Thursday, July 13, 2006

Drama Logo

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

A CHORUS LINE Hits the Front Page


The LCHS Department of Theatre continued its traditon of producing "cutting edge" theatre with its Spring 2006 production of Michael Bennett's A CHORUS LINE.

The talented student performers worked extensively to create a professional production that captured the essence of the classic American musical that took the America and the Tony's by storm in the 1970's and 1980's when the musical was given a Special Golden Tony Award as the longest running musical on Broadway.

With a challenging vocal score, incredibly complicated and demanding dance sequences and a wonderful blend of both comedy and drama, the LCHS A CHORS LINE Team nailed its performances--especially closing night by capture the spirit of the production that will reopen on Broadway in October 2006.
With an incredibly simple set, stunning lights and a dedicated cast, the LCHS production was welcomed by audiences with excitement and thanked with well-deserved "standing ovations."
Students were congratulated with emails from literally around the world. Special thanks go out to all who worked so diligently to "Continue Our Winning Tradition of Excellence."

Thursday, March 30, 2006

"Why Teach Drama in Our Schools"


Drama is science.
Drama is mathematical.
Drama is foreign language.
Drama is history.
Drama is physical education.
Drama is language arts.
Drama is art.
Drama is business.
Drama is technology.
Drama is economics.

Drama is taught in our schools not because one is expected to major in theatre, not because one is expected to perform through life, not only so one can relax, not only so one can have fun…

Drama is taught in our schools so one will recognize beauty.

Drama is taught in our schools so one will be sensitive, so one will be closer to an infinite beyond this world, so one will have more love, more compassion, more gentleness, more good.

In short, more life.

Of what value will it be to make a prosperous living unless you know how to live?

That is why drama is taught in our schools.

Monday, February 13, 2006

LCHS Drama Production Contract

LCHS Department of Drama: Production Contract

1. Play well the part, for therein lies the glory. Give 100% of what is best about your talent, your leadership, your effort and your behavior during every rehearsal. We want you to do your best at every rehearsal. Challenge yourself to be a great team member and to contribute vocally and physically to every rehearsal and performance.

2. Do Your Homework. Your academic work should be your major focus. We also need you to meet the deadlines which have been established for the production. Failure to do so will not only let others down, it will the harm production. We will set aside a work area for students to work quietly in during rehearsals. During ALL CALLS and TECH DAYS there will be little to no-time for homework. We will work smart with our time, we need you to do that same. More than that, keep in mind that the IHSSAA's No Pass, No Play Rule is in effect. We value the other activity programs. Please make sure that you stay eligible to compete/participate next term.

3. We're Gonna FISH Every Day. We have a great cast and begun to build a nice ensemble. Let's get even more comfortable and knowledgeable of each other. Most of all let's make sure
that we (1) Play; (2) Make Someone's Day; (3) Choose Our Attitude; and (4) Be Present.

4. Please be on Time for All Rehearsals. Like in the professional world, early is on time. Please consider photo shoots, vocal warm-ups, "tech days", costume fittings, etc. Early is at least 5-10 minutes before the rehearsal is scheduled to begin or your call time on performance nights. If you should be late, enter the rehearsal or performance space quietly and respectfully as we may be in the middle of our opening talk or may be working. Please do try to be inconspicuous. We will discuss your tardy later in the rehearsal.5. Please be physically and mentally prepared to work when rehearsal begins. Please arrive soon enough to give yourself the needed amount of time to warm up mentally, vocally, and physically. Occasionally, there will be impromptu warm-ups as needed to extract an energetic performance.

6. Absence Policy.
A. SKIPS/No Show, No Call. Please inform Mr. McLaughlin or Marcy Hamsa in the Attendance Office by 7:40 of the morning of the absence. Of course, everyone has emergencies or other important previous commitments/family responsibilities and obligations. Any of these can and will be handled on a case by case basis. The reason for this rule deals with our need to plan for each rehearsal. You are important to our process. When you are absent, it affects all of us and our rehearsal plan. We want to use our time in the best way possible. If key players are missing, we may benefit by altering our rehearsal plan for the day.

Also, as we are preparing you to be successful in future activities, college activities, college classes, work during high school, any one who does not inform Mr. McLaughlin will be considered a "NO SHOW/NO CALL" or a SKIP. Please help us be successful by observing this rule that honors our shared time, our need to communicate with each other and--most importantly--our opinion to plan for success in a meaningful manner.
Other SKIPS include being absent from school with an illness, with outinforming Mr. McLaughlin or a school secretary. The reason for this deals with our need to plan for each rehearsal. You are important to our process.
One skip equals four hours of additional technical work; a second skip equals eight hours of additional technical work; the third skip will result in the actor being replaced.
See below for a great number of ways to contact Mr. McLaughlin concerning an absence.

