Dinner and a show - RC invites seniors to special showing of The Secret Garden

Marney Simon
Staff writer

It’s not often that folks can plan a night out in Braidwood to grab a bite and catch a play.

But the Reed-Custer High School drama department will make it a reality for local seniors, with a special performance of this year’s musical for the senior citizens of Braidwood.

On March 8, the Reed-Custer High School drama department will present a special performance of “The Secret Garden” at the district auditorium.

The night will start with a special spaghetti dinner at 5:30 p.m., followed by the musical at 6:30 p.m. Tickets for dinner and the show will cost just $5.

“It’s a good thing, we want our community to come to our school events, our plays and musicals,” said principal Tim Ricketts. “We really just want our community to know that we have very talented kids and teachers and staff members, and we want to reach out and get as many people here as possible.”

Ricketts said community performances have been becoming common practice for other high schools in the region, and officials at RCHS saw an opportunity to offer a special performance for local seniors. The school hopes to bring together the students and the community members while showcasing all the district has to offer.

“We’re just doing something simple, it’s a spaghetti, garlic bread, salad bar meal for $5, for date night. That’s a pretty good deal for date night,” Ricketts said. “We really hope that we can draw people in and they enjoy it, and then they can come back maybe another night, or maybe they come back next year for our fall play and musical. We really want to display our [assets], we have beautiful facilities, we have awesome kids who are talented. So, we want the community to come in and enjoy it.”

English teacher Angie Kanak is directing this year’s production, her directorial debut at RCHS.

The musical is based on the classic British novel of the same name.

Around 50 students will participate, as members of the cast, crew or pit.

“I was shocked at how many kids were excited,” Kanak said. “I think one reason that they were excited is because it’s a very popular choice for solo and ensemble selections, because the music won several Tony Awards, so the kids know the music.”

Kanak said that the musical, unlike some recent selections at Reed-Custer and other local schools, is less trendy. But, she said the students have been excited to bring it to the stage.

“Because the music department here is so strong, the kids were already very familiar with classic literature,” Kanak said. “If you talk to someone who is well versed in musical theater, they love ‘Secret Garden.’ But, it is not highly known… The music is traditional, it has a much more classical feel to it.”

Kanak said she’d like to alternate musicals at the high school, where some years will involve more trendy shows, while others will be more scaled down, smaller musicals.

The director noted that while people might not be as familiar with “The Secret Garden” as some other shows, it will be a musical to remember.

“There is going to be a niche group of people who really enjoy the plot,” Kanak said. “Everybody else will come because they love the people on stage, and that’s okay with me. And because we do have such a strong music program, very few high schools can pull this show off, but we just happen to have a lot of talent... We could pick any show and pull it off, because of the strength of the music program.”

The district is asking for folks to RSVP to the March 8 performance for local seniors by Friday, March 2. Reservation forms can be picked up at the high school or downloaded online at reedcusterband.com. Interested senior citizens can also contact music director Addie Dennis at 815-458-2166.

The Secret Garden will take the stage at the Reed-Custer Auditorium for regular shows on Friday and Saturday March 9 and 10 at 7 p.m., and Sunday March 11 at 2 p.m.