SPHS Drama and Production Design Students Head To Fullerton Theatre Festival

Nick Hoffa and James Jontz taking 35 students to compete at Fullerton Theatre Festival March 22 & 23, 2019

PHOTO: SPHS Drama | SouthPasadenan.com | Lindsey Calva rehearses a monologue for the upcoming Fullerton Theatre Festival

After a fun-filled, successful showing at last year’s event, SPHS Drama and Production Design students are headed back to Fullerton Theatre Festival on Friday and Saturday, March 22 & 23 to compete against close to 70 participating schools.

It is a high school theatre competition hosted by Fullerton College and held on their campus. The festival began in 1981 and has grown into one of the best run theatre festivals in the country with 70 schools competing in categories such as contemporary and classical scenes and monologues, musical theatre and stage crew. Over 150 judges adjudicate 30 rooms of competition each hour with 200 college helpers. Close to 2000 students gather from across the Southland for two full days of competition, improv, workshops, dancing and general theatre kid mayhem and fun. It has become a highly anticipated event for SPHS students.

PHOTO: SPHS Drama | SouthPasadenan.com | Drama students rehearse a scene for the Fullerton Theatre Festival

Drama Department head, Nick Hoffa, tells us they will have 35 students competing in most categories including a team competing in the stage crew category. Some of the highlights include a couple of hilarious Christopher Durang group scenes that Hoffa says are well-suited for the competition environment, what he calls a “devastatingly fun and dark” August: Osage County scene and some “extremely intense” classical scenes from Strindberg, Euripedes, and Ibsen.

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PHOTO: SPHS Drama | SouthPasadenan.com | Drama students prepare a musical number from The Addams Family for the Fullerton Theatre Festival

“A big shift for us this year is that we are going to be entering into the musical theater competition with a piece from The Addams Family” says Hoffa. “We haven’t competed in this category before mostly because our SPHS production schedule doesn’t align with the Fullerton schedule. For example, we wouldn’t be ready to present something from Legally Blonde – our spring show opening at the end of April – in the middle of March.  However, we happen to have a lot of people in the Drama 2 class who were in Addams Family last year, including our Morticia and Lurch. So we think this is a good year to enter.”

PHOTO: SPHS Drama | SouthPasadenan.com | Actor Linus Wood prepares a scene for the Fullerton Theatre Festival

It is another indication of the growth of the drama department and Hoffa goes on to say, “it is however, almost like entering a different festival. The musical pieces from the other schools are huge productions with costumes, large casts, and great harmonies. It also takes place in a big theater rather than, say, the monologues which will be in a small classroom. So it is a lot to take on. We’ll have to unearth some costumes from last year, but the kids are really excited to participate in this rather than just be observers.”

PHOTO: SPHS Drama | SouthPasadenan.com | SPHS Drama students rehearse a scene from The Addams Family for the musical theatre category of competition at Fullerton Theatre Festival

The festival is this coming Friday and Saturday with the students and faculty traveling together by bus and cars to Fullerton College each day. They will be in final preparations all week and look forward to supporting one another as they leave it all on the stage. “Fullerton is always a tremendous experience and I think we going to be as well-prepared as we’ve ever been,” says Hoffa, “It’s always nice to be recognized with certain scenes making into finals, but our goal as always is growth of individual artists. As long as that is happening and people enjoy themselves, I’m thrilled.”

Stay tuned for a report from Fullerton next week! Break a leg Tigers!