This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Hillcrest Theatre Arts Department. In the earlier years, a handful of students would meet at lunch, cobbling together a production with borrowed props and costumes made from Goodwill finds and old bridesmaid dresses. This month, the students performed the musical “Guys and Dolls” in front of two live audiences. At first glance, “Guys and Dolls” is the romantic story of gamblers’ lives and their antics in 1930s New York City. But truthfully, it is the story of redemption, the playing out of the Parable of the Lost Sheep from Luke 15.
Preparation for this production was a challenge. When it became evident that an indoor performance was not an option, parents banded together to provide lighting and a stage for an outdoor performance on their new campus. Rich Person, the father of Hillcrest senior, Anjoli, commented about his daughter’s love for performing and the difficulties of finding opportunities during COVID. “This is her senior year, and she has had to watch event after event cancel. She has been involved in the theater group at Hillcrest Christian for the past seven years, and this year had the part she most wanted — Adelaide in ‘Guys and Dolls.’ But performing once again by video was not what she had in mind. Thanks to the support of the Hillcrest Theater Department and many Hillcrest families helping to build sets, get a stage, set up lighting and sound, we were able to do a live show.
In what has otherwise been a year of cancellations and disappointments, Anjoli was able to play her dream role in front of a live audience, and do so in a way that was safe for all.” Theatre program director, Nancie Blumenthal, attributes the success of the production to “a mixture of God’s grace and that All-American ‘can do spirit’ that flows through our campus here at Hillcrest.”
Anjoli Person, a senior who has been involved with the Hillcrest theatre program for seven years, shared her gratitude for the program. “Drama at Hillcrest has been such an amazing experience for me throughout the years. I’ve had so many challenging opportunities, like getting the chance to step up and choreograph some of the musicals. This responsibility has really prepared me for more leadership roles in college next year.” It was wonderful and refreshing to see families out together, seated responsibly distanced at tables, enjoying the gifts and talents of these young actors.
This past fall, Hillcrest made the decision to open its doors to all grades for in-person learning.