The Whitnall High School Drama Department, under the direction of Tom Weissgerber, will be performing New Attitude, a musical review that will feature songs like Brad Romance and Thriller.
The show is Nov. 1-3, 7:30 p.m. each night, and 2 p.m. Nov. 4, in the Whitnall High School auditorium.
We caught up with Weissgerber, the school’s Drama Department Director for this edition of Names in the News.
Greenfield Patch: Tell us about your background. When did you come to Whitnall? Where were you before? And how did any of your past experiences prepare you for your role as Drama Department Director?
TW: My work in the Milwaukee Theatre scene began in a local theatre production, and from there, I expanded into work in schools. I was first hired at Whitnall back in 2007 as choreographer. Last year I was brought on as a freelance director for two productions. This year I have been hired as a full-time Whitnall employee, working as a substitute (in house) and as Theatre Director.
Before coming to Whitnall, I was employed as Head of Theatre at Milwaukee Jewish Day School since 1997. Under my guidance, the 4th-8th grade Theatre Arts Program at MJDS flourished.
I have overseen every aspect of production, including staging, direction, casting, choreography, costumes, sets, lighting, theatre management, vocals, and artistic direction. Additionally, I have produced plays on a freelance basis at numerous middle schools and high schools. In addition to my work with school children, I have kept my own performance skills finely honed. I have studied with notable composers, musicians and pianists. I have performed all over the United States. From all of my experiences, I have established valuable contacts in the American Theatre scene. I truly enjoy working with children and using live theater to teach life skills and the art of expression. All of my experiences have prepared me to excel in working in theatre and education. I would I really enjoy seeing a young student gain confidence and self-awareness through the Arts.
Greenfield Patch: Tell us a little bit about the upcoming production. What was the inspiration, what's been the reaction so far, and what should those who come see it expect?
TW: New Attitude is a revue style show. It is a 50-minute high-energy musical revue. The reason I chose a revue is that you can use as many students as possible. There are no roles. I can give everyone an opportunity to experience the world of theatre. Every student should get the opportunity to be on stage and feel good about themselves and learn self-confidence.
Greenfield Patch: How does putting on a Glee-style production compare to an episode of Glee?
TW: I don't want to compare us to Glee. But I can say that we are one of the true high school glee clubs. Real-life high school students performing as who we are without the enhancement of television and the highitech sound and light studio behind us.
Greenfield Patch: What's your ultimate goal when it comes to the Whitnall drama department?
TW: My goal at Whitnall is to give students the professional theatre experience.