If you were not one of the fortunate ones to see the play, Hello Dolly, at Windham High School this weekend, you must attend this week. It was amazing. Jon Miele, Tom Vail and Beth Barefoot Jones have done it again by putting on a production that showcases some of the most talented students I have seen. It took many students, parents and community members to make this happen and I want to thank you all. I have been at four different high schools in my career, all had strong drama programs, and this is one of the best musicals I have ever seen.

Jazmin deRice is outstanding as Dolly. I remember hearing her on the first day of school her freshman year. She is in Chamber Singers and I sat in the front row at the middle school at our first day meeting. I could hear her voice clearly. She has great stage presence, great comedic timing and an amazing voice. Doug Butler, the male lead, just took over the part 2 weeks ago. He took the play on his trip over vacation to learn his lines and worked this week to take over the lead. He was great. The duo of Sam Clarke and Kevin MacKaye as the shop workers is magic. They too have great comedic appeal, great voices and are wonderful actors. Allyson Chase and Katie Eastman complement them well. Brad Sheppard and Jennalee Curit add to the supporting roles.

There are many new faces in the cast in the large scenes but the surprise of the night was the boys who play the waiters in the restaurant. They sing, they dance and they act as a great ensemble. If you saw Grease here a few years ago, they are as wonderful as the boys who were in Greased Lighting. There are many newcomers and freshmen but the boys who stand out are Derek Hanrahan, Will Clemmer, Ben Toppi and Matt Sherburne. You may be used to seeing these boys on the soccer field, football team or basketball court but who knew they could sing and dance! Mac Evans, our salutatorian, does a great job in multiple parts and his mom Wesley Evans, is to be congratulated as the costumer.

The ensemble of girls does an elegant job of being the ladies of the period. Their costumes are stunning. Elyse Robichaud adds her talents as a tumbling cheerleader to the dance routines.

The tech crew and pit band only add to the production. As we get more and more used to our new facility, the quality of the sound and lighting only gets better. The sets were great. As you read the bios of the students in the play, you will see many connections to the Windham Community Theater. I am very thankful that we have such an extensive music program in the district and that students can make connections to theater in the community and middle school.

The play runs through this weekend with performances on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. Congratulations to Jon Miele and the entire cast and crew.

Deb McAfee,

Windham High School principal