Past Productions of Z Center Stage Theater Company
School Year Fall Spring Winter (Drama class plays
1990-1991 The Mousetrap by Agatha Christie The Worst High School Play in the World by William Gleason
1991-1992 Three Murders and Its Only Monday! by Pat Cook The Phantom of the Opera by Gene Traylor (non-musical version)
1992-1993 Bone Chiller by Monk Ferris You Can't Take it With You by Moss Hart and George S. Kaufman
1993-1994 Happily Ever Once Upon by Virginia Kidd Les Miserables (non-musical) by Tim Kelly
1994-1995 Alice in Wonderland by Charlotte Chorpenning Great Expectations by Robert Johanson
1995-1996 A Christmas Carol by Brian Way The Wizard of Oz by Elizabeth Chapman
1996-1997 It's a Wonderful Life by James W. Rogers You Can't Take it With You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart
1997-1998 Peter Pan in Neverland from IE Publishers The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder Charlotte's Web by Joseph Robinette (Drama class)
1998-1999 Tales of the Arabian Nights by Michael Bigelow Dixon A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (with alterations by Lynn Brant)
1999-2000 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, Wizard of Oz (Pantomimes)
2000-2001 The Crucible by Arthur Miller The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan
2001-2002 Alice in Wonderland by Charlotte Chorpenning Flapper by Tim Kelly and Bill Francouer
2002-2003 The Tempest by William Shakespeare  Li'l Abner by Norman Panama and Melvin Frank
2003-2004 You Can't Take it With You by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart The Wizard of Oz (RSC version)
2004-2005 The Wind in the Willows by Alan Bennett Seussical: the Musical!
2005-2006 The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood Crazy for You
2006-2007 Tales from the Arabian Nights  Beauty and the Beast- Disney
2007-2008 The Matchmaker by Thornton Wilder Annie Alice in Wonderland (short touring version)--Drama 2 class
2008-2009 The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Patrick Rainville Dorn Once Upon a Mattress
2009-2010 A Christmas Carol by Brian Way The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan
2010-2011 A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare (with alterations by Lynn Brant) Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella Charlotte's Web by Joseph Robinette (Drama class)
2011-2012 The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood Seussical: the Musical! Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Drama 2 class)
2012-2013 Alice in Wonderland adapted by Jeannette Jaquish The Wizard of Oz (RSC version)
2013-2014 The Princess Who had No Name by Brian Taylor Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka: a Musical by Tim McDonald and Leslie Bricusse
2014-2015 The Wind in the Willows by Alan Bennett Disney’s Mary Poppins
2015-2016 The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Patrick Rainville Dorn

Shrek: The Musical

 

2016-2017  You Can't Take It With You by Moss Hart and George Kaufman  Oklahoma!   by Rodgers and Hammerstein  

2014-2015 season!

The Wind in the Willows by Allan Bennett

The Wind in the Willows, known to many readers through theatrical adaptations such as Toad of Toad Hall, belongs to a select group of English classics whose    characters (Rat, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad) and their catchphrases ("messing about in boats"; "poop, poop!") require no introduction.    Endlessly recycled, in print, cartoon and   cinema, the ideas and images of Kenneth Grahame's masterpiece recur in the most  unlikely places. Chapter seven, "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn", is even  the name of Pink Floyd's first album in 1967.

The Wind in the Willows began as bedtime stories and letters addressed to Grahame's troubled son, a sickly boy known as "Mouse" who possibly inspired the willful character of Mr. Toad and who eventually committed suicide, aged 20, while at Oxford. Indeed, so personal were these stories that Grahame never intended to publish his material. The manuscript was first given to an American publisher, who rejected it. After the publication of The Wind in the Willows by Methuen in 1908, it found an unlikely fan in U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt who, in 1909, wrote to Grahame to tell him that he had "read it and reread it, and have come to accept the characters as old friends".  Elsewhere, the critical response was more mixed, and it was not until AA Milne, the author of    Winnie the Pooh,  adapted parts of the book into a popular stage version, Toad of Toad Hall, in 1929, that it became established as the evergreen children's classic it is known as today.

