Friday, December 22

Support the Arts in Jacksonville: Go See a Play

James Jaeger as Capulet

Fletcher's next play:
April 19th and 20th, 2024: House of Blue Leaves

Tickets (when available)

Sure, you can watch the family-friendly stuff at the Alhambra Theater or venture into downtown for a highbrow experience. And you should. However, for my money, I've always enjoyed high school plays. And since the actual money is $6 and free parking, it's worth every penny compared to Alhambra's $70 plus drinks and tip or $50 plus parking for a downtown experience.  If you're looking for live entertainment on a budget, check out a local high school play

The preceding link is to the Fletcher High School GoFan Performing Arts site, but you can probably find a list of local schools and their plays. I know the performing arts school got into some hot water recently with its choice of a play dealing with sexuality, but you're mostly going to get the same fodder at local high schools as the big theaters, meaning stuff you've seen before or based on something you've seen before.

Not all of the performances at local high schools will be stellar. You need a big cast, it's not as popular as football, and performing in front of people isn't everyone's cup of tea. But these kids really do deserve a real budget, a dedicated director, and an audience. If you think you support the schools by paying property taxes and attending the alumni football game, then you are losing out on an opportunity to support kids with real-world skills.

My kid will be in all of Fletcher's productions from 2023 until 2026 because he has fun acting. Even if your kids aren't in high school, however, seeing a high school play is a good way to see some local talent before they get too talented. Scroll down for the list of dates for Fletcher High School productions. 

The plays I saw as an educator in Wisconsin seemed to have a much larger budget (and audience)  than those I've seen in Jacksonville. While this doesn't affect the acting (exactly), it does affect how the students see themselves as actors. It's hard to feel like you're a real star when you perform one or two shows over a single weekend that are less than half full, on top of having to buy any costumes yourself (and not everyone bothers). I remember seeing a production of Miss Saigon at Pius High School in Milwaukee that had a full-sized helicopter on stage, and Tosa West's production of Showboat must have had 50 dancers on stage for several numbers. And many of the suburban schools had auditoriums named after people who probably donated heavily to the theater. We don't have less total wealth than in Milwaukee metro (higher per capita income), so it's more of a values/priorities situation, and I'm hoping that can change.
April 6th and 7th, 2024: Barefoot in the Park

January 19th and 20th, 2024

October 20 and 21, 2023
Twelve Angry Jurors 
You may also know this play as Twelve Angry Men

April 21st and 22nd, 2023- Noises Off

January 13th and 14th, 2023 - Romeo, You Idiot
Romeo, You Idiot
Fletcher High Romeo You Idiot

What happens to those stars who are no longer stars? Not this.

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