A Musical For Today: BHS PAC Performing ‘9 To 5, The Musical’ March 22-24

Photo: The performance poster for “9 to 5, The Musical”

With the nation focused on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movement, country singer Dolly Parton said last month that now is a good time to remake her hit 1980’s film, “9 to 5,” one of the first to highlight sexual harassment of women in the workforce.

So it’s timely that the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company shines a light on a major social issue with its spring staging of Parton’s musical version of “9 to 5.” Based on the hit movie, “9 to 5, The Musical” features music and lyrics by Parton. It is upbeat, funny, full of great singing & dance numbers and delivers a message about empowerment that is relevant and important today.

“9 to 5, The Musical” will take place at Belmont High School’s auditorium on Thursday, and Friday, March 22 and 23 at 7 p.m. and two performances on Saturday, March 24, a matinee at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets on sale online and at Champions in Belmont Center.
ADULTS: $15 in advance, $18 at the door
STUDENTS: $10 (Belmont High students get half-price tickets for Thursday’s performance)

According to Performing Arts Company’s award-winning Producer and Director Ezra Flam, selecting “9 to 5” occurred after talking to the students “and looking for a show that met all of these demands and felt like it would inspire and excite the cast/crew and artistic team.”

“I didn’t know anything about 9 to 5 other than that it was ‘the Dolly Parton’ musical, and I didn’t know of any other high schools that had done the show. However, after we did one of the songs from the show at Broadway Night [in the fall], I decided to give it a read. I was only halfway through the script when I knew this was the show for us,” said Flam.

“The heart of the show is a friendship between three women, which inspires all of them to find strength in themselves and in one another. The backdrop of the show is a musical comedy: the songs are fun, there’s lots of humor, and tons of dance,” said Flam.

“However, against that backdrop is also a serious look at gender inequality in the workplace. We have taken the opportunity to talk in rehearsal about gender discrimination, sexual harassment, fair labor practices and the ways in which the landscape has – and hasn’t – changed in the last 40 years. With the current national awareness about many of these issues, students have been able to make some meaningful and thoughtful connections between the events of the show, the modern world, and their own lives,” said Flam

“9 to 5: The Musical” is set in the late 1970s at the fictional Consolidated Industries. Three female employees – Violet, Judy, and Doralee – are tired of being overlooked, belittled and harassed by their boss. What starts out as a fantasy of getting rid of him turns into a comical reality when they end up kidnapping him by accident. The three women then take control of the office and institute a series of new policies, which increase employee morale and productivity.

The original movie, starring Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, and Parton, was made in 1980, and the musical adaptation was written in 2008. Besides the title song was written for the movie, the rest of the music was written by Parton for the musical.

“9 to 5” is appropriate for Middle School and older audience members. The show contains language and moments that may not be appropriate for younger audiences: parents may want to read a synopsis or watch the movie before deciding to bring young kids. Scenes depict sexual harassment, adult situations, and some adult language.

“This production showcases what the Performing Arts Company does best: give our actors and stage crew the chance to learn about theater by creating a fully realized production,” said Flam.

“As always, the singing and dancing are sure to be a real highlight. There’s a wonderfully fun sequence of scenes when the three main characters fantasize about getting rid of the boss which takes us from a jazzy noir-inspired dance to a rodeo hoedown to a live-action animated fairy-tale. The opening number of Act 2 features tap dance, and there’s much more fun choreography throughout,” said Flam.

“The music in this show is also a challenge for students, but once they have been meeting well. Many songs feature complicated vocal harmonies and the cast sounds strong. 13 student musicians have been rehearsing with Orchestra Director Margot Reavey and will help bring all of that music to life,” he said

“It’s also been fun for the tech crew to find a way to make the late 1970s feel bright and vibrant. We have pumped up some of the classic colors of the era to give it a bit of a pop feel, and the scenery, costumes, lighting, and props will definitely lend a fun vibe to the overall experience,” said Flam.

Get Your ‘Jeopardy’ On At The BHS PAC Annual Trivia Night Friday, Feb. 9

Photo: Homer will be there.