Since then it has been made into many     animated films, a stop motion puppet film, and s everal live action versions, including one with almost the   entire cast of Monty Python fame.  In 2003, Guillermo del Toro was working on an    adaptation for Disney. It was to mix live action with CG animation, and the director explained why he had to leave the helm. "It was a beautiful book, and then I went to meet with the executives and they said, 'Could you give Toad a skateboard and make him say, 'radical dude' things,' and that's when I said, 'It's been a pleasure...'"  Disney, of course, also has a ride at Disneyland called Toad’s Wild Ride, that takes the rider on a crazy car adventure through the     countryside.

Several authors have shared in the idyllic world Grahame first created as well.  William Horwood created several sequels to The Wind in the Willows: The Willows in Winter, Toad Triumphant, The Willows and Beyond, and The Willows at Christmas.  Another perspective on the story was Jan Needle's Wild Wood, which was published in 1981 with illustrations by  William Rushton.  It is a re-telling of the story of The Wind in the Willows from the point of view of the   working-class inhabitants of the Wild Wood. For them, money is short and employment hard to find. They have a very different perspective on the wealthy, easy, careless lifestyle of Toad and his friends.

Alan Bennett's delightful adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s favorite children's story played to sell-out audiences at The National     Theatre when it was first produced in 1990.  The show featured a unique turn table set that could make Ratty’s house rise up out of the floor on an    elevator.  It has since become a Christmas time favorite in England, and in fact, one website    mentioned that it is most often performed in    England.  It is that taste of the English countryside, (and the actors here say the British accents), as well as the well drawn characters and hilarious lines and situations that brought ZCSTC back ‘round again to this classic version of the classic tale (or is it “tail”??).  

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 Mary Poppins, spring 2015

Mary Poppins is a musical based on the book series by P.L. Travers (1899-1996)  of the same name and, more notably, the 1964 musical film starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke.  The stage show features many of the original songs made famous by the  Oscar-winning duo of Richard and Robert Sherman, with additional music and lyrics from George Stiles and Anthony Drewe respectively, and a book by Julian  Fellowes, creator for the television series Downton Abbey.

                 The story of Walt Disney trying to get the rights to make a film of the series of Mary     Poppins books from their author, Pamela Travers covers twenty years, as Disney had to work very hard to convince the hard nosed Travers to allow her beloved characters onto a screen.  This story was the subject of the recent movie Saving Mr. Banks, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson.  Eventually, the movie was made, and it remains a classic of the Disney library. However, after her experience with the film, Travers refused to do any more business with Disney, and any sequels were left undone.

The genesis of the musical came at the hands of mega-producer Cameron Mackintosh (Les Misérables, Cats, Miss Saigon).  In 1993, he met with Travers to get her permission to musicalize the stories of Mary Poppins.  When Travers agreed, he got in contact with Disney Theatrical in 2001, sparking a partnership that would allow the show to use music from the original movie.

Around 2002, Stiles and Drewe (Olivier winners for Honk!) had heard about the new collaboration, and wrote a demo song entitled "Practically Perfect" for the producers.  Once they listened to the song, they were brought onto the creative team.  Fellowes was then brought aboard for his "clear understanding of the social niceties of the English class system that prevailed in the Edwardian era."   A workshop of the musical was held at the end of 2003 at the Old Vic Theatre, using the cast from a recently-closed production of My Fair Lady.

The stage adaptation pulls some elements from the original book that were eliminated in the film, including the walking statue and the ladders to the stars.  Several scenes from the film were omitted, most notably the scenes of Uncle Albert laughing on the ceiling and the dancing penguins in "Jolly Holiday," which were replaced with dancing statues and a trip to Mrs. Corry's shop, respectively.  The musical        generally places more emphasis on Jane and Michael being naughty children, and their parents having more of a dysfunctional relationship.  Mrs. Banks is no longer a suffragette, but a former actress, and Mr. Banks' back story is much more fleshed out.  A handful of musical sequences have also been placed in a different chronology, including bumping up "Let's Go Fly a Kite" to the middle of the show rather than the end.

