Self-expression, self-confidence, self-belief, three reasons that Clevedon School embrace the Performing Arts and in particular their commitment to a major annual school performance. Three reasons which are just the tip of the iceberg! In reality, Performing Arts underpin so many of the values and behaviours that are important to the Clevedon School community. Working together over an extended period of time offers endless opportunities for an eclectic mix of students to work interdependently and develop their creative and communication skills. The need to be reflective about their own performance and that of their peers is of paramount importance as is the opportunity to use critical thinking skills to communicate the ideas and emotions of the characters they portray. A student’s experience within this framework also enables them to grow their empathy and resilience levels in a safe environment. And it’s motivating and exciting! What better thrill can there be than hearing the rapturous applause of an appreciative audience as the final curtain goes down?
Clevedon School excels when it comes to Performing Arts which was acknowledged when the school scooped three awards from the Somerset Fellowship of Drama. They won the David Beach Trophy for ‘Creative Lighting’, ‘Stage Management’ and ‘Technical Achievement in a Youth Production’. Will they win anything for their amazing production of Calamity Jane last year? They should know very soon.
This year’s production is a stage musical by Frank Loesser based on the book by Shepherd Mead ‘How to succeed in business without really trying’. The musical, starring Robert Morse and Rudy Vallee, opened at the 46th Street Theatre on Broadway in October 1961, running for 1,417 performances. The show won seven Tony Awards, the New York Drama Critics Circle award, and the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
In 1967, a film based on the musical was released by United Artists, with Morse and Vallee re-creating their stage roles.
A 1995 revival was mounted at the same theatre as the original production (now named the Richard Rodgers Theatre). It ran for 548 performances and starred Matthew Broderick and Megan Mullaly. A 50th-anniversary Broadway revival directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford and starring Daniel Radcliffe and John Larroquette opened on March 27, 2011, at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre and ran for 473 performances.
This musical comedy tells the tale of a twenty-seven year old New York window cleaner, J. Pierrepont Finch, who comes across a book “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”. He secures a job in the Worldwide Wicket Corporation which according to the book is the perfect type of business to start in. There he meets secretary Rosemary Pilkington, who sees in Ponty (as she calls him) an unassuming man who she believes the corporate world will eat alive. But Ponty, memorizing what the book tells him, quickly climb the corporate ladder from the mailroom to junior executive in Plans and Systems to Head of Plans and Systems to Vice President in charge of Advertising. Ponty has a few obstacles along the way such as: Bud Frump who sees Ponty as a rival and is the nephew by marriage of the company president J.B. Biggley; Hedy La Rue, a curvaceous but simple woman who has a secret or not-so-secret tie to someone important in the company; Mr. Ovington, an executive who Ponty can’t figure out; and Ponty possibly making a fatal error by not reading far enough ahead in the book. Ponty ultimately has to decide if climbing to the top of the ladder is worth stepping on all those along the way and risk losing the love of Rosemary.
The numbers of students, staff, parents and the local community involved in the production are phenomenal; those supporting in the background will far exceed those on the stage. When these four groups work together in an atmosphere of mutual trust and understanding, the levels of commitment, energy and motivation are high and the consequences for the students and the whole school community are far-reaching.
Those of who go year in year out to the Clevedon School shows, will know what a treat lies in store for them. To those of you who have never been, you really should go along yourself and see these very talented, committed students in action. You won’t be disappointed but you do need to get your tickets as soon as possible because there are not many left. Here’s how you can go about it: