Musicals at the Waukesha-area schools are the theme lately.
Last weekend, The Cat's Pajamas, a nationally-recognized vocal group, came to Waukesha North High School for a concert as part of a school's tour and an effort by North's Concert Choir to raise money for its trip to Carnegie Hall in New York City.
While that was a professional group, students at two other high schools will entertain crowds with their singing over the next few weekends.
Catholic Memorial High School is presenting "State Fair" 10 times beginning with three shows this weekend. The first show will open at 7 p.m. Friday in the school's auditorium at 601 E. College Ave.
Meanwhile, at Waukesha West High School, The West End Players will put on the musical "Happy Days" beginning at 7 p.m. Friday at the Waukesha West Auditorium, located at 3301 Saylesville Road.
"State Fair," which CMH did in 2005, chronicles a farm family's visit to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines in the 1940s. The mother and father have their sights on winning ribbons, while their son and daughter set out to find love at the midway. "State Fair" was originally a book written in 1932 and it followed with a 1945 movie musical, which was remade in 1962.
The cast of 45 at CMH has been working on perfecting their lines and lyrics since early December.
"We are working with a younger cast with probably more freshmen and sophomores than we have had in a while," said Peter Lange, who is the co-director of the musical and a music teacher at CMH. "So they all have a deep sense of eagerness."
In addition to the students, 90 children from area elementary schools will participate in different shows. Lange said the students have been practicing every day as well as Saturdays getting ready for their performances.
"It's been a really positive, as well as exhaustive experience," Lange said. "The kids keep it positive and have had a fun experience. I think you'll see that on stage."
With 10 shows over the next three weekends, Lange said they have double-casted for some roles.
"It's unlike a traditional understudy where they only get on if the main actor is sick," Lange said. "But both of those actors will play those roles. Many of the leads and supporting actors may do something entirely different on some of the days. It takes some versatility."
Tickets for the show are $12 for adults and $8 for students/seniors.
At Waukesha West, the group will put on six shows - three this weekend and three next weekend. The Friday and Saturday shows each weekend are all at 7 p.m., while both Sunday shows are matinee performances at 2 p.m.
The musical is based on the book by Garry Marshall with the lyrics and music by Paul Williams and based on the TV show "Happy Days" with a 1959 setting in Milwaukee.
The plot centers on the group trying to save Arnold's malt shop from demolition by hosting a dance contest and a wrestling match.
Tickets for the show can be purchased at West's website, waukeshawest.org or at the school office from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
While it's not for another month, it's never too early to pencil in on your calendar Waukesha South's spring musical.
South's drama/music department will put on four performances of the musical, "Hairspray" from March 8 to 11.
Waukesha North's spring musical, "Footloose" is the last of the four to take place. It will occur from May 3 to 6 at the Waukesha North Auditorium.
"State Fair," Catholic Memorial High School Auditorium, 601 E. College Ave., 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Feb. 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19 and Feb. 26; $12 for adults, $8 for students/seniors
"Happy Days," Waukesha West High School Auditorium, 3301 Saylesville Road, 7 p.m. Friday, Saturday, Feb. 17 and Feb. 18; 2 p.m. Sunday and Feb. 19
"Hairspray," Waukesha South High School Auditorium, 401 E. Roberta Ave., March 8 to 11
"Footloose," Waukesha North High School Auditorium, 2222 Michigan Ave., May 3 to 6
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