The 46th musical to be presented at Friendswood High School was dedicated to the woman who started the whole program in 1969 and students involved made it a production in her memory.
Myrlene Kennedy, Ph.D. or Dr. K as she was affectionately known, was the founder of the musicals and Executive Producer of all 46 of them, starting with Brigadoon as the first. It was presented in the former junior high auditorium. It began an FHS tradition.
Today in 2014 the musical is presented on two weekends to sold-out crowds. People come 1-2 hours early to get a seat down a hallway throughout FHS so that when the doors open, it is an orderly method of first come, first pick your seats.
As years continued with such hits as Annie Get your Gun, George M!, Hello Dolly!, Oklahoma, The Music Man, South Pacific and more, additions were added to enhance the production. This would include a pit band, choreographer, wireless microphones, and award winning sets and costumes.
Some things never changed. The program would always offer student art through out and leads would have their photos in tuxes and drapes with biographies and past theatre experience included.
Regarding scripts, if language was used that would not be allowed in a high school hall on a school day, it was removed. This year was no exception.
Dr. K was known for her work on musicals with Director Kathy Powdrell, Pit Band Director Julio Sanchez, Choreographer Ashley Marmaro and Choir Director Janwin Overstreet Goode. She started this year’s 42nd Street with no plans to miss it. But physically she did as she passed away Jan. 12, 2014. The auditorium will be named Myrlene Kennedy Auditorium to honor her work.
The cast of 42nd Street had an eternal light on in her memory when the stage was not in use. Sets had some Dr. K touches also. There was a Myrt Avenue (Myrt being a family nickname) on both sides of the auditorium’s outer curtain sets strategically placed on lamp posts and on a bulletin board for a cast rehearsal, there was a note in chalk that read, “Dr. K called and said GOOD SHOW.”
Dr. K loved tap dancing in productions and 42nd Street had it. The show opened with a stage full of dancers and when they all started to tap and tap well, the applause let them know how good they were.
Both weekends offered stellar performances and after the first Saturday night’s visit from the Tommy Tune Awards committee, the cast and crew now await possible nominations from that organization. That too would have made Dr. K happy.
The program has a page in her memory and says the following: The Friendswood community will continue to cherish Dr. Kennedy’s influence and tradition of excellence in the Musical for many years to come. Her legacy will be felt in each production and her quest for only the best will be maintained.
42nd Street: Great Show! Dr. K would have been proud!