Take a healthy dollop of spicy acting, throw in some breathtaking singing and finish it off with whipped up dance choreography…bake on the hottest stage in town…yes, that sounds like theatre at Woodlands International College.
Over the past few years, Woodlands students have had the opportunity of showcasing their creative talents in numerous theatrical genres – arguably none more exciting than the genre of Musical Theatre.
De Ja Vu (2010)
2010 saw the students taking to the stage in the dramatic fashion show “De Ja Vu”. It was a show like no other and had the audience standing on their feet in rapturous applause.
An incredible collaboration between the Grade 11 Students of 2010, the culturally talented students of Woodlands and some friends, and an incredibly talented creative department made up of staff and guest choreographers, costume designers and make-up artists, this production was ironically – given its name – a theatrical extravaganza so unique in its context that it has not been possible to recreate.
A magical amalgamation of fashion show and musical theatre – each distinct genres – De Ja Vu was an incredible tale of life retold through the beauty of musical theatre dressed up in creative fashion.
Each scene seemed unnervingly familiar – almost as if one had experienced it before – yet each transporting the viewer on a journey never yet experienced and woven together by the brilliance of a storyteller using the art of mime.
Snow White (2011)
The applause continued in 2011 as the curtain came down on the phenomenal production of “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves”. This pantomime (defined as “a theatrical entertainment, mainly for children, which involves music, topical jokes, and slapstick comedy and based on a fairy tale or nursery story”) ran for five nights with sold-out performances and had the audience wondering how it could possibly be topped.
Marking the Musical Theatre Renaissance at Woodlands, the production was the perfect medium for involving as many students as possible, and forming a solid foundation for the more serious nature of acting on a stage before a large audience.
Fame: The Musical (2013)
After the Pantomime “Snow White” in 2011, Woodlands found itself overflowing with young singers, actors, dancers and musicians desperate to be on the stage and all with dreams on making it in show business. What better show to then stage at Woodlands than the unmistakable title from the unforgettable film and television franchise “Fame -The Musical”? This remarkable film and series inspired generations to fight for fame and light up the sky like a flame!
The show follows the final class of New York City’s celebrated High School for the Performing Arts from their admission in 1980 to their graduation in 1984. All of the struggles, fears and triumphs – from prejudice to substance abuse – are depicted with razor-sharp focus as the young artists navigate the worlds of music, drama and dance.
This was an incredibly successful stage production that ensured that a love of Musical Theatre was being created and instilled at Woodlands. As they say in show business, “the show must go on” – and at Woodlands it appears as if it will for a very long time.
Central Perk: The Musical (2015)
In 2015, the College was faced with the reality that many of its senior and stage hardened performers had matriculated in 2014. The College was still blessed though, to have an abundance of incredibly talented young up-and-coming stars. Our seasoned performers had left a significant void behind and we needed to rebuild from the ground up. The challenge was to find a show that would allow us to enthral an audience and at the same time grow our young stars-in-the-making.
These youngsters deserved roles and characters with which they could grapple and develop within a storyline held up by the genre of musical theatre. With inspiration being drawn from the television sitcom “Friends” and the spectacular musical “We Will Rock You” – a new storyline evolved.
Central Perk: the Musical is the tale of an underground band of bohemian misfits whose aim it was to fight against the destruction of live entertainment. The New Regime declared that all entertainment had to be digitally created and distributed. The lives of all singers, dancers, musicians, actors and artists had been destroyed. Central Perk – the coffee shop – became the underground safe haven for these unwanted bohemian artists. It was here the revolution found its strength and musical theatre was reborn.
Despite the initial concerns at the beginning of the year, this show confirmed that young talent – no matter how inexperienced – should never be underestimated. Woodlands had proven once again that musical theatre was in incredible hands and, based on the success of this incredible show, planning for the next production could begin – and a production that would be fit for the 15th Birthday of the College.
Wicked: The Untold Story of the Witches of Oz (2017)
When Dorothy famously triumphed over the Wicked Witch, we only ever heard one side of the story. Gregory Maguire’s acclaimed 1995 novel, “Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West”, re-imagines the Land of Oz.
Wicked tells the incredible untold story of an unlikely but profound friendship between two young women who first meet as sorcery students at Shiz University: the blonde and very popular Glinda, and a misunderstood green girl named Elphaba. Following an encounter with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, their friendship reaches a crossroads and their lives take very different paths. Glinda’s unflinching desire for popularity sees her seduced by power while Elphaba’s determination to remain true to herself, and to those around her, will have unexpected and shocking consequences for her future. Their extraordinary adventures in Oz will ultimately see them fulfil their destinies as Glinda The Good and the Wicked Witch of the West.
In 2017 Woodlands International College turned 15 and this in itself demanded a production that would be worthy of celebration. And what better way to celebrate 15 years in education than to bring back some of our Alumni to be part of this birthday production?
Wicked had been on the cards for two years, but the two lead roles of Glinda and Elphaba are so challenging that they required two extremely talented and professional singers and actresses to fulfil the roles. To add to this, a supporting cast that was just as talented and a chorus that was filled with a combination of talent, courage, energy and spark, was demanded. Woodlands is so blessed that we managed to tick every box.
For the Gala Performance, many of the Woodlands Alumni who had graced the Woodlands stage over the past five years joined the cast and crew on stage to perform a number from Wicked in honour of the 15th Birthday and also to celebrate the incredible journey that Woodlands shared with so many young performers on the Woodlands stage. Spanning seven shows, with seven standing ovations, Woodlands was blessed with an immensely talented cast whose effortless and professional performances had the audience clamoring for more.