Every year, Georgia High School Musical Theatre programs celebrate their student productions by participation in the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards – Shuler Hensley Awards, its namesake the winner of the prestigious Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award and Drama Desk Award. This summer, former nominees and winners have joined Theatre 5230’s production of Bring It On: The Musical, running July 20- 22, 2017 at the Chattahoochee High School (CHS) Theatre.
Allison Polaski, a special education teacher at Dolvin Elementary School, Alpharetta, has been nominated twice for Shuler Awards for choreography produced for Johns Creek High School (JCHS) productions of Once Upon a Mattress and The Addams Family. Polaski’s love of choreography began as a third grader after watching her mother choreograph Bye Bye Birdie. She laughs, “I was hooked and haven’t stopped since”. In addition, Polaski is also the JV Sideline Cheer Coach at JCHS. She has found that useful for this production. She explains, “The show’s content has required me to really stretch my usual comfort zone with technique and classical musical dance theatre styles with hip hop and cheer moves as well.” She appreciates having all kinds of talent coming together, adding the actors she is working with now are “spunky, confident, and have great dance experience”. Polaski brought in extra help too, leaning on CHS Cheer Coach Lorenzo Scott to conduct cheer clinics to bring the ensemble skills up to a professional look. She is confident she has created a very exciting dance experience that “won’t disappoint”. Polaski’s daughter Samantha, a Level-5 All Star champion cheerleader at the Stingray Allstars-Marietta is in the production too.
Shannan O’Dowd, Choral Director at JCHS, actually got the call to join the production this summer as the Music Director, from one of the Theatre 5230 producers, Jennie Fabianski, herself another Shuler nominee. O’Dowd states she is glad she did and is “absolutely loving community theatre”. O’Dowd admits she wasn’t expecting the level of talent she has walked into, but has been amazed at how much added fun it is to be “polishing and music making” rather than the usual high school production focus on “notes and rhythm”. She attributes the difference to “every single cast member is so passionate about being here and all want to improve their craft”. O’Dowd admits the production has given her a chance to grow as the music isn’t her typical genre. Her last musical direction was for the classic Cinderella at JCHS for which she earned the 2017 Shuler Award for Music Director. For this production, she says “the rap, the rhythm, combined with the hip hop and contemporary dancing and actual cheer stunting that Allison has put together is actually inspiring me to be even more in love with musical theatre” and envisions auditioning in future community productions.
The show will be performed July 20-22 at 7:00 PM and July 22 at 2:00 PM at Chattahoochee High School Theatre in Johns Creek. Tickets may be bought online now at http://www.theatre5230.com/tickets.html for $15.