'The play's the thing' at Woodinville High

  • Written by Deborah Stone

Local theatergoers who want to stay close to home and keep their costs down need not look any further than Woodinville High School for quality entertainment.

The school’s award-winning drama department, under the capable helm of Leslie Herlich, has an exciting schedule of productions planned for the coming year.

Opening next month is "Moon Over Buffalo," a fast-paced situational comedy by Ken Ludwig. "It’s a very funny show," comments Herlich, "and I chose it because it’s similar to ‘Noises Off’ in that it’s a physical comedy.

"It’s about a crazy theatrical family in the 50s. Carol Burnett and Philip Bosco starred in the production on Broadway and it was a success. It’s hilarious with lots of slapstick and mistaken identities."

The show has already been cast and rehearsals are in progress.

"The students are having a good time with it," adds Herlich.

The drama department’s winter production will be Thornton Wilder’s classic, "Our Town," a show that Herlich selected for its current relevance.

"It’s very telling and appropriate for right now," she explains. "It speaks to the value of people being aware of what’s important in life.

"It’s not money, but rather relationships and connections that really matter. And that’s what the play emphasizes."

Herlich is enthusiastic about the upcoming year, as she says that she has a good group of students who are very dedicated and committed.

The numbers for her intro and advanced drama classes are nearly the same as last year, but there has been an increase in enrollment for her tech class. Due to budget cuts, however, there isn’t a production class.

"The biggest challenge is to find the money to do all the things I want to do," comments Herlich. "We’re going to be doing more fundraisers and I’ll be writing more grants. You just have to be creative in finding solutions."

Other happenings in the drama department include a new project with Seattle based Book-It Theatre.

WHS students will be working with Book-It members on adapting several short stories for the stage. The students will then direct and act in these adaptations.

"This is our first time to work with Book-It," says Herlich. "It offers a great opportunity for the students to work with professionals."

The season will be rounded out with Dramafest, where students cast and direct one-act plays, which are judged by outside professionals, and the Individual Events Festival, an International Thespian Society competition, which is also judged by professionals.

And of course, there will also be a grand spring musical, to be determined later on in the year.

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