RAMON PRESSON: Independence and collaboration


RAMON PRESSON: Independence and collaboration

This is a written standing ovation for the cast and crew of Independence High School’s production this past weekend of “Bring It On.”

From experience I know it can be challenging to get just five adolescent basketball players on the same page and working together as a team. Getting a cast and crew of 140 teenagers organized and focused on a singular mission is an extraordinary accomplishment.

Oh, I’m sure that there were many moments in production and rehearsals that leading this adolescent army was like trying to herd cats and glue Jello to a wall. But from our seats in the sold-out auditorium on Saturday night, it certainly seemed to all come together in spectacular fashion.

From Broadway to Thompson’s Station

Based on the Broadway musical, the production features music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda who famously created the renowned Broadway hit “Hamilton.” Loosely based on the 2000 film, the musical focuses on the world of competitive cheerleading and intense team rivalries.

The Indy show had it all: great comedic acting, music, singing, rapping, choreography, dancing, gymnastics, and yes, cheerleading. Throughout the performance, my wife,
Dorrie, and I laughed and applauded and said “Wow.” A lot. During intermission and later on the way home we kept repeating the same phrase in our amazement: “Can you believe that was a HIGH SCHOOL production?”

And it wasn’t just a few talented performers carrying the show. The stage was often crowded with large ensembles of students singing in harmony and dancing complex
routines in perfect synch. And there were kids doing leaps, cartwheels, somersaults, splits, and backflips.

Behind the scenes

Rebecca T. Williams, the director, is in her 1oth year at Indy. Williams is clearly not simply a lucky recipient of district zoned talent, or just a good gauge of talent and a
persistent hallway recruiter. She is able to bring out the best in young people and make them shine. Music directors, Justin Kirby and Patricia Wakefield, are also to be
commended.

This Indy production also brought some considerable star power to it. Choreographer Voltaire Wade-Greene, with a number of Broadway credits as a dancer and
choreographer, is currently supervising the first national tour of Hamilton. Casey Jamerson is a singer/songwriter, a former National Champion Cheerleader, and serves
as the Competition Cheer Coach for Independence. Oh, and she spent two years touring and performing in the Broadway production of “Bring It On.”

I know that Williams, Kirby, Wakefield, Wade-Greene, Jamerson, along with Principal Niki Patton, the assistant principals, the faculty, parents, and the entire student body is proud of the collaborative effort displayed in this extraordinary production. They should be proud.

A school and a county of talented teens

Dorrie and I have enjoyed many outstanding high school dramas and musicals over the years here in Williamson County. We are blessed with an abundance of teen talent in our community. And we are blessed with skilled and dedicated adult leaders who thrive at encouraging and developing that student creativity and talent.

It is customary right after a high school production for the cast and crew, plus family and friends from the audience, to gather in the foyer to greet one another, to affirm and congratulate, and to celebrate. Saturday night there was an exceptional level of energy and enthusiasm in the celebration after the show. I believe the students knew that they had just pulled off something truly extraordinary. The audience certainly knew it.

In the musical, one of the lead character sings…

I know that if I can just stick the landing
then I’ll know that somehow my life will be fine.
And I’ll go through the rest of my life understanding
what it feels like to shine
The future’s full of mysteries,
so please let this be mine —
my one perfect moment in time.

To Indy’s cast and crew of “Bring It On” let me tell you that you stuck the landing, and you produced one perfect moment in time for all of us to enjoy.

Ramon Presson, PhD, is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Franklin (www.ramonpressontherapy.com) and the author of several books. Reach him at
ramonpresson@gmail.com. To read Presson’s previous columns go to www.franklinhomepage.com/?s=ramon+presson

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