When the lights come up on the South Pointe High School stage on Thursday night for “All That Drama,” it won’t just be the first time anyone in Rock Hill has seen the musical, it will be the first time anyone anywhere has seen it, and all involved are excited to see it finally come to life.
This show is all about teenagers, said co-creator Bruce McKagan.
“It’s about kids, students, and all the drama and bullying and lies that they face at such an early age and how they deal with it,” McKagan said.
The show was created after Kimberly P. Johnson wrote a book of poems called, like the show, “All That Drama.” She wanted McKagan to write a few songs to accompany the book.
“So we recorded two or three songs which became eight or nine songs which became 11 songs,” McKagan said.
Then they realized an album accompanying a book wasn’t enough and that what they created really belonged on the stage.
Lynn Moody, the former superintendent for Rock Hill schools, heard about the creation of the musical and arranged a meeting between the creators and Rock Hill’s high school theater teachers.
South Pointe teacher James Chrismon volunteered to take on the show.
“It was a great opportunity for my students to be involved in the creation of something and to be a part of something from the very beginning,” Chrismon said.
He called the show “relevant” to his teenage students, but said the show’s messages don’t beat audience members over the head like a lot of teen theater.
Senior Ali White, who plays a “drama queen” in the show, said there’s a lot going on in the show, hence the name, “All That Drama.” But it’s mainly about two characters becoming friends and experiencing events that are familiar to teenagers.
“I would definitely recommend (the show) to teenagers more than I would adults,” she said.
The subject matter isn’t the only element of the show that is student-friendly, she said. The music isn’t what most people expect from a traditional musical.
“It’s mainly pop and rap music, which will make it entertaining for the younger generation,” White said.
The show’s creators did a good job making the music something teenagers will enjoy singing, Chrismon said.
And Chrismon, who sees his fair share of drama as a high school teacher, said he wants his students to learn from playing characters who are different from them, such as a girl who’s sweet and nice in real life, but plays a bully in the show.
“I hope that they’re learning the different sides of it and exploring why people are the way they are,” he said.