Musical “Junior High” takes the stage at SAU

JrHighPoster (1)Spring Arbor University students present a ’60s-era musical, “Junior High,” on stage Feb. 6-9. Performances are in White Auditorium on Feb. 6, 7, and 8, at 8 p.m. and on Feb. 9, at 3 p.m.

Written and directed by SAU’s Paul Patton, department chair and associate professor of communication, “Junior High” chronicles one week in the life of an eighth grade class at Emerson Junior High School in Detroit during 1965.

“Many of the scenes, even exact lines, are taken right from my eighth grade experience in 1965,” Patton said. “The main characters are composites of folks I knew, loved, feared, envied. The protagonist is a composite of my inner turmoil and the outer taunts and physical assaults endured by a classmate.”

The story was originally written in the early 1980s for an ensemble of junior high-aged actors. Patton later decided to tell the story using young adults who weren’t as close in age to the characters. The musical premiered at Trinity House Theater (Livonia, Mich.) in 1983 and was part of their theater season for several years. The 2014 production at SAU pays tribute to the SAU production of “Junior High” in 2006.

Patton hopes to publish the piece and feels this production will prepare the musical for publication. “I’m excited for our audiences to witness an impassioned cast dedicated to telling a story well,” Patton said.

Tickets are $9 for general admission, and $6 for SAU students and employees. Call the SAU theater box office at 517.750.6500 to reserve tickets.

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