There will be two other types of absences: EXCUSED and UNEXCUSED

B. Unexcused Absences: include work (one--possibly two--weeks after casting), non-school sponsored activities, haircuts, shopping, tanning, school activities whose meetings were scheduled after the production calendar is published. If there is a problem between activities, please contact your one of your directors who will be happy to visit with the other sponsor on your behalf. One unexcused absence will result in a verbal reminder of our policies and three hours additional technical work; the second unexcused absence will result in being removed from a production number or some element of the show and six hours of additional technical work; the third unexcused absence will result in the ensemble member being replaced. Three unexcused tardies equals one unexcused absence. Any tardy longer than 20 minutes is equal to an unexcused absence. Once again, emergencies will be handled in a reasonable manner.

7. Communication is Key.

A. The Drama Callboard. Check the main bulletin drama bulletin board in the Performing Arts Wing (between the drama room and the band room) for changes in schedule, calls for technical rehearsals, measurements, etc. at the beginning and end of each day.

B. Your Responsibility to Communicate with the Director Coordinating Attendance. Unless an emergency, leaving a last minute phone message is not appropriate or good practice for students whom we are trying to educate. In case of emergency and/or occasion which you will be absent or late from rehearsal- please communicate with Mr. McLaughlin. Mr. McLaughlin will be the coordinating director during all productions and he will be responsible for coordinating all areas of the production, scheduling, production administration, attendance and discipline. Ms. Sievers, Mr. Johnson and Mr. Walters (during the musical) are all fantastic directors. We're sure that you will treat them with respect. If for some reason you are going to miss a rehearsal (and you know it) you need to communicate that to the director verbally (and with a written reminder on an absence sheet provided Mr. McLaughlin) by 7:30 a.m. on the morning of that day at the latest. This is done to allow rescheduling as needed. PLEASE REMEMBER THAT MR. McLAUGHLIN COORDINATES ABSENCES IN ORDER TO ADJUST REHEARSAL PLANS.

Tier One Ways to communicate DIRECTLY with Mr. McLaughlin:
See Mr. McLaughlin as soon as you are aware of a conflict.
Drop my Mr. McLaughlin's room and tell him in person.

If Mr. McLaughlin is taking care of other responsibilities or unavailabe because he is addressing other professional responsibilities, leave a note on his desk or on one of the white boards in the drama room.

High School Office--366.8222
Drama Office After School Hours--366.8283
Mr. McLaughlin's Cell Phone--(712) 326-8557
School Email--
Home Email-- LC Drama Blog--
Mr. McLaughlin's Class Blog--
Lewis Central Web-site--
Tier Two Ways to communicate INDIRECTLY with Mr. McLaughlin:

Main School Switchboard--
366.8222 Receptionist (Mrs. Mary Knavel);
366.8322--Principal's Assistant (Mrs. Donna Elliff);
366-8227--Activities Treasurer (Charlotte Butterbaugh);
366-8245 Activities Director's Assistant (Ms. Cindy Brockman)

I do not always have the opportunity to check my voice mail. My planning period is 6th Hour for first and second term (1:45 a.m.-2:45 p.m.) and 4th Hour for third term (10:50-12:35, my lunch falls during this time as well)


Please use this only for emergencies. My office phone and cell phone is how I handle most calls. Please be patient as my first responsibility is to teach my students and direct. Unless an emergency, I will not take calls during classes or rehearsals on my office or cell phone.

Home phone--322.6844 I will return calls only until 9:30 p.m. If calling later is an option, you should communicate that in your voice mail. I would prefer if you used this number on weekends only or as a LAST RESORT.

School Email--
Mr. McLaughlin's Class Blog--
Lewis Central Web-site--

C. Daily Announcements. Announcements in the bulletin will be used to communicate to the company and the crew. Please check the bulletin and listen to the daily announcements. If you can't hear the daily announcements, please read one of the many posted copies throughout our school. If your classroom is too noisy to hear announcements, please ask your teacher if you can listen in the hallway.

D. Please Communicate in Our Process. If you have suggestions, ideas, or complaints, come see Mr. McLaughlin immediately. Of course, timeliness is very important in the expression of these feelings. Complaints should be discussed (as will any I have) in private. IDEAS and SUGGESTIONS are almost always worthy of discussion. Please do not blurt out unsolicited suggestions or challenge one of the directors in front of the rest of the cast. In other words, use good judgment.
6. Bring Materials to Rehearsals on Time. Please bring paper and a pencil with you and wear clothing in which you feel comfortable/fits your character. Using suggestive costuming early on will help you get to know your character. There will be a required date to begin wearing character shoes, a date to bring rehearsal props and to wear suggestive costumes. These will be found in the master calendar.

