the Community Cinema series at the Warner Grand and produces live music concerts for families and youth at the Grand Annex.