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St. Clair celebrates 20 years of musical theatre

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Tara Jeffrey

A 20-year history of musical theatre at St. Clair Secondary will be brought to life this month with a final curtain call — of sorts — for the Sarnia high school.

“Musical Theatre: The St. Clair Experience” will include songs and scenes from two decades worth of past productions, from 1996’s “Bye Bye Birdie” to 2015’s “My Favourite Year.”

“This year is particularly poignant,” said Barb Organ, teacher and longtime musical director, of the school’s pending amalgamation with SCITS. Administrators with the Lambton Kent District School Board are recommending the blended student body eventually move to the St. Clair site, under a new name.

“We are looking at the end of St. Clair, no matter which way the decision goes. So we wanted to celebrate that.”

“This isn’t the end of musical theatre at a south-end school by any stretch,” she added. “But it’s the end of the umbrella of St. Clair Musical Theatre.”

Organ said the three-night production running May 12-14 in the school auditorium features 25 students, along with current and former staff making special appearances and performing in the band.

Production numbers include snippets of Little Shop of Horrors, Grease, Annie and more.

“We’ve written scripts to tie them together, that centres in a staff room. So each year is opening night of that particular show,” said Organ. “We’ll share stories and memories, and talk about the people who have helped us out along the way.”

She and fellow director Diane Vienneau, who have headed up countless productions over the years, cover everything from directing, producing, costumes and scripts.

It’s a labour of love, said Organ.

“It’s bittersweet, you know?” her voice choking up. “We have no intention of this being the end — it’s just going to be different as we move forward. And we are excited about that possibility as well.”

The show kicks off just two days after the board’s final decision on the St. Clair-SCITS merger, following passionate and heated debate among both school communities and the city at large.

“It’s been a tough last couple of months,” Organ said. “We just want to get the word out, that there are great things going on at every school. And this is something we’re really proud of.”



What: Musical Theatre: The St. Clair Experience

When: May 12, 13, and 14, at 7 p.m.

Where: The St. Clair Auditorium

Details: Tickets available from cast or at the door; $8 students/seniors, $10 adults

Rehearsing for the musical theatre production of "The St. Clair Experience." Glenn Ogilvie
Rehearsing for the musical theatre production of “The St. Clair Experience.”
Glenn Ogilvie

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