The Belmont High School Performing Arts Company’s second annual Trivia Night will take place on Friday, Feb. 9, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Beech Street Center, 266 Beech St. This event will be a great opportunity for the Belmont residents, friends and colleagues to participate in an entertaining evening of friendly competition and community building to the support the BHS Performing Arts Company.

Eventgoers can form a team of 6 to 8 people prior to the event, or join a team upon arrival. The event includes free wine, beer and food from local vendors, with plenty of time to socialize between trivia rounds. Participating vendors include Foodie’s (lead donor), Craft Beer Cellar, Il Casale, The Loading Dock, Trader Joe’s, Theo’s Pizza, Iggy’s Bread and more.

Attendees will have the chance to meet and mingle with the staff who work on the PAC shows, including producer/director Ezra Flam and choreographer Jenny Lifson. Funds raised will go towards the purchase of new technical equipment for the PAC and the Dan Scharfman College Scholarship Fund, which is awarded to two graduating PAC students each year.

Tickets are on sale for $40. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit bhs-pac.org/trivia-night.html or email Marcia Haines, chairperson of Patrons, the PAC parent group, at patronsmarcia@gmail.com.

Twice The Fun: Two Improv Shows On Tap Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3

Photo: Improv this week.
The Full Winter Improv Show is back with twice the laugh over twice the shows.

After selling out Belmont High’s Little Theater for both the Winter and Spring shows last year, the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company has added a second date to its winter show with performances on Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3. Come once or come both nights: each show is guaranteed to be it’s own unique event, featuring games and scenes all made up on the spot based on audience suggestions.

The shows will feature the 35 member Improv Troupe performing plots with names such as “I can do better”, “Road trip”, and my favorite, “Hey, waiter!”
The two performances are Friday, Feb. 2 and Saturday, Feb. 3 with the curtain going up at 7 p.m. in the Belmont High Little Theater. Tickets are $5 for adults ($7 for both shows) with free admission to students.

From the Headlines: Belmont High Performing Arts To Stage ‘9 to 5’ As Spring Musical

Photo: The poster for the show.

It is a show ripped from today’s headlines; The Belmont High School Performance Arts Company’s Spring Musical will be “9 to 5: The Musical” with shows performed from March 22 to 24, 2018. Based on the hit 1980 movie, ‘9 to 5’ features music written for the show by Dolly Parton.

“It is upbeat, funny, full of great singing & dance numbers and delivers a message about empowerment that is relevant and important today,” said Ezra Flam, Belmont High’s Theater Specialist and Performing Arts Company Producer/Director.

“The plot centers around three women in the workplace who get fed up with being harassed by their sexist boss and decide to stand up for themselves and turn the office into a place where fairness and compassion prevails. The educational opportunity to have timely and relevant conversations about these issues with so many students is very exciting,” said Flam.

“It’s also a very fun show, with songs that run the range in style from pop to rock to country to contemporary musical theater. It definitely has something for everyone,” he said.

And PAC fans can expect another 

“Auditions are happening now, and this is already shaping up to be another big show for the PAC, with over 80 kids coming out to audition,” said Flam.

Dancing With The Stars: Belmont High’s ‘Chicago’ Bring Homes Musical Gold

Photo: The “Chicago” cast in one final pose.

They can tango, do the bunny hop, the shimmy shake, razzle dazzle, and, when need be, perform a reverse standing somersault.

And for all that jazz, the dancers in the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company’s Spring musical production of “Chicago” walked away with serious bling at the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild’s annual Musical Theater Award Ceremony – think the Tony’s for Bay State high schools – recognizing excellent work by Middle and High Schools on Saturday, June 24.

Nominated in seven categories including the prestigious “Best Overall Production,” BHS PAC took home four awards:

  • Lighting Design and Execution
  • Specialty Ensemble: Featured Dancers
  • Dance: Choreography and Execution
  • Student Orchestra

See a video preview of the show here.

“Congratulations go to all of the cast, crew, and staff who worked on the show. Being nominated for ‘Best Overall Production’ is an honor that is shared by the whole production team for strong work across the board,” said Ezra Flam, “Chicago”s producer/director.

