We stopped by Hillview School over the President’s Day weekend where a hearty band of about 40 kids were ignoring the four days off to prepare for the school’s spring musical, HONK!, under the guidance of new drama teacher Bill Hairston (pictured above) who joined the faculty last fall.
Bill, a classically trained actor who was with a number of different theater companies before turning to teaching, which he says, “has brought me the most joy.” He’s taught mostly at the high school level but was lured to work across the Bay from his Alameda home because of what he saw as “the great potential to create a vibrant arts program” at the middle school.
“The new theater is nearly ideal for student productions ,” he says. “The size is well suited to the kids’ projection levels and the acoustics are phenomenal.”
HONK! is the musical retelling of The Ugly Duckling, played by Kelley McCutheon (middle in photo above, flanked by (left) Izzy Nada who plays Cat and Kate Hulhern who plays Ida. Joining the Hillview students in the cast will be 16 elementary school kids.
“This facility belongs to the whole district, and in picking HONK!, I wanted a musical that would be perfect for bringing the whole family – even small children – to watch,” Bill says. “All the on stage characters are animals and the music is very melodic.”
HONK! will have a number of school performances but just three performances open to the community: Friday, March 1 at 7:00 pm and two performances on Saturday, March 2 at 1:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Tickets – $15 for adults and $12 for children – can be purchased at the door or online.