The shows were held for the third year at Bradley Central High School’s Theater. Students performed 13 numbers from Broadway shows such as “Phantom of the Opera,” “Newsies,” “Hair Spray,” “The Lion King, and Mamma Mia. More than 1,400 people filled the seats of the theater over the course of four days for the two dress rehearsals and two performances.
Trousdale musical director Marilyn Sherlin said she could not have pulled this year’s show off without the help of the students, staff, and volunteers.
“Students have persevered through the past five months’ rehearsals to be able to pull off this level of choreography, which has really enhanced the show,” she said.
Sherlin said so many staff members have stepped up to assist with the creative process, develop the choreography, and facilitate backstage.
“Andria Thomas, assistant musical director, edited hours of rehearsal footage to create outtakes that were utilized within the show to give the audience some idea of how this process comes together,” added Sherlin.
Thirty Trousdale School students participated in this year’s musical. One student prerecorded her portion before she left town to participate in the Special Olympics USA Games in bowling in New Jersey.
Susan Turner, of Ooltewah, started off the show as a newscaster while she was actually winning one gold and two silver medals in individual and team bowling. Susan’s fellow students celebrated her accomplishments in the midst of top performances themselves.
Graham Cash, of Signal Mountain, who played the Phantom, said “This is my dream role; I’ve always wanted to play this part!”
David Coffey, of Cleveland, dazzled the audience with his rendition of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys’ “Who Loves You.”
Sarah Johnson and Amber Patterson, of Cleveland, along with Amanda McCord, of Chattanooga, danced their way through ABBA’s “Dancing Queen,” from Mamma Mia. At the end of the show, all of the students joined on stage during a photo recap from the year’s events while the show closed with a live rendition of Rent’s, “Seasons of Love.” But the celebration was only beginning; it was time for autographs, just like any other Broadway show.
Trousdale School serves high functioning adults with intellectual disabilities, providing academics and life skills for the purpose of learning independence.