I reread this ending to my slice HERE from March 2, 2020:

Blurry photo…maybe it is symbolic of how quickly the colorful magic of theater just ends and it is back to the empty, black stage, awaiting the next year’s production.
All are home, with the music still playing in their heads
And dreams of next year’s musical!


Back in March, 2020, I never imagined this stage would remain empty and black for so long.
Listening to the cast sing “It’s a Hard Knock Life” brought tears to my eyes for a multiple of reasons.

As the middle schoolers sang “The sun will come out tomorrow” at the finale, I realize how helpful this mantra is. A virus and bombs may fill a tomorrow. But so will opportunities to come together, supporting one another. Bravo to the cast and crew of Dorothy Hamm Middle School!


It really is amazing how it all comes together.

9:15am on Saturday –
“I have a wheelbarrel. Do you still need one? It’s green.”

“Yes! We need to decorate it so it looks like it is overflowing with mail.”

“I can pick up envelops at Staples.”


10:15am on Saturday –
“Tech crew, I need a few to go help unload a car.”

11:30am on Saturday –
“Let me take your picture in front of the wheelbarrel. It looks perfect”


Theater mom’s and student tech crew members are the best!!

Speech before Final Play Performance

I stood on my MS stage on Sunday afternoon before the matinee and made this speech:

My name is Sally Donnelly.
I teach Reading 6 here at Swanson MS.
Last year I was new here and volunteered to help Ms. Caldwell and she named me Production Manager.

Though last year I was new here, I was not new to the Swanson Drama Department because my 2 girls, now age 30 and 27, participated in the Swanson plays and as a parent back then I saw how much is learned by being invloved in theater.

My daughters learned skills I still see them using successfullly in their work and life.

  • They confidently communicate – sometimes loudly like an actor on stage or sometimes quietly like the stage crew.
  • They are able to be flexible, aware that things change quickly and things don’t always go as expected.
  • They are so creative, sometimes in their body movements, facial and vocal expressions and in their visual design of things learned by helping with the stage sets.
  • They can think quickly on their feet because they learned how to improvise.
  • MOST of all, they take pride in collaborating, doing their one part well so the whole project succeeds.

In the story you are about to watch, the main character, ELLE, is searching for LOVE. Lucky for her, she has 3 important communities offering support – the Delta Nu girls, the Harvard Law students and a suberb and wise hair stylist.

As you watch this amazing cast and crew under:

  • the direction of Ms. Caldwell
  • vocal direction of Josie Walker
  • movement direction of Mr. White
  • tech and set direction of Ms. India
  • and costume design by Ms. Judy

KNOW that the arts is a wonderful community, in my opinion, to attach yourself to and I am so thankful I joined this community.

I encourage all parents to nudge their child to take a drama, voice, or movement course in MS or HS. It is not a wasted elective. When my own youger daughter got into UVA and said she was majoring in Drama, I was so proud because I knew all the skills she’d learn in that community would serve her well for life and so far it has!

I’m so glad I volunteeered to help last year and this year because I have found just what Elle is serching for in the Swanson Drama community.

In closing, to all the parents with a child in the show, last night’s email from me was my last to you (I promise) but know you are still my community so please stay in touch! It has been a priviledge to work with you and your child.

Now back to Ms Caldwell to get this amazing show started!!

**NOTE: I awoke Sunday morning thinking how I had the opportunity to take the stage for a moment as a leader in the production. I jotted down this speech…it felt like it wrote itself. I am glad I decided to be an upstander and stand up for the arts! The arts, in my opinion, an important part of learning, yet never graded on a state test. By being on stage, I also got a huge appreciation for the actors….that spotlight is bright and that audience is large.