McCluer High School Musical
McCluer High School, located in Ferguson, Mo., is a member of the only school district in the state of Missouri that is fully accredited and predominantly African American. We have the largest African American Thespian Troupe in the state of Missouri, but, unfortunately, the theatre department is functioning with no cushion to pay royalties. We receive no funds from the district and are expected to be self sufficient. Our local economy has been greatly impacted by the recession and parents simply cannot afford to attend performances that their children are participating in. Additionally, a full stage production has some costs that are non negotiable such as royalties, scenery, and costumes. The community has issues financially supporting fundraisers.
Our community needs a positive outlet to rebuild relations and trust. What could possibly be better than a fine arts outlet that is appropriate for the whole family? In the past, financial support has allowed Ferguson Florissant to produce shows that directly impacted students by helping them earn scholarships through competition. That generosity has allowed us to produce "The Wiz", "Dreamgirls" and "Chicago" (which earned students over $275,000 in college scholarships and has catapulted three of our alumni into theatrical careers, two on Broadway). The experiences have been amazing. We were able to bring in Linda Kennedy from the Black Rep to speak to the cast about HER experience as the first female Wiz when the show was performed in St. Louis. Students also had the opportunity to meet the cast of "Dreamgirls" backstage at the Muny and reprise "Chicago" for a performance at Edward Jones.
This year, we would love to produce, "Shrek the Musical" during February, and involve some students from the middle and elementary schools. The issue again is funding. This year it is a crucial concern as there is no funding for costuming, scenery or royalties. Of particular concern is transportation. We are the only high school in the St. Louis area that must "travel" to put on a musical; we do not have an auditorium and must pay to rent the James J Eagan center, and must also bus students to and from for rehearsal.
This grant would allow us to produce this play with the love and attention to detail that it deserves. Your donation would allow us to bring in professional actors to work with our students and discuss the themes of the show, hire a costume designer to teach students the art of costuming, and, MOST IMPORTANTLY, it would provide transportation to and from rehearsals to allow students to participate. It would also provide some meals for late rehearsals for homeless students, and help hire musicians to accompany the show. Producing this musical would open up the opportunity for us to participate in the St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards and enable some of our students to earn college scholarships.
We will perform the script for both the community and the 17 elementary schools and use any funds generated by this show to help purchase supplies such as tool and lumber for our theatre program. Our students will integrate the knowledge of fairy tale archetype and theme (Shrek is based on Chaucer’s “The Wife of Bath’s Tale” from the Canterbury Tales) into their history and English classes. The success of the play will be evidenced by student response journals to the performance. This project will reach over 50 students throughout the workshopping of the rehearsals and performances, and over 1500 students when the show was actually staged and available to an audience. Most importantly, your support will help bring unity, peace and healing to a troubled community. We will get as many goods and services donated as possible in order to make this dream a reality. Thank you for your consideration.