The drama department of St. Thomas More Academy has a reputation for creating quality performances. While saying good-bye to summer and hello to a new school year, the kids in the drama department, led by drama instructor Lorraine Steinhoff, are ready to present their first-ever alumni production, "Night at the Wax Museum" at the Schwartz Center for the Arts this weekend.

The drama department of St. Thomas More Academy is a tight-knit family. So tight, in fact, that alumni were becoming audience regulars. Then, according to drama teacher Lorraine Steinhoff, the acting bug bit down hard, causing many former students to request another opportunity to shine in the spotlight of a student production.

Seeing an opportunity that could benefit the whole group. Steinhoff got down to work, found something the kids could sink their teeth into and after many hours of rehearsal, the gang is ready for their curtain call at the Schwartz Center for the Arts on Friday, Aug. 10 and Saturday, Aug. 11.




1 Adventurous appeal

The play, "Night at the Wax Museum," follows six unlucky students who wind up in summer school together. The teacher, wanting to take the boredom out of daily history lessons, arranges for the kids to help out in the town's new wax museum.

Steinhoff said the production will be fun for every age.

"It appeals to adults and children but we're really hoping to see lots of kids in the audience," Steinhoff said. "There are all these little nods to big adventure movies like 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'National Treasure' that I think everyone will recognize and enjoy."


2 Old melds with new

It takes a lot for a kids to give up a big chunk of their summer vacation, especially when school gets mentioned. That's not the case for this bunch. Each cast member has their own distinct reason for being involved but the prevailing theme is family.

Alumna Sarah Stevens, a 19-year-old incoming sophomore at Catholic University said drama was a big part of her high school experience.

"I was big into the program," Stevens said. "We were a big family and I missed my family. Getting to see everybody and see how the program's grown in just a year has also been great."

Soon-to-be senior Keanna Morgan agreed with Stevens and was anxious to see her friends who have graduated over the last several years while also soaking up their knowledge and advice.

"There were so many people I hadn't gotten to see since they graduated, especially the ones who graduated when I was just starting high school," Morgan said. "They've really helped us grow as actors and have guided us. We feed off of each other's energy for a better production.


3 Looking ahead

The proceeds of the group's first alumni production will go to future productions or perhaps even a storage shed for props.

"The money we make from this show will definitely go to good use," Steinhoff said. "We'd like to do more collaborations like this."

The alumni production also sets the stage for St. Thomas's regularly scheduled 2012-13 productions. Expect to see a dark morality tale, "Into the Woods" in Novemenber, "Seussical (the musical)" in March and an evening of one-act plays in May will close out the year.