Mary Poppins had its world premiere at the Bristol Hippodrome in London with a limited engagement from September 18 to November 6, 2004.  The production, starring Laura Michelle Kelly and Gavin Lee, then moved to the Prince Edward Theatre on December 15, running more than three years until January 12, 2008.  With a very successful production, the producers' eyes turned west, and the New Amsterdam Theatre housed the Broadway premiere on November 16, 2006.  Initially starring Broadway performer Ashley Brown and returning player Gavin Lee, it made minimal changes to the songs and staging.  After almost seven years of success, the Broadway production closed on March 3, 2013 to make room for Disney Theatricals' new production of Aladdin.

For the touring productions of the show, the sets were significantly reduced in size and intermediate scenes were removed to accommodate for smaller houses.  The first tour began in the UK on June 4, 2008, playing until April 18, 2009.  The US tour started in Chicago on March 25, 2009, featuring performances from the leads of the Broadway production Ashley Brown and Gavin Lee.  Like its Broadway equivalent, the tour was extremely successful, playing its last performance in Anchorage, Alaska on June 2, 2013.

Mary Poppins has had several “firsts”.  It is the first Disney Theatrical show to open in the UK.  It is also the first show to open in collaboration with another theatre company, and it is currently the 30th longest-running show in Broadway history.  Mary Poppins was the first live-action Disney movie to be adapted to the stage.  Its success gave Disney Theatrical confidence to adapt other live-action films High School Musical, High School Musical 2, and Newsies.  The Broadway production of Mary Poppins was nominated for seven TONY Awards, including Best Musical and Best Choreography. 

Mary Poppins just became available for amateur groups to license in October of 2014.  When the chance came to do this show, it was definitely on the top of our list!  The fun songs, great characters, strong storyline, and lively dances were all a great fit for ZCSTC.  However, in addition to those considerations, we also had to figure out how to deal with a flying magical leading character, along with multiple large sets and effects and challenging choreography in numbers like Jolly Holiday and Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (yes, we know how to spell it for sure now!!).  After weeks of work by both cast and crew, you have one of the only productions of this brand new musical in this half of the state!  

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2015-2016

The Hunchback of Notre Dame

The Hunchback of Notre Dame  is an 1831 French novel written by Victor Hugo. It is set in 1482 in Paris, in and around the cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris. Hugo began to write Hunchback in 1829, but it wasn't until the latter half of 1830 when he finished it, under pressure from his publisher.  The story begins in 1482, the day of the Festival of Fools in Paris. Quasimodo, the deformed bell ringer, is introduced by his crowning as Pope of Fools. Esméralda, a beautiful 16-year-old gypsy, captures the hearts of many men but especially Quasimodo’s stepfather, Claude Frollo. Frollo is torn between his lust and the rules of the church. He orders Quasimodo to get her. Quasimodo is caught and whipped and ordered to be tied down in the heat. Esméralda seeing his thirst, offers him water. It saves her, for she captures the heart of the hunchback. She is later accused of the murder of Phoebus, whom Frollo tried to kill in jealousy, and is sentenced to death by hanging. Quasimodo saves her by bringing her to the cathedral under the law of sanctuary. Frollo rallies the truands (criminals of Paris) to charge the cathedral. The king, seeing the chaos, vetoes the law of sanctuary and commands his troops to take her out and kill her. When Quasimodo sees the truands, he assumes they are there to hurt Esméralda, so he drives them off. Frollo betrays Esméralda by handing her to the troops and watches while she is hanged. Quasimodo pushes him from Notre-Dame to his death. He then goes to Esméralda’s grave, lies next to her corpse and dies.  This plot, especially due to its unhappy ending, has had two results.  The first is that the novel was very popular in  France, and spurred a historical preservation movement in that country that eventually led to the renovation of Notre-Dame. The second is that very few adaptations of the story for the stage or film have been true to the original story.  This includes several late 1800's operas through the silent film version that made Lon Chaney a horror film star in 1923. Charles Laughton played Quasimodo opposite Maureen O’Hara in 1937 to great acclaim. In fact,  there has been a Hunchback movie made in practically every decade since then, and even a full scale musical.   Probably the most well-known version to our audiences was Disney's adaptation in 1996. It was the second Disney film directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise after the hugely successful Beauty and the Beast in 1991. The duo had read Victor Hugo's novel and were eager to make an adaptation, but made several changes in order to make the storyline more suitable for children. This included making the film's heroes, Quasimodo, Esmeralda, and Phoebus, kinder than in the novel (Phoebus, in particular, was a villain in the novel), and keeping Quasimodo and Esmeralda alive at the end, a move which frustrated some critics who wanted it to be closer to the original material.  In the novel, only Phoebus, Fleur-de-Lys, Djali, and Gringoire are still alive at the end of the story.  This version spawned a sequel on DVD that found Esmeralda and Phoebus married with a son, and Quasimodo finally getting a girl.  In our production this evening, you will find all of the great characters that made the original story so intriguing, but as author Patrick Rainville Dorn, an Anglican priest, dubs it, it is "loosely adapted" from that source.  This script features a troupe of actors performing the story 50 years after it took place, right on the steps of the cathedral itself.  This allows for some leeway in the events shown, and gives us a chance to show off our slapstick and comedic talents as the plot reels from place to place, rarely even leaving the courtyard in front of Notre Dame!  Dorn played up the comedy, but also wanted to maintain the themes of the original novel.  As he says on his website, "It should come as no surprise that the axis scene, around which everything else revolves, is the moment when Quasimodo, shamed and humiliated on the public pillory, is given water by Esmeralda, the woman he'd abducted and the inadvertent cause of his suffering. This act of charity, of mercy, of tenderness, shines like a beacon of hope forward and backward through the story. I decided that no matter how silly the show got, and I intended to pack in as much slapstick humor, wordplay and goofy characters as possible, this scene was going to be played straight."  

So, with this combination of theme, sometimes sheer craziness and a classic story, you are sure to have as much fun watching this production as we did preparing it for you! 

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Shrek the Musical, Spring 2016

 

This musical is based off the well known film that made all of its iconic characters so well known to us all.    But did you know that it actually started out as a children’s book, and that it has gone through many, many changes to become the form you see tonight?  Shrek! is a picture book written and illustrated in 1990, by William Steig about a repugnant and monstrous ogre who leaves home to see the world and ends up saving a princess. The name "Shrek" is derived from the Yiddish and German Schreck meaning "fear" or "fright". The book served as the basis for the popular Shrek film series over a decade after its publication.  Steven Spielberg acquired the rights for the book in 1991, planning to produce a traditionally animated film based on the book. However, around the time DreamWorks was founded, producer John H. Williams brought the book to DreamWorks. As a result, DreamWorks ended up acquiring the rights for the book in 1995, and Katzenberg quickly put the film in active development. Shrek was released in April 2001, starring the voice talents of Mike Myers, Eddie Murphy, and Cameron Diaz. Chris Farley had originally been cast to voice the title character in the film, but died before being able to complete the project in December 1997; in August 1998, DreamWorks then recast the role to Mike Myers. After his first recording, he decided to record his voice in a Scottish accent. The film was also originally planned to be motion-captured, but after poor results, the studio decided to use computer animation.  The film was an immediate commercial and critical success, and won the first ever Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. The film's triumph ultimately led to the releases of three sequels: Shrek 2 (2004, which was also an instant success), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010).  Shrek The Musical is a musical based off of the first film, with music by Jeanine Tesori and book and lyrics by David Lindsay-Abaire. They began working on the show in 2002, with the premiere of the show      happening in 2008 at the 5th Avenue Theater in Seattle.  A fun fact is that a group from Zillah actually went to that production in Seattle and saw many of the lead actors that eventually went on to play in the Broadway production!  The Seattle production featured a turn table that could also raise and lower and elaborate costumes.  More changes occurred when the show went to Broadway.  The leads remained the same, except Donkey, who was now played by Daniel Breaker. The Dragon, was sung by three women instead of one, and was a puppet represented only from the neck up. Several other songs were revamped, including adding “I’m A Believer” as the finale, as it was in the original animated film.  The show ran for a year in New York, earning 12 Drama Desk Award nominations and eight Tony Award nominations.    It was also filmed for DVD, and many ZHS cast members practically had that memorized before we announced we were doing this show!  Following the Broadway run, the national tour began in 2010 in Chicago, featuring an all new Dragon (with an entire body and voiced by one actress) and song, “Forever”.  It also featured redesigned sets, cut the Magic Mirror character, and some other changes in the music order.  A second tour of North America launched in 2011 at the Capitol Theater in Yakima, WA.  Yet again, a newly revised version ran on the West End in England from 2011-2013, again rearranging some of the songs and adding back in several fairy tale creatures that had been cut.  The touring version is the one you will see tonight.  This show is a terrific challenge for ZCSTC. The music provides upbeat fun, but took a great deal of work to master, as did the choreography.  Inspired at the beginning of our production by seeing Eisenhower’s production, we worked hard to bring you this show. Building set pieces, props and costumes took a literal village: parents, students and alumni all spent hours working on swamps, painting book covers, making a 17 foot dragon in their garage,  constructing giant foam heads, straw suitcases, and Shrekish martinis, amongst a lot of other jobs that created what you will see before you tonight.  We hope you enjoy it!

