The weekend of Feb. 24-26 will see the opening of two of this year’s most popular musicals on Illinois high school stages: Beauty and the Beast, which opens Thursday, Feb. 24 at Elgin High School and Friday, Feb. 25 at Roxana High School; and Grease, which opens Thursday at Marengo High School and Friday at Richmond-Burton High School.
In addition, the moderately popular musical The Wizard of Oz will open on two high school stages in the state this weekend: Thursday at Lakes Community High School in Lake Villa and Friday at Conant High School in Hoffman Estates.
Other Chicago-area high schools opening production runs for musicals this weekend include South Elgin High School, which will perform Peter Pan starting on Thursday, Feb. 24; Maine West High School in DesPlaines, which will perform one of the Wizard of Oz offshoots, The Wiz, also beginning a production run on Thursday; and Oak Park and River Forest High School, which on Sunday, Feb. 26, will being a production run of Once on This Island. This musical, which admittedly doesn’t see quite as many performances as some of the others, teaches us that good things can come out of tragedy. It shows us how we learn and how we dance.
We have just three other musicals opening in Illinois this weekend, all opening on Friday, Feb. 25, which is still early in the spring season. These are Johnsburg High School, which will open Guys and Dolls; St. Anne Community, which will perform Just Another High School Musical; and Sterling High School, which will keep the beat going with their production of Hairspray. Based in Baltimore in the 1960s, this musical deals with racism in America and is still relevant today, as we mark the occasion of African-American History Month (February).