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also below: the talent shows
Whole School Shows – Musicals & Pantomimes
“The Pirates of Penzance”
1969 – “The Mikado”
1971 – “The Gondoliers“
1973 – “HMS Pinafore”
1981 – Panto “Sing a Song of Sixpence”
1983 – Panto “Hickory Dickory Dock”
1996 – “Calamity Jane”
1997 – “Viva Mexico”
1999 – “Oliver”
2003 – “Annie Get Your Gun”
2004 – “The Sound of Music”
2006 – “Oklahoma”
2007 – “The Wizard of Oz”
“Our dream has become a reality”, wrote Sister Pauline in the programme of “The Pirates Of Penzance” in 1967. The new building offered new facilities and opportunities. A team of staff and pupils, under Joe Mannion as producer and Harry McFarlane as musical director, presented “our first Gilbert and Sullivan”. “The Mikado” and “The Gondoliers” were produced by Mr J Brodie, then “HMS Pinafore” in 1973.
Mr Brodie recalls: “These operettas engendered a wonderful co-operation between members of staff, and enhanced relationships with pupils, and will revive fond memories for all concerned.” Also assisting (in 1971) were Mrs E McDonald, Mr J Leishman, Mr J Blair, Mr J Kennedy, Mr D H Dewar, Mr G Forbes, Mrs G McKinley, Mrs D Penno, Mrs J Happs, Miss F Murphy, Mrs Barkey, Mrs Haddow, Sr Dominic Savio, and Mr Dawson. A photo from the 1967 “Pirates” is on p.80. The 1971 Duke and Duchess of Plaza-Toro were Michael Monaghan and Doreen McNairney; other principals included John Moore and Evelyn Pollock, and there was a 15-strong orchestra. Stars of “HMS Pinafore” included Michael Gray, John Boothman, Garry Currie, Maria Doyle, Alicia Laughland and Anne Scullion, with Stephen (‘Dick Deadeye’) Motroni’s combination of deep singing voice and acting talent. - see Art Dept at work (from p.73) below.
Mr J Leishman and his team built the stunning sets, and the Art Department painted them (photo p.73). The operettas lapsed when we lost Mr McFarlane to Queen Margaret Academy. Then, in the early 1980s, Mr J Gow and Mrs A Adamson as Musical Directors, with Mr I Dickson as producer, organised two Christmas pantomimes with complex sets and large casts, including Brian Higgins as the Dame and Danny Moriarty as stage manager in charge of the flash powder ignited by flash bulbs.
Mrs Dorothy Goss has co-ordinated the final series of musicals. “Calamity Jane” (1996, directed by Mr P Carmichael and Mr M Docherty) starred Gary McLeish, Simone Lucas as Jane, Julie Hughes and John Paul Wilson. Leeon Graham, who has since specialised in theatre skills, played Mama Inez in “Viva Mexico” with Stephen Cunningham as Ramon and Ann Gemmell as Raquelita, while David Russell‘s Pablo and Paul Moore’s Pepe kept the nonsense going. In 1999, Oliver was played by Stephen Fisher, The Artful Dodger by Linda O’Neill and Fagin by Chris Wilson. “Annie Get Your Gun” saw Michelle Rainey in the 2003 title role. “The Sound of Music” in 2004 starred Linda O’Neill as Maria (and some past pupils as singing nuns). In “Oklahoma” (2006), Kevin Murphy (Curly) competed with Martin Braniff (Jud) for the hand of Louise McGinness (Laurey). This year, in “The Wizard of Oz”, Louise plays Dorothy in the final St Michael’s musical.
Curricular pressures have led to hiring stage sets rather than constructing them, but otherwise a band of either dedicated and/or crazy staff have assisted with costumes, participated in the orchestra (including Mrs G Malkin, Mr T Murphy and Mr G Ritchie), and increasingly enjoyed small but memorable cameo roles on stage (including Mrs A Brown, Mr J Coxhead, Mrs M McArthur, Mr McIlroy and Mr P Semple). Mr Dickson, Mrs McArthur and Miss O’Donnell have directed, and Mr L Hornby has stage managed, but the major contribution, over recent years, has been from Mrs Goss and her Music Dept assistants, including Mrs P Daly (nee Vogwell) and Mrs De Gomez.
Through all the many staff and pupils involved (far too many to name here) over 40 years, school life has been enriched and many pupils have gained immeasurably, in skills and in confidence.
(summary prepared by I J Dickson)
Mr J Benet Brodie (Art teacher, later APT Guidance, then PT Guidance, St Mungo’s House), Mr Vincent Campbell (PT Art) and Mr Tom Nellany (Art teacher, later APT Guidance, St Mungo’s, later PT Art) painting the set of “HMS Pinafore” in 1973. Mr Brodie was producer of this and the previous St Michael’s musical, “The Gondoliers”, in 1971.
Well done to all who have faced a packed hall at one of the S6-organised end-of-term talent shows – their fellow-pupils will them to do well, and staff and seniors form the judging panels. Some reports, written in 2007:
In my 2nd year, the school held an X-Factor. Mrs Taylor and Mrs Brown did the Cheeky Girls. Let me put it this way. I would never in a million years have done it. But I take my hat off to them – it was funny and the school enjoyed it. Miss O’Donnell, Mr Semple, Miss McFadden, Mrs Forrest and Mrs Daly did the Spice Girls (in that order on the photo). If I had done it, I would never have come back to school. (Samantha Davidson)
This year, Mr Semple and Miss McFadden were Scissor Sisters in the talent show. (Gemma Woods)
I and my band won it when we were acting as ‘The Killers’. (James Murphy)
I and my friends entered X-Factor for a laugh, singing “Never Had A Dream” by S Club 7. There were two at each mike and one, Lauren Giffney, at the centre mike. We decided that whoever wasn’t singing was just to sway. Lauren being Lauren, didn’t just sway. She snapped her fingers and shook her head from side to side. She looked like a right idiot! She has never lived it down since! (Teri Martin)
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