A tradition that has become part of both the history of Linsly School and the city of Wheeling, the 73rd annual Linsly School Extravaganza will be held at the Capitol Theatre at 8 p.m. Friday, March 4.
This year's Extravaganza theme, "Movin' in the Right Direction," hints at a dual meaning, celebrating both the art of movement on the stage, as well as the positive direction of the school itself as Linsly moves closer to its 200th anniversary celebration in 2014.
Kelly Soloninka, Linsly fine arts instructor and longtime co-director of the Extravaganza, explained more about the significance of the theme of this year's show.
"The Extravaganza is more than an annual production on stage," Soloninka said. "We believe that the show is a reflection of what is happening in our school community, and that's why we chose a theme centered around movement this year.
"'Movement' is an integral part of the Linsly experience," she said, adding, "As a school community, we are focused on moving in the right direction - whether it is a teacher helping one of our students move closer to an academic goal, a coach working with an athlete to move more efficiently on the basketball court or soccer field, or here at Extravaganza practice, where we work with students to move with grace for a dance number."
Linsly Headmaster Chad Barnett said, "We are proud to continue the tradition of the Extravaganza. This annual performance is a celebration of our entire school community. From our youngest fifth grader, to our most senior faculty member, the Extravaganza is a success because everyone participates."
Barnett commented that the character-building opportunity that this annual performance creates for students is just as important as the show itself.
"The Extravaganza requires a commitment from our students that builds character," he said. "They are dedicated to attending practices and working hard to make the show a professional performance. At Linsly, we believe it is these character- building opportunities that enrich the overall development of our students."
Frank Wilson, head of Linsly's fine arts department and director of the Extravaganza, echoed Barnett's comments, focusing on the dedication and commitment of the students.
"The Extravaganza is really about our students and faculty coming together as a community to work hard toward a common goal," Wilson said. "We are always fortunate to have talented students year after year, but what is truly extraordinary is the level of commitment that these students make to practicing and working hard. The show is another way that students learn the value of hard work. After weeks of practice, they are really proud of the end result of their performance the night of the show."
Greta Foose, longtime choreographer of Linsly"s Extravaganza, said that this year's "Opener" act will feature a "Mission Impossible" theme to showcase dance and some top-secret surprises.
Music for the evening will include instrumental numbers from the Linsly strings orchestra and stage band and the harmonies of Linsly's choir. Audience members can expect to be dazzled by "paparazzi" in the lower school and, of course, the senior act, always a secret until the night of the show, which will be an emotional farewell on the stage for the Class of 2011.
The Linsly Extravaganza is a whole-school production, involving participation from every student, faculty and staff member in some capacity. For more information about the show, call the school, 304-233-3260.