for Middle and High School Shows
Teacher Guidance from Tom Width, Artistic Director:
We are pleased to offer several of our mainstage, full-length productions to your students at a deeply-discounted price. Because these shows are the same, un-edited versions that we present to our mainstage audience, we understand that you may need some guidance regarding the appropriateness of these productions for your students. To that end, I have written informational assessments to help you make your decision:
The Woman in Black has been running in London for more than 27 years and is very popular with student audiences. It has no offensive language. You might want to prepare your students for the “fear factor” in this ghost play: the spectre of the woman in black appears unexpectedly several times to wreak havoc, and the play’s sound effects can be intense and frightening. The show’s major appeal is its narrative story-telling and inventive theatricality – the evocative power of the spoken word to create imagery, tension and fear is the real star here. You can read more at www.thewomaninblack.com. Best for: middle school & up
All My Sons, one of Arthur Miller’s most powerful dramas, was written in 1947 and still finds relevance today. Your students should be ready for intense confrontations and strong emotions within a family that is struggling to find truth amid the turmoil of lies and deceit. Arthur Miller uses some language that you may wish to take note of: “hell” and “damn” are used routinely in the dialog, and when emotions become heightened, phrases like “Jesus God, what must I do?” ; “a man can’t be a Jesus in this world”; and “Half the goddam country’s gotta go if I go” are part of the impassioned dialog. We are leaving all of Mr. Miller’s dialog intact. Near the end of the show, there is an offstage gunshot indicating the suicide of one of the characters. Many study guides are available online for this great classic, which won three Tony Awards and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. Best for: middle school & up
Dames At Sea is a delightful musical that spoofs the classic style of the Broadway musical dream. It is loaded with charming songs, energetic dance numbers, and patriotic zeal. Students will see men and women kissing with traditional boy/girl sweetness. The ladies in the show are dancers and, as such, are sometimes dressed in tights that show the full length of their (covered) legs as they kick and pose in classic “chorus girl” style. In one of the comedy numbers, one of the ladies does some silly shimmies and bumps in an attempt to “seduce” one of the men… all of it very tame by theatrical standards. Best for: middle school & up
All of our Youth Series performances of mainstage shows are followed by a Q&A with the cast and director, allowing students and teachers to ask questions about content and character. Teachers can also email me, Tom Width, with any further questions.