Review 16 years of Cowichan Secondary at play

Perri Espeseth rocked them as Roxie Hart in Chicago back in 2005. She will reprise music from that role in Cow High’s Alumni Showcase Feb. 25. -  Andrew Leong/file
Perri Espeseth rocked them as Roxie Hart in Chicago back in 2005. She will reprise music from that role in Cow High’s Alumni Showcase Feb. 25.
— image credit: Andrew Leong/file

For 16 years, teachers Mike Moroz, former musical director Devan Bailey and choreographer Roz Roome worked together on shows produced by the theatre department at Cowichan secondary school.

They taught, rehearsed and directed literally hundreds of students through dozens of stage presentations.

“There were tons of kids who went through the theatre department,” Moroz says.

“They were amazing. Now they’re amazing doctors, dental hygienists, actors, and so on — great community members,” he enthuses.

And an upcoming showcase involving former students demonstrates how the theatre program is continuing and growing here at the school, observes Moroz.

Next week’s Alumni Showcase — 16 years of Play at Duncan Travelodge presents former students who will showcase their talents and the skills they learned in the Cow Hi theatre department.

Says Cow Hi principal Charlie Coleman: “Cowichan Secondary has a rich history of supporting the arts, including the performing arts.”

“We are very excited to reconnect with alumni, both students and staff, who have played a role in those dramatic and musical productions,” he says.

“The kids are coming on their time, taking time from their working schedules,” explains Moroz.

The very first musical produced by the Moroz, Bailey, Roome threesome was Cabaret in 1997.

In the showcase, 1997 Cow High graduate Samantha Currie, now with Chemainus Theatre, will sing Cabaret and Maybe Next Time from that show.

Currie says that she had already made theatre a big part of my life and was very happy to continue growing as a performer throughout my three years at Cowichan Secondary.

“As (Cabaret’s) Sally Bowles, I worked alongside a very talent group of students and teachers,” she says.

After graduation, Currie studied music and theatre at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York.

“I now, very happily, make my living as a actress.”

Says Currie: “Theatre and fine arts in schools helps those without a voice find not only themselves but a better way to communicate their feelings and emotions.”

“Expanding the theatre department will only yield more talent and a greater understanding and love of the arts.”

UVic student Perri Espeseth was a part of the theatre program from 2004 to 2006 and had roles in Chicago and Red Hot and Cole.

“These productions were instrumental in developing my leadership skills and confidence,” she says.

“I got to work with my best friends on some of the most challenging and exciting music and drama, and I learned how important theatre is for emotional and physical expression.

“Theatre teaches you how to work hard while still having the time of your life!”

In the showcase, Espeseth will perform Roxie Hart from Chicago and one other number.

Soon to graduate with a BFA in theatre, Espeseth plans on becoming a high school teacher.

“I want my students to learn the importance of theatre and how it contributes to developing communities, expressing beliefs and most importantly developing social skills by having fun with peers,” she explains.

Altogether there will be 17 numbers, Moroz says.

“We’ve done Anne of Green Gables, Annie, Red Hot and Cole, Steel Pier, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory and the 25th Putnam County Spelling Bee.

According to Moroz, there will be selections from every show.

“This showcase is an opportunity to get together, and it’s a reminder of the fun times we had together.”

“Theatre is a program that needs to continually support itself,” Moroz stresses.

“We try to generate enough revenue through our shows. This (alumni showcase) is one of the ways we’re doing that.”

Some of the money raised will help teacher Moroz and about two dozen Cow High actors fly to Edinburgh later this year to perform The 25th-Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee during the city’s renowned International Fringe Festival.

“As we celebrate the past, we also look forward to a time (hopefully sooner rather than later) when our performing arts program can be showcased in an all-new venue within a new Cowichan Secondary,” says Coleman.

“We like to dream big!”

The Duncan school is the first in B.C. to be invited to the prestigious Scottish festival.


Your ticket

What: Cowichan secondary school Alumni Showcase — 16 Years of Play

When: Feb 25, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Duncan Travelodge

Tickets: $30 (includes drink) at Cowichan secondary school front office

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