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East Lincoln drama students set to present ‘Children’s Letters to God’

[/media-credit] Students at East Lincoln High School rehearse for their production of “Children’s Letters to God,” which they will be performing this weekend.

AMANDA SEBASTIANO
Staff Writer

Students in Brian McSwain’s drama class at East Lincoln High School use words like light-hearted, family fun and a little bit of everything to describe their last performance of the school year — Children’s Letters to God.
The group will be singing, dancing and acting out the awkward moments children go through and the moments that change their lives, at 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday, in the drama club classroom at ELHS.
The musical is based off an early ’90s, best-selling novel, which was later transformed into an Off-Broadway
musical.
It’s a story about common concerns children have about experiences they’re going through and trying to come to terms with why things happen, by talking to a higher power.
The play focuses around five main characters trying to find answers to divorce, pets passing away and other issues they aren’t sure how to deal with.
“It’s something everyone can identify with,” said Bruce McSwain, ELHS drama teacher. “It reminds us how important things are for kids; we were all 9-year-olds once.”
This was the first time one of McSwain’s classes fell in love with a story right away, loving every part of the musical, he said.
Students in the show are confident the audience will be able to relate to the characters and the troubles of growing up, focusing not so much on religion, but the thought process behind what children deal with growing up, said “Joanna,” played by Kelsey Keeton, 17.
McSwain doesn’t assign musicals to his classes every year; he normally waits every two to three years.
The actors and actresses have been busy getting into character, while still trying to get used to the extra elements performing in a musical demands.
In addition to learning lines and acting out the plot, students have also been practicing choreography and tuning up their voices to sing the stories of the characters – quite a way for a newcomer to start off in the club.
Sam Eliason, 15, made his acting debut Thursday as Theo, a young boy who wishes he could be like everyone else.
“It’s all about growing up, and shows that first impressions aren’t always the most important,” Eliason said.
McSwain promises a clean, fun show that will entertain and have the audience thinking about it for weeks.
Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for students.

Image courtesy of Ray Gora / Lincoln Times-News

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