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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 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 email@example.com .