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Our Miss Brooks

Senior Class Play - Our Miss Brooks

Our Miss BrooksMidland seniors (with the help of a few other folk) have Talent, and our casting was a great success! "Our Miss Brooks", a delightful comedy (with a hint of romance), set in the 1950's, was presented to an appreciated audience on Saturday evening, March 6, 2010.

Miss Brooks is glad that she doesn’t have to put on the school play this year; that way she won't have to feud with Hugo, the basketball coach. He might just be the guy for her and she doesn't want anything to get in the way of getting HER man. But Mr. Wadsworth, the principal, has other ideas...

The follow review is courtesy of our "Mystery Reviewer"

If you were in the audience at the Senior Benefit presentation of "Our Miss Brooks," you would have heard hearty laughs, loud clapping, and exclamations of "Those kids sure do fit their characters!" Even afterward, there was much talk of the excellent job done by those young people who used to be "just kids in the church," but are now "young folks who know where they're going!"

Had the original Miss Brooks, played by Eve Arden so many years ago, been alive to see Lindsey Maddux, transformed by a new hairstyle and clothes of 50 years ago, she might have been worried about losing her job to this younger version of herself.

As Act I opened, there stood Ted Wilder (Kyle Breyer), who impressed the audience with his portrayal of the school’s star basketball player. Very tall Ted stood at the blackboard (handcrafted by Kyle’s dad when nobody could find a real one) very slowly writing the typical, "I will not copy .....," as ordered by his teacher, Miss Brooks. Often pleading to be let off the hook, he was always turned down by the teacher who sat stiffly at her desk, dreaming of the Knight in Shining Armor who would surely appear at her door in the near future. Even the fact that Ted HAD to be at basketball practice didn't change her mind.

After several interruptions by Miss Finch, the librarian (Lisa Craig), students Jane Drew (Shelby Seibold), and Rhonda Allen (Shawntee Harris), and Mrs. Allen, the know-it-all chairman of the school board (Beckie Fairchild), basketball coach Hugo (Zach Frishman) finally makes his way into the classroom. He pleads for Ted to be sent back to team practice!

As they talk, both Miss Brooks and Hugo find they have an urge (maybe secret) to find the ONE person they need to make their lives complete. While they are talking together about vacations and sailing trips, Ted stops writing his assignment and draws a picture of a sailboat on the board while he listens to their discussion, cheering each one on in turn.

Through the remaining two acts, more problems arise, thanks to the librarian letting out Miss Brooks' secret of reading books so she can keep up with Hugo's love of sailing. Miss Brooks also becomes the director for the school play, replacing Miss Audubon (Mrs. Bruette, MAA music teacher), who really wanted the job. When Mr. Wadsworth, the “do-it-MY-way!” principal (Chris Fairchild), reprimands Miss Brooks and demands that she be the director, she reluctantly agrees.

We are also introduced to Sylvia (Sarah Whitson), who very ably helps to organize Miss Brooks, whose mind is not always on the work demanded of a teacher. Doris (Melissa Willer), Elsie (Heather Naumann), Elaine (Abbey Adams), Martin (Robby Willer), Howey (Jacob Trana), and Ruby (Kirbi Yelorda) all add much to the atmosphere of the play as they discuss various aspects of school life, share bits and pieces of gossip, and take their turns at trying out for the play.

Stanley (Dylan Rada) is the proud owner of a bicycle that is used to provide various sound effects. Miss Brooks also goes wild when she climbs the ladder to toss out a mixture of soap powder snowflakes, making a slippery mess of the floor. In the midst of this action, while our plucky teacher is reaching the high point of her inventions, the principal arrives with more disgusted remarks about her need to be more like a teacher.

Sprinkled throughout the story is the feud between Jane and Rhonda; both of whom are aiming for the female lead in the play, not to mention standing by Ted, as well... Ted, with a "put-on" British accent, has already made sure that he would be the lead actor. To make matters worse, Rhonda, as the daughter of the overbearing school board chair, feels absolutely certain that Miss Brooks will have to choose her for the part. When she notices that Jane has an interest in Ted, just as she does, she works even harder to make life miserable for Jane.

A running gag throughout the play concerns two costly Chinese "vawzzes” donated by Mrs. Allen to provide a visual link to the play’s location, Shangri-La. After many false alarms (and a missed basketball or two), the expensive "vawzzes" are finally broken, much to the disgust and horror of Mrs. Allen.

Towards the end of the play, everything starts to happen at once: Martin is sent to the hospital so he can be checked for appendicitis, Hugo offers to fill in for him (much to the delight of Miss Brooks), and hidden basketballs and musical instruments are returned to their rightful owners. Ted and Jane manage to have a few quiet moments together, Mr. Wadsworth switches between utter despair and hope that all will go well, and Hugo and Miss Brooks quietly dream of spending future vacations together.

Senior class sponsor/Co-director Mary Murrill and Co-director Teresa Seltman should be well pleased with the cast, who very aptly entertained the audience for almost two hours. Midland can be proud, not only of the students who took part, but also of those who worked in the background to make the night a huge success. Photographers, food providers, sound producers, clothing researchers and purchasers, ticket printers, and many more individuals deserve recognition. More than once, in the days and even years to come, we will chuckle as we remember the highlights of the play.