McPherson High School's fall production of "Noises Off" was chosen to be one of 11 shows to be presented at the 2019 International Thespian Festival, held June 24-29 at the University of Nebraska.
This is the first time in the school's history to be selected for Internationals — and is also a first for theater teacher Greg McGlynn.
"It is, without a doubt, one of the most exciting moments of my educational career," McGlynn said.
It was while he was attending the Kansas Thespian Festival that McGlynn learned of the invitation to Internationals.
"I thought to myself, 'oh no, let's check my school email and get our annual rejection letter,'" McGlynn recalled.
This time, however, the opening line of the email was different.
"It started with 'Congratulations!' I kind of froze and then — just to be safe — scanned the rest of the letter," McGlynn said.
At that moment, McGlynn looked up to see his own high school theater teacher — the woman who had been instrumental in his choice to pursue the art. After sharing the good news and a hug with her, he went in search of his students.
"I sat down at their table and then emotionally told my seniors how much I'd miss them ... but that they would have to stay with me through June 29," McGlynn said.
A moment of confused silence followed, which McGlynn broke with a grin and news of the invitation.
"Scream, tears, hugs and jumping up and down followed in the middle of all the tables at Century II," McGlynn said.
McGlynn said he began entering the international competition five years ago, scoring high with three different productions in 2012, 2015 and 2016 at the state level.
"This year we seemed to finally break through by inviting the international judges directly to our school's stage in November," McGlynn said.
Twenty students took part in bringing "Noises Off" to life on the McPherson High School stage.
Drake Langshaw played the dual roles of Roger Tramplemain and Gary Lejeune in "Noises Off."
"It's absolutely incredible," Langshaw said. "This is a goal we have worked towards for so long, and some thing we've worked so passionately for — there are no words for what it means to finally accomplish this goal."
Kansas high school students nabbed three of the eight spots open for the International Thespian Festival. Besides McPherson High School, an all-state cast for "Bring It On" and Garden City High School's production of "Hamlet" will be performed. Three more will be selected from the spring entries in April for a total of 11 shows.
Meghan Smith played Vicki/Brooke Ashton.
"Qualifying for internationals was like nothing I have ever experienced before," Smith said. "Last year, I performed 'Moon Over Buffalo' on the Century II stage for Kansas State Thespian Festival, and I thought that would be my most memorable high school experience. Little did I know that I would have the extraordinary opportunity to perform at the International Thespian Festival as one of eleven shows chosen around the nation. I cannot put into words how truly thankful I am to be a part of Troupe #3796 and to get another chance to perform 'Noises Off' with my family."
Lindy Reynolds played Poppy and served as the assistant stage manager for "Noises Off."
"It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be chosen from thousands of schools to go to the International Thespian Festival," Reynolds said. "The feeling is almost surreal."
Rece Reiman played the company stage manager, Tim Allgood, and was on the props crew for "Noises Off."
"Being invited to Internationals has given me a great sense of pride, but also some severe anxiety," Reiman said. "The pride being over being one of the first McPherson High School students to perform on the international stage. The anxiety coming from the fear of not raising enough money to go."
"Noises Off" will be remounted for one weekend in May at McPherson High School. Ticket sales from the performances will aid in covering expenses for the trip to Internationals — which will total around $16,000.
"We will fund raise throughout the semester to cover transportation of the two-story set, room, meals and registration costs for a full week at Internationals," McGlynn said.
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