10 Weeks to 10 Years: Part 2

Anything Goes!

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In the fall of 2007, CenterStage presented its first musical revue. Anything Goes was a collection of songs spanning years and genres to showcase the talents and versatility of this new group.

The show consisted of 23 numbers. The band played 4 numbers including selections from the movie Happy Feet and “If I Only Had a Brain” from The Wizard of Oz.

The full chorus performed 8 numbers including “Proud Mary”, “Seasons of Love”, and “Anything Goes” from the musical of the same name.

Fun Fact: “Proud Mary” and “Seasons of Love” were performed in more recent CenterStage shows (2014 and 2015) as small ensemble numbers.

The theme that year gave a freedom to present songs that may not have a common thread on the surface, but were connected through stories, memories, and an overall passion for performance.

In the spirit of “Anything Goes” I asked a few performers (past and present) to pick ANY song they would like to see CenterStage tackle in the future. Here are some of the suggestions I received:

“One Day More” from Les Miserables

“Into the Fire” from The Scarlet Pimpernel

“Light Up” – Styx

“It’s all Right” – Huey Lewis and the News

“I’d Like To Teach The World To Sing”- New Seekers

“Come Fly With Me” – Frank Sinatra

Some members were not able to choose just one song, but they know anything chosen would need to live up to CenterStage’s glowing reputation:

“Anything that would let us pull out all the stops–band, orchestra, voices, lights, special effects, people dancing in the aisles–something that would let us draw the audience right into the fun on stage.”

With so many great songs, it is nothing short of impressive to see a group piece together visions from 30 different people in a seamless and exciting way. Anything Goes was the perfect way to introduce CenterStage and they have been raising the bar on musical entertainment ever since.

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While the themes and members have changed over the years, one thing remains the same: a dedication to quality. Maintaining that quality means a lot of practice. Within the last couple of years our performers have been able to record rehearsals for members to study and watch over the week.

That technology may have evolved since CenterStage’s first year, but trying to stay sharp throughout the season has always been there. In 2007, my mom, a CS performer, asked me to video tape some choreography practices to help her better prepare for the upcoming show.

As I started to put together this post my mind filled with questions. “I wonder if I still have that practice footage? Who keeps tapes from a practice they aren’t even involved in? If my mom needed this, why would I even have it? Even if I did find it, how do I get a video tape to my computer?”

Well, being a nostalgic pack-rat has finally paid off.

After only a few hours of frantically rewinding and re-watching tapes, I found these preparations for 2007’s Anything Goes! 

Ten years ago I was able to catch a glimpse of this magic and now I get to share it with you!

Check back next week as I get to relive my first time on stage with CS during Part Three of my 10 Weeks to 10 Years series.

To stay up to date with CenterStage this season make sure you like us on Facebook!

10 Weeks to 10 Years: Part 1

Countdown to Showtime!

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As of this week, we are 70 days away from opening our 2016 show: A Night on Broadway. That’s only 10 short weeks! 10 weeks to CenterStage Band and Show Choir’s 10th annual show.

In honor of the groups 10th season, I will be presenting a series I am calling “10 Weeks to 10 Years”. I will be sharing facts, highlights, and memories from members and fans of CenterStage to celebrate what this group has meant to the community over the last decade. So, let’s take a closer look at the group:

10 things you may not know about CenterStage

1. In 9 seasons CenterStage has performed 181 musical numbers:IMG_9096

66 were performed by the full chorus

26  were performed solely by the band

89 numbers were performed by an individual or a small ensemble

 

2. The CenterStage Choir has sung 10 different musical medleys featuring movie scores, disco favorites and a tribute to Queen. Even more medleys have been performed by the CenterStage Band.

 

3. 2008’s “New Broadway 101” was the group’s first all Broadway show, but there has been Broadway music performed every season.Broadway101

 

4. CenterStage is one, big, happy family! Members have performed alongside their significant others, children, parents, and siblings.

 

5. CenterStage has performed multiple songs by some artists and groups. The Beatles prove to be the favorite: their music has been featured more than 6 times in 4 different shows.

6. Some other repeat artists include The Jackson Five, Tina Turner, Queen and Elvis.

 

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7. We’re not kidding when we advertise “For All Ages”. Our choir members range in age from 25-80.

8. There are currently 25 performing members of the choir. 6 singers have been involved in all ten seasons of CenterStage.

9. 2 members are joining us for their first CenterStage Production.

10. “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from the musical Hairspray was the first song CenterStage ever performed as a group.

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This talented group of singers and musicians have been presenting free entertainment for the last decade and they are sure to continue for many decades to come.

Come be a part of our journey and help us celebrate 10 years of CenterStage this fall.

We present A Night on Broadway September 29-October 1 at the Grand Theatre in Wausau.

Like us on Facebook to stay up to date on our “10 Weeks to 10 Years” series!

 

 

 

5,6,7,8!

It’s summer: that means hot days, cold drinks, and lots of time with friends and family. For CenterStage performers it also means the start of choreography for our 2016 show: A Night On Broadway. We’ve been working hard learning music and planning small group numbers, but now it’s time to get moving. Really moving.

I personally didn’t really start dancing until I was in college, and even then it was only in the context of musical theatre. Now, as a performing member of CS, I have spent the last 4 years tapping into skills I never knew existed in me.

Choreography is more than just steps and spins, it becomes a collection of lessons in teamwork, focus, persistence, and learning that it is ok to laugh at yourself.

Let me give you a peek behind the scenes to show you some things I’ve learned while dancing with CenterStage.


Dancing is a great workout

Elbow

I was never into team sports, so it’s nice to know I have an athletic outlet every week at rehearsal.

Quality over Complexity 

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With attention to detail you can make even the easiest moves look impressive.

You come to rehearsal not to just learn your part—but also everyone else’s

Paula

We are a team and we are all here to make each other look good.

The moment you finally nail a move can change your whole mood

Finally

Take time to celebrate and hope you can repeat it.

Don’t be afraid to take the lead

Ear

If you learn a move faster than others you can help teach it to someone else.

A little encouragement goes a long way

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After a full rehearsal it’s nice to hear that all your hard work is paying off.

“Put your own style on it” has limits

Gangster

Just because you CAN break it down with the best of them, doesn’t always mean that you should. Sometimes it takes more focus to blend in than it does to stand out.

“One more time” is usually a lie

No More

Falling out of love with your favorite song after the 100th run-through is possible. But you’ll reignite the flame during the first performance.

We’re all in this together

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As a group we learn at different levels, in different ways and by the end of the process we all come together to put on a great show. There is no better feeling than knowing your fellow performers each put in 100%, not just for themselves, but for everyone around them.


From messing up the words to a song we were once able to recite in our sleep, and suddenly forgetting how to walk in a straight line, to being able to sing and dance at the same time, we go through quite the journey. One thing is for sure—we have a lot fun along the way!

We’ve been busy this summer and we won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Come see the final product of all our hard work as we dance through A Night On Broadway.