Friday, November 13, 2015

Allotta Yee-haws and Boot Scoots

Caryn Ott Hillman, Chicago Opera Theater for Teens, Director

Mr. Chris Richard and I have started the Solorio school year with a quick two-step as we sing our way through the Oklahoma Territory! Yep, we are putting together Rogers and Hammerstein’s classic, OKLAHOMA! Our cast makes up many returning teens from past semesters along with some new faces…and it seems every semester, they all get stronger and more confident!

So far, we have them all hootin’ and hollorin’ as the Farmers and the Cowmen having a dance off at the Box Social and we just finished the choreography for “Oklahoma” with lots of lifts for extra exciting ending to the show. We are off to a great start to prepare us for the five performances we have planned.

At Solorio we hope to have all our family and friends come to see the show on Dec. 4-5. Plus, we are also putting in Student Service Hours as we perform at two retirement homes, Autumn Green at Midway on Nov. 24 and The Breakers in Edgewater on Dec. 5. The last performance we are hoping to schedule is at Hernandez Middle School in hopes to ignite future performers for Chicago Opera Theater for Teens.

Of course, along the journey of putting together a show, we find it essential to build bonds between the cast because they are different grade levels and from different schools, therefore, a strong cast MUST trust each other which allows each actor to take risks. Mr. Richard taught the teens an intricate game that requires concentration, vocalization and coordination. By repeatedly tossing a ball to the same person and receiving it from another person, a syncretized web is built as more balls are added. True, many times the balls drop and the game comes to a halt, but it’s really amazing see all the teens tune in and send energy to another teen.

Any long, tiring journey always needs inspiration…that’s why we brought in COT’s very own: Dan Grambow!!!!!! Yesiree, Dan came in and showed the teens how it’s done in very different genres of song. Folk, Opera and Art song – in English and German – he gave our teens insight as to what it takes to prepare for the future, whether it be in performing or creating a company. Dan was an excellent example of the energy-driven, character-based, diction-filled effort that we are asking of the teens. Thank you, Dan, for visiting us!

So for now…we have about 9 more weeks to make this the best term yet!

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