book-painting
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How to Prepare for Your Audition:  Monologues

All ZCSTC auditions require potential actors to prepare a memorized monologue, or solo acting scene.  This is the primary form of audition for the fall play, and combined with the singing audition for the spring musical.

So, you may be new to this whole thing and be asking youself, "How do I do that??"   Well, this page will help (as will asking other peers that have auditioned before!)

First, watch this overview video that gives instructions and an example of the BEGINNING of a monologue from a 2014 senior and veteran of four years of ZCSTC, Alice Hiemstra.  (The instructions are also written at the bottom of this page for reference)

Next, here are four other examples of monologues from the auditions for Willy Wonka, spring 2014.  Unlike the above, these are the ENTIRE MONOLOGUE.  They vary in type and style, but also follow the instructions. 

C. Simmons

M. Dunbar

I. Alexander

S. Bos

1. Find a monologue in Mrs. Brant’s monologue library or online.

i. Monologues will be longer than 45 seconds and no longer than 2 minutes in length. Monologues must be classroom appropriate, be solo, and include a brief introduction of your name, the title of the scene, the character you are playing and a short set up of events preceding the scene.

2. Work on memorizing it. Plan some movement. Place it in a setting that you can recreate using some simple things like chairs and a table. Pantomime the rest of setting.

3. Make sure you are eligible before auditions...you must be passing classes.

4. Turn in your audition form on time. It includes the parent permission form (signed) and a copy of your monologue.

5. Be in the auditorium at 3:00 p.m. on Audition Day if you are auditioning. Bring your script.

6. Audition day: After a brief introduction, you will give your monologue, and it will be evaluated by the directors.

When called you: 

-- Set up the scene with basic furniture. You bring any needed props. 

--Plant your feet downstage center. Give an introduction that includes your name, grabs our attention into your scene, gives the title and the character you are playing. Do this with confidence. 

--Turn around backward and get your head into the scene. When you turn front again, the scene begins. 

--Act your entire scene with lots of character—and stay in that character. Be loud.  Stay in it, even if there is a mistake.  We might not even notice.  Stay open, stay dynamic and in character, and stay in the scene.

--You will be required to have a prompter—a person of your choice that has a copy of your monologue and gives you the next three words if you hit a snag. This should get you back on track again. One or two of those do not greatly affect your audition if you stay in character. 

--Pause at the end of your scene and say “scene” and confidently return to your seat. Do not comment on the way up or back on its quality--let the audience make its own decisions.

-- Be a good audience member—that is part of your audition too.

7. Callbacks day: Only those people listed on the Callbacks List on Mrs. Brant’s doors before school need attend on this day. Inclusion on the callbacks list is not an indicator of casting status. If you are on the callbacks list, please come after school with your script to the PAC.

8. After Callbacks: Directors will meet to complete casting decisions based upon audition. We will not discuss audition results with anyone else until casting letters are completed and accepted. So, don’t ask.

9. By the end that week: (TBD) Casting letters distributed. Please read the entire letter and respond by the deadline. At that point, you may either accept the role offered you, or reject it. You need to respond to Mrs. Brant personally with your decision ON PAPER. No one else on cast will know of your decision unless you tell them yourself. After all responses are received, the cast and crew list will be posted on Mrs. Brant’s door. The letter is not to be discussed until after that point, and it will contain information on the first rehearsal dates.