The Grand Performance
A/N: Hello. This is Stargazer. I felt that this story needed a heavy rewrite and I'm doing it:) I do not own Cats, or anything else in this story other than the people (Not the characters they play in the show) Thank you for your patience while I redo this story :)
Chapter 1: The Assembly
There was a soft click of a telephone receiver. A middle aged woman sat on her couch, her head resting on one of her hands. Her eyes were closed, her mind working and trying to figure out how to get out of her situation that she was put into. The woman opened up her eyes and grabbed her red rimmed glasses. She slipped them upon her face and pushed herself off the couch. She walked to the kitchen and grabbed a cup from the cabinet.
"Violet?" came a voice from behind the woman. Violet turned around and smiled.
"Yes Mark?" she asked, turning back to the sink to fill her glass with water.
"Is everything okay?" asked Mark, walking up behind Violet. She sighed and sat her class down upon the counter top.
"No... I got call from the school board..." she said. Mark wrapped his arms around his wife's waist and put his chin upon her shoulder.
"And? What did they say?" he questioned. He was a little scared, he felt he knew what it was about, but he didn't want to say anything or make her feel bad about whatever it was.
"What do you mean we have to cut the music and theatre department?" asked Mrs Bell, standing up from her seat. There was an outburst of murmurs from the teachers in the room. Violet rubbed her head as the murmurs got louder and soon there were several people talking to her at once.
"Principal Williams, please, why must we have these departments cut?" asked Camille Davis.
"Funding... The state is taking away our funding because of the recent election." explained Violet.
"Can't we raise taxes? Go for a tax levy?" asked James Carlton, one of the math teachers.
"We don't have enough support in this community. We are small, and more than half the population are actually people forty and over. Our high school's population is only five hundred. More than half play sports, and only two percent of the sport players also participates in the fine arts. Our band is small and our choir is small. Our theatre department is a nice size, thirty children, but still.. thirty students compared to the four hundred and seventy students left in the school." explained Violet, sitting down at the long table.
"What about the art classes?" asked Janice Ludwig, the German teacher.
"What art classes? No one is interested in art here... All I have is a intro to art that all students must take and a drawing one class with the most children I ever had was ten students... The rest of the time I teach study hall..." explained Robert Wallace. Violet put her head in her hands.
"Isn't there a way we can save our departments? There must be some way," said Mrs. Bell, walking towards Violet.
"If we can show the government that we need that money, that we have the talent to keep our programs going strong, then they'd consider it... But we must raise so much money with a show... They want a show for it combines both singing, acting, playing and artistic work... Its the best way to raise money..."explained Violet. The room became quiet, the situation finally really sinking into the group of teachers. Mrs. Bell sat down and looked at Violet.
"Do you have a show picked out already?"
The students shuffled into the gym, several students rubbing their eyes. It was the first Monday of the month, and it meant the monthly assembly. It was always a boring one, even though they got to miss most of their first period that day, which a lot were thankful for. They all made their way to the bleachers, and waited for the principal to announce upcoming events, award points to the grades that have been doing good work, take away points for students being bad, and to give them all a ponderable before they left for class. The month before she had asked "Is a zebra white with black stripes, or black with white stripes?" Quite a few students never payed attention to the statement, but several students did and most of the freshman were walking around asking themselves, what is a zebra? Black or white? The students quieted down when they saw Principal Williams step up to the microphone up on the stage on the other side of the gym. Violet put on a fake smile and began to speak.
"Good morning Watercrest, I hope you are enjoying the year so far. I know it will be one you will never forget. Before I can get to the upcoming events and the ponderable today, I must discuss something that is very important and will effect everyone here for the upcoming year." Violet stopped, for she knew there were be several whispers would be started. She was was right. Several students looked at each other and began to whisper as quietly as they could. They were confused. Were they getting a new principal? Were they getting a new building? They really needed a new building, for the high school had no air conditioning and they needed a new choir and band room, both of them were falling apart some. Violet coughed a bit and the students quieted down.
"Now, I know this school is big into sports, and we all know that most of you are involved in sports. The other population of the school is in the fine arts, there is rarely anyone who doesn't do something here at Watercrest, even though there are the occasional independent student. I am proud to say... our sports teams do rather well, our cross country team always goes to state, and usually brings back one winner, our football team has several district titles, and the government sees that. What it does not see... is the fine arts," explained Violet, removing the microphone from the stand. Before whispers could be started up, Violet continued. "The government has decided to cut our funding to the school, and this means that we must make cuts... I've been trying to reason with them and the student board on how we could go about this, on how we might be able to get our funding back. The school board says we are wasting our money that we give our fine arts classes, saying that nothing comes from them. We have a decent choir, but no one looks at choirs. Our band... well, our band is good for what it can be. Our art, is special for the few people who do it and our theatre is fine... The board does not see this, they just see things that do not turn up money and say that they are cutting that funding. I told them that we could do something, something to show them that we can make money with these art forms, all art forms; dancing, singing, painting, playing, acting, all of these we can do within a musical. The board laughed, asking us how we could pull off a musical. They said that last year, the Wizard of Oz was terrible. I explained to her that it was not our fault that half the cast came down with strep throat and you could not understand them half the time... They didn't care. They want us to put the money to new uniforms for all the sports teams even though we just got new uniforms two years ago for the majority of the teams.
"This is why I had to tell you this before I could announce the upcoming events. There will be auditions for the spring musical soon. The board said that if we were going to do a musical, they were going to pick it. I told them that the theatre teacher should pick it but they refused. We are in the middle of getting the rights to it... for it did just get released..." The soft whispers that were going through the crowd of students that started when she announced the cutting of the fine arts grew louder. Several people shouted out saying various things like They can't do that; I have a friend who does fine arts; My sister does art and she'll be here next year; What is the musical. All these questions hit Violet hard and she had to hold up her hands to get the room quiet.
"Please students... please be quiet and I will tell you what is going to happen for the musical. I must say, that it devastated me when they told me the musical they wanted. I tried to talk them out of it, I really did, but it couldn't be helped. They said if we wanted to make money we had to do a big show, one that would put butts in the seats. With the release of this show, they said it would guarantee butts. I told them that it was a difficult show, that it would require a lot of time... They told me to get on it."
"Will you please tell us the musical already?" shouted someone from the crowd. Violet made a small little smile.
"Mr. Johnson, I never thought that a football player would ever want to know the name of a musical so bad." There was a small little laugh that went through the students. "The musical is Cats." A large groan went through the student body. The thought of the musical itself made half the students want to get up and leave. Out of all the shows that they could have picked, they picked the one that was hard, physically challenging, and basically nothing but singing. Violet knew this, and knew that with this show not many people would audition... She prayed that they would get enough students to audition and to make the show happen... She wanted to keep the fine arts... she couldn't lose them here at the school she ran like the school that she went to. She just couldn't lose them.