Shasta’s Soaring Musical and More

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Alison DeBella in "Aida."

Most people who have lived in the north state for any stretch of time have heard something about the excellence of the annual Shasta High School spring musical. I once wrote that the school’s spring musical is like a 747 jetliner — it’s a massive beautiful thing and it’s amazing that it gets off the ground each year. But it always does, and it flies beautifully.

This year’s show, the pop-rock musical "Aida" with music by Elton John and Tim Rice, took flight Wednesday with a sneak-preview show. It continues at 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday at the Shasta Learning Center/David Marr Theater at 2200 Eureka Way in Redding. Next week there are performances on May 6-8.

The show features the work of some 100 students under the direction of Gavin Spencer and orchestra director Lou Polcari. This year’s leads are Chase Buick (Radames), Madi Stanger (Aida) and Alison DiBella (Amneris, Princess of Egypt). (May I take a minute to say, how hip is the name Chase Buick? That’s a future rock star.)

The Tony- and Grammy-award winning show is a story of forbidden love, loyalty and betrayal, set against a tapestry of ancient Egypt. In addition to great vocal and instrumental performances, expect to see stunning sets and costumes. This isn’t your everyday high school musical.

I saw a little snippet of the show on a report on Channel 7 news the other night and it just looks like it’s going to be stellar. If you’re seen it already, feel free to give your report in the comments. (I’m planning to see it next weekend.)

Tickets are $15 and available through the Cascade Theatre box office or by called 243-8877.


Shasta’s not the only school that puts on a good show. Anderson High School’s music program (under the direction of Shasta grad Nancy Dutton) also sets the bar very high.

Anderson’s annual Old West Show and Dinner takes place May 6-8 at Crosscurrents Youth Center (2991 E. Center Street) in Anderson. Seating begins at 6 p.m. for these shows and tickets (which include dinner) are $18 in advance/$25 at the door.

This year’s show is "The Paper Bag Bandit Rides Again or … Behind the Cheap Mask?" The melodrama is written by Robert Swift and the show promises plenty of slapstick humor. What’s for dinner? A north state favorite — tri-tip.

Tickets are available at Bernie’s Guitar (223-2040) or by calling the school ticket information line at 365-2741 ext. 1671.


For area dance fans, another presentation of the Choreographer’s Collaboration takes place at 7:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the Shasta College Theatre, 11555 Old Oregon Trail in Redding.

The show features a variety of dance styles (everything from ballet to modern to hip-hop). There is also a performance by the Redding City Ballet.

Tickets are $5-$7 and available by calling 242-2369 or 242-2368.


Speaking of dance and musical theater, I’ll be writing more about this show soon, but it’s a good time to mention a new collaboration between the Redding City Musical Theatre Co. and the Redding City Ballet. Directors Diana Christensen and Cindy Michaels are joining forces to present "Bravura," a showcase of musical theater and dance.

"Bravura" is coming to the Cascade Theatre for three shows on May 14-15 (two evening shows and a matinee).

"Aida" photo by Bob Small.

jim-dyar-125 Jim Dyar is a news, arts and entertainment journalist for A News Cafe and the former arts and entertainment editor for the Record Searchlight’s D.A.T.E. section. Jim is also a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding. E-mail him at .

is a journalist who focuses on arts, entertainment, music and the outdoors. He is a songwriter and leader of the Jim Dyar Band. He lives in Redding and can be reached at
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6 Responses

  1. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    And no mention of the fund raiser for the music program at Grant School which features the Jim Dyar Band? $10 a ticket or $35 for a family.

    And my kids saw Aida and know most of the cast. The amazing thing is how Shasta can replace the graduating talent every year. Mr. Polcari may yell at the kids about practicing, but he gets results. Mr. Spencer has a real gift for getting teenagers to lose their nerves and sing.

    • Avatar Jim Dyar says:

      Thanks gamerjohn. I try not to self promote in my blog, but since you brought it up, this is a really good cause out at Grant School. Some people may have the misconception that the recession wouldn't impact this west side school. Actually, Grant is in danger of losing its arts programs.
      In addition to our band performing, Grant's advanced band and choir will both perform. There will be pizza and ice cream and good times all around!
      Come on out and join us at 7 p.m. Friday (May 7) at Grant School (west on Placer turn right on Swasey).

  2. Avatar gamerjohn says:

    Oh, and Chase Buick is really a great kid.

  3. Avatar Tami Bennett says:

    We are fortunate to have this level of quality entertainment at our "doorsteps".
    I teach at Shasta High School and know many of the students involved in this production. Any parent would be pleased and proud to have one of these young adults as their child.

  4. Avatar Grammalyn says:

    Aida was outstanding! We were so caught up in the sights and sounds that we completely forgot that these were high school students. Congratulations to all of those involved – what a triumph this show was. Every year we enjoy these shows – we would never miss one!

  5. Avatar crowsfete says:

    At Jim's suggestion, I attended Aida on Saturday nite. All was well except the sound system on my old ears; I remember that is it geared for teen-age LOUD. Our Redding schools are privileged to have good arts programs. The sports and music programs are Redding's finest.