The individual winners are:

  • Lighting Design and Execution: Lighting Designer Chris Fournier, and Lighting Crew Chiefs Addie Leabman (BHS ’17) and Daphne Kaxiras (BHS ’17).
  • Student Orchestra: Band Director Paul Ketchen.
  • Dance Choreography and Execution: Choreographer Jenny Lifson
  • Specialty Ensemble: Featured Dancers: Aidan Hamell, Alex Aleksandrov, Alyssa Bodmer, Alyssa Allen, Amelia Ickes, Andre Ramos, Becca Schwartz, Cheyenne Isaac, Edward Stafford, Elana Chen-Jones, Grace Curtis, Izzy Lazenby, Julia Cunningham, Julia Giatrelis, Kseniya Dzhala, Lennart Nielsen, Liz Biondo, Megan Bodmer, Molly Thomas, Nicole Thoma, Noam Bar-Gill, Raffi Manjikian, Wonyoung Jang and Zoe Armstrong.

“I want to thank to all of the students in the PAC, the parents and community members who support our work and the Belmont faculty and administration,” said Flam.

‘While the recognition for ‘Chicago’ is nice, I am most grateful that I have the wonderful opportunity to run a theater program where the focus is on giving students a strong education in theater and building a community where all students feel welcome and supported,” he said.

At the ceremony, Lea Grace Swinson (BHS ’17) performed “When You’re Good to Mama” to represent the production in the “Best Overall Production” category.

BHS PAC’s ‘Chicago’ Nominated for Best High School Production

Photo: One of the best show’s this year; BHS PAC’s “Chicago”

Belmont High’s Performing Arts Company’s production of the musical “Chicago” has been nominated as one of the top show produced by a high school this year.

Wednesday, May 31, the Massachusetts Educational Theatre Guild announced nominations for its annual Musical Theater Awards and Chicago was nominated in several categories including:

  • Best Lighting Design and Execution
  • Best Stage Management
  • Best Student Orchestra
  • Best Dance Ensemble
  • Best Specialty Ensemble: The Featured Dancers
  • Best Featured Actress: Miriam Cubstead at Hunyak
  • Best Overall Production

“A huge congratulation goes first and foremost to the entire student cast and crew of the show,” said Ezra Flam, the high school’s Theater Specialist, and “Chicago”‘s Producer/Director

“As the Best Overall Production nomination indicates, every element of our show was strong, not just those that were nominated. It’s a testament to the hard work of all of our students who put so much of their time, energy and passion into the show,” he said.

Forty-eight high schools across the state submitted productions for consideration this year.  Each production was seen by three adjudicators who scored the shows in some categories.  In each category, the five or six highest scoring productions/individuals were nominated for their work, and five shows were selected by a panel as nominees for “Best Overall Production.”

Flam also congratulated and thanked the adults “whose contributions to the show and worked with the PAC is an essential part of what we do” including Allie Lutkevich, Vocal Director;  JennyLifson, Choreographer; Paul Ketchen, Pit Band Director; Chris Fournier, Lighting Designer;  Anna Moss, Scenic Designer; Ian O’Malley, Technical Director; and Lila West, costume designer.

“More than the public recognition, I am proud of the show and of the work of the Performing Arts Company as a whole.  I am lucky to work every day with a wonderful group of students and colleagues,” said Flam.

The MET Award Ceremony will be held June 24 at the Cutler Majestic Theater in Boston. All the nominees are recognized, with an award presented to the top scoring school in each category.

Performing Arts Company’s One Acts on Stage Friday, Saturday

Photo: This year’s poster

The final act of the 2016-17 theatrical season by the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company takes place this holiday weekend with the annual student-directed “One Act Festival.” 

Featuring 10-minute plays directed by PAC members (typically seniors), the One Acts are a mix of comedy, drama and everything in between. 

There are three performances:

Friday, May 26 at 7 p.m.
Saturday, May 27 at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m.

One Acts are extremely popular and traditionally sell out so get your tickets soon.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for students. Tickets can be obtained at Champions in Belmont Center and online here: Buy Tickets Online.

CONTENT WARNING: Some of the One Act Plays contain mature themes or adult language, which may not be suitable for children.

