Seneca High School alums reflect on senior musical [Theater]

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Along with Hoagland, Bob Seifert, who graduated from Seneca in 1989, performed in the school’s production of “The Wiz”.

“I remember Stickler telling us a lot of the audience didn’t even know who the cast was.  They just came out of tradition.  He said they weren’t there to see us, but to see Seneca’s performance.  I think that was his way of saying we were a part of something bigger and the school’s reputation depended on it.”

Growing up just a few blocks from the school, Seifert remembers the support the community provided.  Whether it was the local Gatti’s pizza decorating its walls with student designed posters or the ease at which local businesses donated money.

To raise money, students were required to sell ad space in the play bill.  Said Seifert, “We realized the locally owned dry cleaners, barber shops and even bars were willing to shell out $40 as opposed to the national chain stores.”

But it was the opportunity to perform that really inspired Seifert.

He recalled, “The most important aspect was to afford a public school kid from a very ‘cultural-less’ family an opportunity to get on a stage.  The senior play was the first and last theater production I was ever involved in – and one of the most memorable times of my life.”

Linda Ford Braun graduated from Seneca in 1962 and participated in the very first musical, “Annie Get Your Gun.” 
 
“We silk screened all of our posters, built all the scenery, and printed all of our own programs.”

A few years later, Braun returned to choreograph a number of future musicals, including, “The Music Man”, “Can-Can”, and “No No Nanette.”

“One of my fondest memories was ‘No No Nanette’.  The seniors and I worked all summer tap dancing.  One of the senior boys really stood out.  I finally asked him if he had ever tapped and he said his mom had made him take lessons as a child!  He was one of the football players!”

Braun continues to marvel at how much time and dedication the students gave of themselves, always “working their butts off” and never missing rehearsals.

“It was a different time then when the play was “The Thing” and they were all so proud to be a part and make it the best play in the Jefferson County school system.”

Fortunately, there is good news on the horizon.  According to Harolynn Harris, who took over the school’s drama department in 2011, work has already begun on a spring musical.

“Guys and Dolls” will be performed April 3rd through the 6th, with the final show scheduled to be a gala event, celebrating the school’s 50th musical as well as honoring Stickler.

Said Harris, “The cast is going to be amazing.  I’m not sure they know how much work it’s going to be.  Plus it will be wonderful to bring it back to the community.”

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