7. Our Focus Belongs on Stage. Please be courteous to actors when not involved in a scene or work in progress. It's fine to have conversations but please have them in the hallways or in the commons and not in the wings of the stage. We will observe the "on-boards" rule. Please be ready to take stage when called. When not on stage (or in break) you should be working on homework, building team, relaxing quietly or on developing your character, lines, or other elements of the show.

8. Show Respect for the Rehearsal Space and Theatre. Please treat the rehearsal area with respect. No food or soft-drinks will be allowed in the Drama Room (new carpet--woo hoo!) and in the auditorium--students will leave all food & non-water drinks in the lobby. Only water bottles or cups of ice-water with lids will be allowed into the auditorium. Respect, of course, goes beyond just respect of the physical space. We have a beautiful facility and want to keep it in tip-top shape. We need you to have water during rehearsals. Keeping your throat in great condition and your brain watered (I know it sounds silly) are important. Also, please eat in a healthy manner. Food is the fuel that will drive your rehearsals and performances.

9. Use Only Your Props. Please do not play with the rehearsal or final properties. PLEASE DON'T PLAY WITH OR TOUCH A PROP WHICH IS NOT YOURS--EVEN THE BEST-INTENTIONED EFFORTS CAUSE PROBLEMS OCCASSIONALLY. Further, unless using the prop in rehearsal or performance- make sure it is where it belongs and placed back where it belongs after using it. PROPS SHOULD BE RETURNED TO THE PROP TABLE FOLLOWING A REHEARSAL OR SHOW. If you are caught tampering/handling another actor�s property, we will have you join our props crew (responsible for cleaning, storage, maintenance, etc. of the props).

10. Code of Conduct. No team member is bigger than the production. Partying and any other violation of the code of conduct will jeopardize the show. Your actions impact others, so be responsible. The Rules and Regulations, Code of Conduct and Code of Ethics exist because they are proven correlates to success, we value them and our school system values them. They will be enforced equitably to all students and adults.

11. Ask Questions if You Don't Know. Feel free to ask questions at appropriate times. This is how the process and show will evolve and grow. I, of course, will not be the answer person. Part of the joy of theatre is collaboration (self and group discovery), which is just as important as what I think. However, a show (at a certain point) can not be directed by committee. Thus, final decisions will have to be chosen by one objective eye: mine. Be cautious, then, about the suggestions you force upon others. Most times it is offensive to a fellow artist to impose your interpretation upon them.

12. Be Good to Yourself. To get better we all must be open to constructive coaching. Don�t beat yourself up. The coaching that is given in rehearsal is meant to make you better, not meant to make you question yourself. View the director's comments as a way to grow- not a reason to regress.

13. No One is Above Our Rules. Teams have rules for a reason and they apply to everyone on the team. Mr. McLaughlin reserves the right to, if ANY BREACH of these rules occurs, ask anyone to leave the ensemble. Mr. McLaughlin

14. Until We Open, You are an Ambassador for Our Show. All teams have great, average and even bad rehearsals. We don't want to give away too much of the show too early. What you say about our process and each other in front of others affect the show. This is good "pre-professional" practice for you. Know that what happens in these four walls stays here. Comments, which you make about the production, are positive in nature both within the theatre and outside the theatre. Do everything you can do give the show good press.

15. Take Care of Your Voice. If placed on vocal rest, you will follow the constraints which Mr. McLaughlin, Ms. Sievers or Mr. Johnson places upon you. This will include limited talking, no screaming, exclusion of caffeine from the diet, exclusion of carbonation from the diet, etc. Please inform us if your voice is getting "rough." We will be teaching you how to support your voice. Please make sure that you do your best to learn and practice this.

16. A Team Includes Everyone, Including the Coaches. Let's do our best to make sure everyone in included. Cliques cannot be tolerated during rehearsal time or within a team; they are counter-productive. WE ARE ONE BIG TEAM. THE BIGGER THE TEAM NUMBERS THE HARDER WE MUST WORK TO BE A TEAM.

17. An Actors Job is to Act. Actors will not direct other actors. Please only solicit suggestions when you are asked to provide them. Let other actor's take the time to decide and process.

18. Our Code of Ethics is a Part of Our Rules. Read the CODE OF ETHICS and respect the guidelines set down in that document. Many seem second nature. That's great if they do. If they seem cliche- remember, the reason that cliches are cliches is that they contain a nugget of truth.

19. Listen and Watch.

20. Physical Appearance and Hair. Please do not drastically change your physical appearance or hair without visiting with Mr. McLaughlin. Hair styles in productions need to adhere to the style and cut of the period.


I acknowledge that these rules have been explained to me and I understand each rule and the consequences for violating these rules. I understand by signing this document that I am bound to the rules and regulations in these documents. I also understand the consequences outlined for poor behavior, absences, lack of effort, etc. I understand that the consequences for violating any one or more of these rules may result in my suspension or replacement.
Director's signatures:

Tom McLaughlin, Director of Drama/Coordinating Director Date