Santa Clara High School’s theater students desperately need help from the community in order to make their dream a reality.
After initially hearing “no” from the school’s theater department to their request to stage the musical Next to Normal due to its sensitive subject matter, the students continuously pleaded their case. So, the department gave them a challenge – raise the funds required to purchase the rights to the play and the students could have their show.
Next to Normal, a rock musical with book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, won a pair of Tony Awards and a Pulitzer Prize for its depiction of a mother struggling with bipolar disorder. The musical also addresses complex issues including the effect of the disease on a family, loss, suicide and drug abuse; but the SCHS students are ready and willing to tackle the subject matter.
“It’s a very sensitive topic – not exactly school-appropriate, but the arts are about pushing boundaries and exploring new territory,” said SCHS senior Kristy Aquino. “I totally understand why our school would be hesitant about putting on an extra show, especially one of this kind of intensity, but it will help us grow as actors and students.”
“There’s so many other elements that a person can attach themselves to and I think that’s what hooked our cast members,” added junior Gabe Chavez.
“Some people who have only listened to the soundtrack may see the show as gloomy or depressing, but it’s a really uplifting and inspiring play,” said Aquino. “It may not have the typical “happily ever after,” but it has a message of hope. It’ll definitely be an emotional roller coaster for many people, but it’s well worth the ride. Some people may walk out of the theater thinking it was a good show, but for some it’ll be much more than that. It’s the kind of play that really touches you and makes you think, and I think that’s what’s really important.”
Aquino and Chavez are actively involved in the campaign. Seniors Jake Cavicchia and Aaron Ancheta, junior Anna Calvert, and sophomore Mario Ramirez are also part of the efforts to bring Next to Normal to the SCHS stage. Junior Aku Sorensen will be the music director in the event the campaign is successful.
“The music itself is not only absolutely beautiful in its composition, but incredibly heartfelt and emotional,” said Aquino. “The lyrics and the music really speak to the audience and make you feel something. Although many of us aren’t dealing with the same issues addressed in the show, the characters are incredibly relatable – we can each see part of ourselves in every character. We’ve also been wanting to perform a dramatic play for awhile and this was just the perfect opportunity.”
Through an Indigogo campaign, the students have raised almost $800, but they need to raise $1,500 in the next week in order to meet their goal. Here’s where the community can help. A $3 donation earns the donor a ticket to the show, a $25 contribution gives the donor a ticket to the show, their name in the program and a recording from any song performed; and $100 will give the donor a ticket to the show, their name in the program and the chance to bow with the cast at the end of the show. The students also need volunteers to help build the sets and advertise the show, once they purchase the rights to the play. If the students reach their goal, the performance is scheduled for November 15 and 16. For more information or to donate visit http://www.indiegogo.com/SCHSNexttoNormal.