Riverside will not produce a musical this spring.
After a disappointing turnout for The Addams Family last year, Riverside’s Arts Department decided to cancel this year’s production and perform two plays, Steel Magnolias and Our Town, instead.
A musical is an expensive project for students and teachers. According to chorus teacher Jill Boliek, acquiring a license to perform Broadway shows like Beauty and the Beast and The Addams Family cost an average of $1,800 every year. The arts department must also pay for set supplies, costumes, and non-school musicians. The pianist for last year’s production of The Addams Family cost the school about $1,200. Altogether, it costs about $7,500 to produce a show.
It’s a worthwhile investment if the musical brings in lots of attendees like Beauty and the Beast two years ago. However, last year’s production of The Addams Family had low attendance and empty seats.
“We were just barely in the black, maybe a few dollars over,” Boliek said. The thin profit margin leaves little room in the budget for a new show this year. To make sure future musicals have better sales, the arts department decided to take this year off for planning and rest.
Theater teacher Monique Taylor said that both chorus and theatre students are upset. Seniors especially have expressed their sadness.
“I’m so disappointed!” said Donnell Blowe Jr., a senior. “The main role, Leonardo Tapia, from last year; he wanted me to succeed him. To not be able to have that opportunity sucks.”
“Whenever a change like this happens, the seniors are getting the short end of the stick.” Boliek said.
The musical could return next year, but it’s possible that it will return to an every-other-year event similarly to how it was run back before 2012. Boliek feels that this will help with planning, gives teachers some time to rest, and encourage productions of better quality.
Correction: In a previous edition of this article it was stated that a license for a Broadway show costs $18,000 and total costs amount to $24,000. Those facts were incorrect. Licensing for a Broadway show costs about $1,800. Total costs for Riverside’s school musical also amount to about $7,500.