When my kids were tiny and people used to say, "they grow up so fast!" I didn't know what the heck they were talking about. It was taking FOREVER! But now I get it. We just cleared another milestone, the last Senior/Fresh "Sing!" at Murrow. I have a terrible time trying to explain "Sing!" to middle school parents. It is a competition. It should really be called "Scream!". Depending on the school, it is two or three original nearly hour long student produced musicals which are judged and awarded bragging rights on the last night of performance. It is a super big deal.
Each school has its own "Sing!" style. Murrow as you would guess is a Broadway type production with a corps of featured dancers and a chorus of up to 150 who have about 4 showstopping numbers between the dramatic scenes. Here is what you need for a successful "Sing!": a cute theme ("Argh! The Musical", "The Ungrateful Dead", "Greece's Pieces"). This year it was "Cirque Du Sing!" and "And We All Lived Happily Ever After". The original lyrics are set to the tune of popular songs and there is a pit band that bravely attempts (often with great results) to recreate the songs. The sets and costumes are all student designed and produced and the whole shebang is graded by staff according to a strict rubric.
This year was the best we have seen. "Cirque Du Sing!" (Junior/Soph) was the poignant story of a traveling Freak Show (the Siamese Twins, Bearded Lady, Contortionist, Snake Boy and Cowgirl (with an udder and a stutter) and a cameo by Snooki. They are led by a seemingly benevolent Ring Master arrayed in stripes and a very tall top hat. He is secretly a plastic surgeon who is looking to gain fame and fortune by correcting their "flaws". There is a love story between the brave and confident Snake Boy and the self loathing Cow Girl. The Ring Master's plot is exposed as is his "cone head" under the top hat. Both he and the Cow Girl learn to love their uniqueness and they bond as an nontraditional family. Did I mention that there has to be a moral? This production was snappy and funny and the costumes and sets had all the great color and pizzazz that you might expect. Tough competition for the Seniors who feel the pressure to win on their last year!
"And We All Lived Happily Ever After" used a feisty Mother Goose as a narrator to describe the kingdom of "haves" (Cinderella, Snow White and a very Justin Biebery Prince Charming) and the "have nots" (the Wicked Witch, the Poison Apple, Captain Hook and the Big Bad Wolf). The fairy tale kingdom includes a hysterical Hansel and Gretel (six foot tall boys in bad dirndls and blond wigs) and an array of characters... including Snooki. It turns out that the "good guys" are kind of entitled and stuck up. The action is moved forward by the wise and elegant Fairy Godmother who rolls in and out of scenes on a dolly. It turns out that the evil villains were misunderstood; Poison Apple was just playing the "bad boy" to get Snow White's attention, the Big Bad Wolf was making a "new neighbor" visit, etc. Everyone forgives the misunderstandings and the good guys realize that they have been prejudiced and unfair. The tight and fast paced production and the spirited chorus (led by my daughter!) took top honors this year.
I will never forget the the finale - hundreds of sweaty, happy kids of all colors, nationalities, neighborhoods, singing/screaming, with their arms around each other and tears streaming down their faces...well, you gotta love Brooklyn.