By MATT RAWLINGS
Of the Keizertimes
McNary High School theatre teacher Tom Cavanaugh is used to organizing shows around the holidays. But he’s never done one like this before.
For the first time ever, McNary is bringing together all of the performing arts — band, choir, orchestra, theatre and jazz band — for a show called A Very McNary Holiday.
There will be three shows from December 13th to December 15th with each performance starting at 7 p.m. in the auditorium at McNary. Tickers will cost $5 apiece.
Cavanaugh, who is the point person for putting this show together, is excited to show people how diverse and talented these kids are.
“Our hope is to give the audience a little bit of a taste of all the different (performing) departments we have here at McNary,” Cavanaugh said.
As a school, McNary takes their performing arts very seriously, so getting the entire department all together in one place makes for quite the special occasion.
“It is nice to see the performing arts department working together to put on a quality performance,” McNary choir teacher Andy Thomas said. “I think (the audience) will enjoy the variety of music.”
“Since it is the first year of the event, the kids don’t really know what to expect. So I think they are interested to see how the program works out.”
In-between musical performances, the theatre crew will put on four different short plays from different classical Christmas movies.
A Charlie Brown Christmas, Elf and The Grinch will be the first three plays that will be featured while the fourth skit will be a mash-up that dives into multiple Christmas specials.
Trying to compact a full-length feature film into a greatly condensed version with limited cast members can be difficult. For instance, McNary student Madelyn Hurst will be playing three different roles in Elf.
“There are quite a bit of different things happening at once,” Hurst said. “It’s basically just the movie happening in about seven minutes on stage.”
Hurst isn’t the only one with a lot her plate.
Connor McCormack will be singing several holiday songs with the McNary choir. He we also be playing the lead in The Grinch.
“We’ve only had three weeks to prepare this show. It’s been stressful, but it’s also been a lot of fun,” McCormack said. “Working with the underclassmen has been great. All the theatre students know about the high bar that we set for ourselves.”
One of the more interesting parts of this show is that is completely student-led from the theatre portion. Cavanaugh gives them pointers on how to clean stuff up, but the vast majority of running the plays successfully is put on the kids.
“It’s been pretty unique with the students directing and writing our own shows,” theatre student Jacob Fritts said. “We have been scheduling our own rehearsals and doing our costumes, too.”
Even though a performance like this hasn’t been done before, Cavanaugh is confident in the kids ability to put on an entertaining show.
“The show is coming together great. It’s funny and it’s appropriate for the whole family,” Cavanaugh said. “We just want to give people a night of the holidays.”