Show to raise money to rebuild theatre room

Fri, 08/07/2009 - 8:30am
By: The Citizen

The Wedding Singer The cast of “The Wedding Singer: The Musical.” Photo/Special.

Echostage, the extremely active and popular Theatre Club at East Coweta High School, is acting out a life-or-death struggle, but this time the struggle is offstage and real, not onstage and scripted.

“Echostage” stands for East Coweta High On Stage. The club is entering its ninth year of existence. From a first year of fewer than 35 members, Echostage now averages over 130 members each year, easily the largest club at ECHS. These students stage five major public productions a year in addition to actively supporting “Broadway Cares, Equity Fights Aids,” and the county-wide can-a-thon at Thanksgiving. The club also sponsors Troupe 6369 of the International Thespian Society, an honor organization for outstanding Theatre students.

This past February, Echostage lost its performance home at ECHS. The wooden audience risers and comfortable theatre seats, enjoyed by audiences for the past six and a half years, were deemed to be in violation of the fire codes. The ceiling-mounted lighting and sound systems for the performance space were ruled in violation as well. The Coweta County Maintenance Department tore down and hauled off the risers. The lighting and sound systems were removed. Emergency exit lights were installed. The theatre room is finally in compliance with fire codes, but it is now an empty room without the capability to stage public performances

The theatre teacher at ECHS and the sponsor of Echostage, Dr. Richard McMichen, hopes that students, parents, friends, and alumni will find a way to return the empty room to a vibrant, professional quality space for excellent Theatre education and for public performances.

Dr. McMichen has submitted to the Assistant Superintendent a detailed proposal for the renovation of the Theatre space. It is hoped that the county will choose to support the rebuilding effort with some of the materials and labor. Echostage has committed itself to raising the funds needed to install a new lighting system, approximately $6,500. At this time here is no clear estimate of installing new audience risers and seating, but the project promises to be expensive.

The theatre space at ECHS is more than a room to house productions. The theatre students spend many hours there working on projects, sharing friendships, and finding success and acceptance in a variety of theatre activities. Many of these students were heartbroken when their “home” was closed to them while the room was off limits. Many students and parents considered writing letters and making calls to protest the closing and stripping of the drama room, but it was agreed that there was no focus for blame. The energies of the supporters of the ECHS theatre program would be better used when the rebuilding process begins.

Currently there are two fund raising projects underway toward the rebuilding of the Echostage performance space. Don Nixon, Director of the Coweta Centre for Performing and Visual Arts, generously agreed to allow all proceeds from this year’s Encore performance go to the rebuilding account. The musical production is “The Wedding Singer,” presented on August 6, 7, 8 at 7 p.m. Roles are played by graduates of Coweta schools.

It’s the 1980’s and wannabe rock star, Robbie Hart, is everyone’s favorite wedding singer. He’s the life and soul of the party until he gets left at the altar by his own fiancee. Shot through the heart, Robbie makes every wedding as disastrous as his own, until he meets Julia, a sweet waitress. The only trouble, she’s engaged and about to be married. Can Robbie pull off the performance of the decade and win the girl of his dreams?

This musical is chock-full of 80’s jokes and is based on the hit movie starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. “The Wedding Singer, The Musical” is a high-energy, hilarious and colorful musical that will have you laughing and dancing in the aisles. With a score that transports you back to the 80’s and a cast comprised of the best and brightest Coweta County theatre alum, this is the ultimate feel-good night out not to be missed.

Tickets, which are $8 for kids and adults and $5 for senior citizens, can be purchased at The Centre or by calling 770-254-ARTS (2787). For advertising reservations and any questions, please contact Dr. Richard McMichen at

The second fund raiser is a Grand Auction to be held on Nov. 7. Many unique items, services, and discounts will be sold through Silent Auction, Live Auction, and Online Auction. Details may be found on

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