We are raising money for the Nordonia High School Drama Club in Macedonia, Ohio that, like so many others, has been decimated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Below you will find all the details of the program, a letter from the Director, and some words from former student members of the program. Please take a moment to share this with friends and family members, and remember that any donation, no matter how small, can make a huge difference in the lives of all the children who love this program and get so many benefits from being a part of it.
Sue and Ryan Dulaney
Who We Are
The Nordonia High School Drama Club (Nordonia Drama) is a self-sustaining extracurricular organization within the Nordonia Hills City School District that focuses on providing performance and technical theatre opportunities, as well as organizing other events and theatre education programming, to the students of the Nordonia and northeast Ohio community.
We produce two main stage productions a year, organize a youth summer camp program, and are a participating school with the Dazzle Awards presented by Pat and John Chapman through Playhouse Square in Cleveland, Ohio.
Letter From the Director
Hello, my name is Chris Simmons and I am the Director of Drama for Nordonia High School.
We are located in Macedonia, Ohio, and are a part of the Nordonia Hills City School District. This past March, our spring musical was two weeks away from performing in front of an audience when the COVID pandemic caused the closure of all K-12 schools in the state of Ohio.
We were set to open Seussical on March 27, 2020. As we shut down production and headed home, we were optimistic that we would be able to return and have our show in a few weeks. The weeks turned to months, and Seussical was officially cancelled in late July.
As the pandemic has evolved over the summer, it became clear that all of our students’ hard work over three and half months of rehearsals would not reach the finish line of a staged performance. As is the case with so many other schools and theatre organizations, the postponement and eventual cancellation of our spring production has left us with all the expenses of our show, without the revenue coming in from ticket sales. On top of cancelling Seussical, we were also faced with the cancellation of our Drama Summer Camp programming.
Each summer Nordonia Drama Club hosts 2-week summer camps in the performing arts for campers in grades 3-9, organized and facilitated by our high school students. This year we have also cancelled both our June and July camp programs. Between the anticipated ticket sales to Seussical, as well as the projected revenue from our camp tuition, Nordonia Drama Club has lost an estimated $30,000 in revenue in the last five months.
Nordonia Drama Club is a self-sustaining organization within the Nordonia Hills school district. Whatever money we plan to spend, we must also plan to bring that back in to balance our budget. With where this pandemic hit us being so close to our show’s opening, Seussical was, for all intents and purposes, already paid for. The rights had been secured, our contracted professionals had worked hard for over three months on the show, the program and production t-shirts were in production, the costumes and props were created. We were ready for opening night.
This is when we were shut down, before having an audience. Our musical ticket sales and the summer camp programs are our two biggest fundraisers of the year. Losing both has been severely detrimental to our program’s prospects going into the next couple of years.
Any money raised through this campaign, and any other fundraising efforts will go right back into our Drama program at Nordonia. It will help ensure that the lights will come up, and the costumes will shine for our next performances and events. We strive for excellence at Nordonia, and I have seen it so many times over and over from my Drama students.
I know that we all would have preferred to have had you sitting in our audience, enjoying the world of Dr. Seuss with us, however it is just not meant to be this year. Any contribution at all is more than enough, and is greatly appreciated. I have left a piece of my heart in Solla Sollew on the Nordonia stage with my cast and crews, and I am hoping to get it back soon.
Until then, thank you so very much for your support of the arts in these unprecedented times.
-Chris Simmons, Director of Drama, Nordonia High School
Nordonia Drama: https://www.nordoniadrama.com/
Nordonia Schools: https://www.nordoniaschools.org/
Dazzle Awards: http://www.playhousesquare.org/education-engagement/dazzle-awards
What We Do
While specific programming may alter from year to year, below is an outline of a typical year in the world of Nordonia Drama.
