Wonderful letter, Mr. Geary. Another reason to be optimistic about General Tata: He is something of a “celebrity,” and has a personal reputation to maintain. This will be more important to him than licking the boots of the school board to keep his paycheck coming. Tata will soon realize that allowing poverty rates at individual schools to rise will result in the same middle-class flight from Wake’s schools that D.C. suffered decades ago. This will result in declining enrollment, an exodus of the best teachers, and tumbling test scores. In other words, FAILURE. And with all the national attention Wake is receiving, this is FAILURE ON A GRAND SCALE. General Tata has no desire to preside over such failure, as it will mean the destruction of his reputation and the end of his ambitions.
Excellent summary of our sad situation. Norwalk is brilliant, as always. Thanks for sharing, Bob.
Brilliant analysis as always, Bob Geary! Thank you.
I had the privilege of attending the June 13 performance, and found it absolutely marvelous: a wonderful score and book, beautifully directed, acted, costumed, and above all, sung. It is amazing to me that a community theatre can mount a show of this difficulty, with such success. It is a treat to see a production of this caliber in such an intimate setting -- to sit just a few yards from these wonderful performers.
This production features no fewer than three professional-quality sopranos. Katie Hennenlotter plays the ingénue Clara: I was sore amazed to hear a voice of such beauty and power coming from a girl who looks to be no older than twenty! This lovely young lady has a great future! Katherine Anderson, who has won our hearts in a variety of ingénue roles, is perfect as the vamp Franca.
The supporting actors and ensemble are strong across the board, filling that stage with humor and pathos, and singing this challenging material with passion and confidence.
But the crowning glory of this production is the magnificent performance of Megan Crosson, among the finest I have seen on any Raleigh stage. The character of Mrs. Johnson features clever comedy as well as soul-searching dramatic intensity, and Ms. Crosson acts and sings the hell out of every bit of it, culminating in a world-rocking aria embodying the very nature of love.
Julie Florin’s orchestra of piano, harp and strings is perhaps the finest ever to play in that pit, which is high praise. They performed this very challenging score beautifully and naturally.
Vicki Olson’s costumes are always celebrated for their great charm and period perfection, and she delivers another triumph with this 1953 setting. She makes a nice generational distinction as well, with the older characters in more conservative fashions than the younger.
Ignore any warnings about “half the dialog being in Italian.” During these charming moments, all we need to know is beautifully conveyed.
Director Haskell Fitz-Simons has perfect understanding of this material, and has infused every scene, every movement, and every note of this production with the exuberance and love of life that is the heart of Italy. This is of course the essential element of this play.
This wonderful production runs for two more weeks! Don’t miss it!
I found this a thoroughly enjoyable production. All four actors did fine work; the two ladies were especially a pleasure to watch. Phil Lewis was superb, as always; he is one of Raleigh's best character actors.
The Boston accents were quite good in my opinion, as were the Irish accents. The costumes were great, as they always are at RLT.
As to the script & direction, I much enjoyed the slow build-up in the first act and the explosive second act. Considering the brevity of the show, the intermission was warranted.
We must keep in mind also that Charlotte-Mecklenburg's schools did not instantly segregate the year they dropped its diversity policy. Segregation is a gradual process. Many recent graduates actually spent most of their school years in schools that were integrated racially and socioeconomically.
Wake County stacks up even better against school systems that have long been segregated, where graduates spent their entire twelve years in segregated schools.
Thank you, Mr. Geary, for applying your talents of honest research, careful observation and keen insight to this tough issue. With all its faults, the Wake County Public School System is still the gem that makes this a wonderful place to raise a family, due in large part to the system's commitment that every school will be a good school.
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