Celebrate The Season at the Holiday Coffeehouse Friday at BHS

Photo: The poster for the Holiday Coffeehouse Fundraiser

Join the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company for its annual Holiday Coffeehouse Fundraiser taking place on Friday, Dec. 16 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Belmont High School  cafeteria.

The Holiday Coffeehouse has become an yearly favorite PAC tradition. Students transform the cafeteria into a cozy performance hall for an evening of songs, good food and festive celebration. Food and drink from local restaurants, along with home-made desserts complement the musical talents of BHS Students, who will perform a wide variety of songs including pop hits, original songs and the always-popular “Big Brass Band.”

Refreshements (dinner, drinks and desserts) will be sold.

Admission: $5 for Students, $10 Adults. Tickets sold at the door.

All proceeds go to scholarships for the PAC New York trip later in the school year.

Hamlet: Belmont High’s Fall Production More Than Just About Revenge [VIDEO/PHOTOS]

Photo: Jasper Wolf as Hamlet

Ezra Flam loves directing Shakespeare. And of all the plays in the folio, the director and producer of the Belmont High School Performance Arts Company’s production of “Hamlet” is drawn most to the tragedy of the Prince of Denmark.

“It’s my favorite Shakespeare play and so for me I love everything about it,” said Flam who is following a long-time Belmont High tradition of putting on productions of the Bard’s works with Hamlet.

“For me in particular, I do love the way the play balances comedy, introspection, serious drama and tragedy. It’s more than just a revenge story. It really is an existential rumination on life,” said Flam.

“I think Hamlet the character has so many points in the play where he particularly articulates that we make and do with our lives, and provides us an awareness and a sense of that we have a finite time on earth,” he said. 

“There are some really beautiful meditations on that theme,” said Flam.

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Flam wants the audience to know that while this play is a tragedy – all the main characters are dead when the final curtain falls – there are times of comic relief and wit.

“I think that every play has an opportunity to have something funny, that’s just in the script,” he said.  

“Shakespeare put the gravedigger scene at the start of the last act on purpose because you need a moment after so mush drama that’s a wake up call, ‘hey, we’re not done yet. There’s more coming!'” said Flam. 

The production stars Jasper Wolf as Hamlet, Miriam Cubstead as Ophelia, Oliver Leeb as King Claudius, Maerose Pepe as Gertrude, Sammy Haines as Laertes and Lennart Nielsen as Polonius.

The clean modern stage design is by Anna Moss and Lila West created the pseudo-19th century white and black costumes while lighting is by Chris Fournier.

Performances are Thursday, Nov. 3; Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5. All performances begin at 7 p.m. in the Belmont High School auditorium.

ADULTS: $12 in advance, $15 at the door; STUDENTS: $5 (BHS Students come free on Thursday!)

Tickets are now on sale at Champions Sporting Goods in Belmont Center. Tickets for students will be on sale outside the BHS Cafeteria and in the Library during select mods the week of the show.

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Tixs Now On Sale For ‘Hamlet,’ Directed by Recently Honored Educator

Photo: From the final scene of “Hamlet”. (credit: BHS PAC)

Tickets for the Belmont High School Performing Arts Company’s production of Shakespeare’s tragic play “Hamlet” are now on sale for next week’s performances.

“As usual, we’re putting our updated take on this classic story of a prince’s revenge, highlighting the play’s exploration of the human psyche,” said Ezra Flam, the Performing Arts Company’s producer and director. 

Flam, who is the high school’s Theater Specialist, has recently been selected for the University of Chicago’s Outstanding Educator Award. Students nominate an educator who has “influenced, challenged, or helped them along the path toward intellectual growth.”

“Congratulations to Mr. Flam for his hard work and dedication to the students of Belmont as their teacher, as a colleague, and as a representative of Belmont Public Schools,” said Belmont High School Principal Dan Richards.


Performances are:

Thursday, Nov. 3; Friday, Nov. 4 and Saturday, Nov. 5

All performances begin at 7 p.m. in the Belmont High School auditorium.

ADULTS: $12 in advance, $15 at the door; STUDENTS: $5 (BHS Students come free on Thursday!)

Tickets are now on sale at Champions Sporting Goods in Belmont Center. Tickets for students will be on sale outside the BHS Cafeteria and in the Library during select mods the week of the show.