Shoutout to Westmoreland High School’s Drama Club and their production of The Phantom of the Opera at The Stanley Theater

Carol Durant
3 min readMar 15

I know what you’re thinking, this title must be fake. Kids, children, minors performing on stage, for real? I know The Phantom of the Opera is a Broadway musical and I know what drama club means. I know you have more questions: Where is Westmoreland High School? Do you mean The Phantom of the Opera by Andrew Lloyd Webber? There is an actual theater where the show was performed? Are you saying high school students put this together and made it happen? How was it? It’s real and it’s true.

Westmoreland High School is located in the town of Westmoreland in upstate New York. Geographically located in Central New York in close proximity to the cities of Rome and Utica. The Drama Club is a foundation block of the many activities available for students enrolled in the school district. The Drama Club delivers plays and musicals every year. They focus on participation from the high school students but all are welcomed. In the past few years students have performed The Canterbury Tales, Peter and the Starcatcher, Fiddler on the Roof, Newsies and The Wizard of Oz. The musical performances were initially in the high school auditorium, but as the level of talent increased, the student’s level of commitment and participation increased and then the pandemic appeared which curtailed events at the high school. An off campus performance space was necessary. The Stanley Theater, a historic former movie house in Utica, is now home to the Westmoreland Drama Club’s musical productions.

Let’s talk about the levels of commitment by the students, teachers, staff, Fine Arts department, administration, custodians, parents, crew, donors, sponsors, JV & Varsity Coaches, transportation, guardians and Board of Education. It was exponential. Hundreds of people coordinated and gave their time and efforts towards operations, logistics, set design, costumes, props, stage management, dance, orchestra, directing, hair, makeup, music, sound, lights, choreography, vocal coaching and the chandelier. Most were lacking sleep but remained focused on moving forward and…

Carol Durant

author, poet, playwright, recording artist, actor, founder and host of Outliers Poetry Brunch