By COLLEEN MCCARTHY
Dance class from 8 to 10 a.m. Chorus practice from 10 a.m. to noon. Either drama class or a summer theatre workshop from 1 to 3:30 p.m.
It makes for very busy days for the Summer Scholars Onstage campers, but it’s just a fraction of the work that goes into writing and producing three-act musical comedy in just a few short weeks.
Over 50 junior high and high school students are participating in this year’s camp. During the first week of the camp, 20 students brainstormed the concept and wrote the entire three-act musical. The musical is inspired by last week’s final space shuttle flight, and highlights different periods of our country’s infatuation with space. “2011: A Space Oddity” will look at the fantastical vision of space of the 1940s, the race to space in the 1960s, and the cash-strapped aerospace industry of present day, all with a comedic twist.
“I’m really excited about it and so far it’s the smoothest production we’ve had,” said George Bennett, a 4th year camper and junior counselor. Bennett is playing Bubbles, a chimpanzee test-pilot for Act III’s C.H.E.A.P., a startup aerospace company with very little cash. “The writers were ahead of schedule, we’re jumping into the songs and we’re jumping into the dances. And I think people are all very pleased with their roles. I know I am.”
As soon as week two began, they jumped right into learning the songs (which range from contemporary pop hits to music from the 1950s), practicing the choreography and memorizing their lines.
“The whole show has come together quite smoothly this year,” said Eric Fritzius, the camp’s script coordinator. “From the writing to the casting to the rehearsals, things have just kind of fallen perfectly into place.”
Summer Scholars Onstage is a tuition based camp for gifted and talented students run by the Mississippi State University Division of Continuing Education.The camp is sponsored in part by a grant from the Mississippi Arts Commission and the National Alliance for the Arts.
“2011: A Space Oddity,” which is the camp’s 30th production, will premiere July 22 at 7 p.m., with another performance on July 23 at 1 p.m. at McComas Hall on the Mississippi State University Campus. It is a free show and open to the public.