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From the Archives – Mentor Log (March 29, 1966)

What was Mentor International Thespian Troupe #6 up to for their 1966 spring musical?
Mentor Theatre is a member of the International Thespian Society as Troupe #6

Please enjoy this archived article from the old Mentor High School Log, one of the earlier incarnations of the Mentor High School student newspaper. Special thanks to Mr. Sanelli for finding these in an old bureau taken from the old Mentor High School Library during its renovation into the Hub. Also thanks to Mrs. Ford and the GenYes team for scanning and sharing the original article.

These days, the Mentor High School Drama Club is known as Mentor Theatre. And these days, the spring musical is auditioned right about now in August. But in 1966, it was March 29 and the drama club under director and Mentor Theatre Hall of Famer J. Robert Jay was getting ready for their next production – the very next month! What were they up to? Read on and find out!

– Mr. Couch, Cardinal Nation Advisor

March 29, 1966

Tryouts Held:

But Nobody Wants Hansel and Gretel

Tryouts for this spring’s all school dramatics production, consisting of three one act plays instead of the usual three act play or corresponding musical, were held Tuesday and Wednesday of last week.

One of these shorties, “The Bad Children” by Shirley Jackson, is a musical. The story is basically “Hansel and Gretel” except neither the parents nor the witch wants the children.

The action takes place in a clearing in a forest on the 27th consecutive day of rain. One student referred to it as being “kind of a fractured fairy tale.”

Tryouts for this consisted not only of readings, but each person was required to sing one of the songs from the show, since each character in the play sings a solo. Selections ranged from the “Witch’s Song” to Hansel and Gretel’s “Echo Song” to the rhythmic beat of the enchanter’s “Mean Old Wizard Blues.”

“Dress Reversal” is a farce in one act by John C. Gerber: it is set on a stage rehearsal and has parts for nine boys. “Seeds of Suspicion” by Dorothy L. Sayers is a one act mystery with parts for four boys and four girls. Results of auditions were not released in time for publication.

Robert Jay expects to work rehearsals for the plays every other night: “Dress Reversal” and “Seeds of Suspicion” alternating with “The Bad Children.” As yet Mr. Jay has no idea how sets for the three shows will be worked. The dates for the plays are April 22 and 23.

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About the Contributors
Mr. Steve Couch
Mr. Steve Couch, Advisor
Mr. Couch is a 1988 graduate of Mentor High School and has been a the advisor of the Cardinal Nation online student newspaper for Mentor High School since its inception in 2022. He has been a member of the Social Studies Department since 1997 and is the long-time advisor for the highly-decorated Mentor Model U.N. team, which has participated in international conferences from Chicago to Cleveland to Washington, D.C. In 2008 he was awarded the Northeast Ohio Education Association Positive Image Award and the Phyllis Layton Perry International Teacher of the Year by the National Council for International Visitors. He was named the 2022 Teacher of the Year by the George E. Hayward Veterans of Foreign Wars, Post 9295 and the surrounding district. Outside of the social studies, Mr. Couch has significant interests in theatre. He has been a free-lance columnist for the News-Herald since 2003 where he writes the Young Thespians column. He has been the director of Wildwood Theatre Camp since 1995 where he has written numerous original productions. Check out his podcast "Two Fools Trying to Make a Musical" on all platforms to see what he's working on now! Mr. Couch directed the Memorial Middle School Musical from 2009-2020 and is currently the director for Madison Theatre at the high school and middle school level. He has appeared in numerous productions at Lake Erie College, Rabbit Run Theatre, Dobama Theatre, and the Fine Arts Association in Willoughby. Mr. Couch was proudly inducted as a charter member to the Mentor Theatre Hall of Fame. He lives in Madison with his wife Melissa and his daughters Mallory, Casey, Olivia, and Ella.
Steven Dohm
Steven Dohm, Contributor
Steven (Stevie) is currently a junior at Mentor High School, who in addition to Cardinal Nation, participates in GenYes, Mentor Theatre, Video Production, and CARDS.