Jasper Roberts - Blog

Coming Soon to a middle school theater near you...

Good Morning, Baltimore!

This year we are tackling some huge shows with our drama program. I have my moments where I have no idea what I was thinking, but then I remember. I have been blessed with the largest group of students I've ever had the privilege of directing and working with, and the talent level is off the charts!

This fall, we did "A Midsummer Night's Midterm", a spin-off on the Bard's famous comedy, with all of the Shakespearean language still present, but shortened and narrated by four high school students studying for a midterm. This summer I thought, this will be fun and easy, it'll be a breeze! Fast forward to October, and I'm enlisting the help of friends to create a magical fairyland, because there is just something inside of me that will not allow a middle school production to look like what people might imagine a typical middle school production should look like. Hundreds of dollars, pounds of tulle, tons of glitter, and forty strings of Christmas lights later, it came to life on stage, and I was darn proud of it, as were the students. We even taped their ears to make them look more like elves, which looked so neat on stage! And even when the sound went out five minutes before the last performance, they were troopers, and managed to make it even better than the previous night. And I only cried in the prop closet for like four seconds, then I pulled myself together. :)

This whirlwind of stress and craziness is all worth it to see my little actors bring their characters to life on the stage. This year we did character workshops to start, and it made all the difference. I saw dimensions that I hadn't seen in my ten years working in middle school theater, and thought, "That was so great, I think we can totally do Hairspray Jr. for the musical!" Less than a week after our fall play wrapped, I was ordering the musical, listening to the music, and beginning choreography in my car. If you ever find yourself next to a blonde in a Mini Cooper marking out dances in her car, bopping and singing along like a lunatic...it's me.

So, for the next three months, I will be working like a mad woman to bring the 60's to life through the magic of song and dance. I'm so excited to tackle a large musical like "Hairspray", and I genuinely hope that my students learn something about the perils of prejudice, as well as the Civil Rights movement. I know they can make it amazing, but I'll be sharing how we make all the background come to life over the next few months. There are multiple sets, about nine choreographed numbers, and some major characters to tackle this time around, and I couldn't be more excited!

During this time, I'll also still be teaching full time, but I'm looking forward to our poetry unit in 7th grade, and teaching argumentative writing this upcoming quarter in 8th grade! The last half of the year is always my favorite to teach for both grade levels. I can't wait to go back to school with some energy and tackle the last half of the school year, I can't believe it's already halfway over.


  1. I *MIGHT* be doing Hairspray Jr. with my Drama Club next year. If you have any input or advice, please feel free to share! I am so in love with this story, but unsure because of some of the lingo used in the play. Not sure if my principal will be okay with it.

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