- Organize after school
- Drama Club meetings/activities
- Host local theatre professionals and organizations in workshop opportunities for students
Fall Play Production:
*3 performances in October
*Involves 25 students, on average Spring Musical Production
*Auditions in December *Rehearses January-April
*3 performances in April
*Involves 90 students, on average Nordonia Community Outreach
*Elementary school visits in character
*Public Library events
*Support of local theatre organizations Dazzle Awards Participating School
*Involved since 2016-2017 school year
*6 Dazzle Award nominations to date, including
*Best Musical nomination for The Wizard of Oz, 2019
*Best Actor nomination for Sam Fujikawa as Marius in Les Misérables, 2017
“The Jitterbug” from The Wizard of Oz on the Connor Palace stage:
*Provides performance and educational opportunities Summer Camp Programming
*2-week summer day camp programs for students grades 3-9
*Organized and facilitated by high school Drama students
*Since 2013, we have had nearly 300 campers come through our programs
Some words from our Alumni:
If someone were to ask me, "what was the best part of your high school career?", I would tell them it was the Nordonia Drama Club.
This drama program gave me a home I didn't even know I needed. Not only was I performing and doing what I loved, I was able to be fully and completely myself without feeling judged.
Nordonia's Drama Club gave me opportunities I didn't even know I'd have. From holding leadership roles, such as President and student director, to performing on the stage of Playhouse Square's Connor Palace Theater.
Performing with this program gave me a chance to experience all aspects of the world of theatre and even gave me skills that I can use now as a college student. Theatre helped me learn how to speak and present myself in front of a crowd, be organized with my schedule and be ready for any sudden changes and showed that no matter what "role" given, YOU are needed just as much as everyone else.
I am so thankful and grateful for the rehearsals, performances, board meetings, summer camps, relationships, opportunities and life skills that this program has given me. I wouldn't trade it for the world.
-Hannah Ford, Class of 2019
After class I always looked forward to going to rehearsals for the spring musicals. Nordonia Drama Club was not only a big part of my life in high school but it also helped shape me become the woman I am today.
Every time I stepped onto that stage, my confidence grew substantially. I am forever grateful for being a part of something so special that allows students to grow beyond their expectations.
-Layla Morris, Class of 2015
Let me explain something to you. Drama Club is truly one of the most special things I have ever been a part of. It absolutely is the most special thing I was a part of at Nordonia.
I will never be more grateful for what Chris and Megan have created. I was able to find something in my life that brings me endless joy: musical theatre. Nordonia would never have been the same for me without performing in the musicals. I learned to love performing.
But the true moments I enjoyed were spending hours after school with some of the best people I know in my life singing, dancing and stressing people out by getting sick during the week of a show. This program has brought out a part of me that I will never be able to repay.
Musical theatre is my outlet now and I will always keep it in my life. All of this began with Nordonia’s Drama Club. It was a pleasure being a part of it and something I’ll forever be grateful for.
-Chris Fujikawa, Class of 2015
I cannot even imagine what my experience at Nordonia would have been if I had not been involved in the Drama Club. I am picturing something a bit like hell. But in all honesty, some of my findest memories occurred in that auditorium: spending time with friends, learning the girls’ choreography from the seats, getting on Chris Simmons’s nerves.
The relationships I have walked away with, both peers and the top-notch staff (I’d trust Chris and Megan with my life before myself) alongside all the opportunities Drama had provided me over the years is truly a gift. -Sam Fujikawa, Class of 2017 I started participating with Nordonia Drama Club at a young age when I attended a summer camp with my cousin.
Growing up, my brothers were always involved in the musicals, and I remember hanging around them and their drama friends thinking it was so cool. I was able to participate in The Music Man in 5th grade. I couldn't wait to be involved in the drama club in high school!
In my four years of high school, the drama club was like a family. From makeup, costumes, stage crew, pit orchestra or acting on stage, everyone could find a place where they belonged. Drama gave me the courage to put myself out on stage and taught me how to have confidence to perform. It has also gave me an appreciation for all the arts. Not only did I have a blast performing with my friends, but I was able to share these experiences with my brothers, for which I am forever grateful.
-Frankie Simmons, Class of 2013
I joined the Nordonia Drama Club during my first year in high school and I am so thankful that I did. Being a part of the drama club is what really helped me grow into the person I wanted to be.
Honestly, high school is a really confusing time for a lot of people but performing some amazing productions alongside my friends is what helped me find a lot of happiness every day. The support and welcoming environment from Chris, Megan, the cast, every music director, pit orchestra member, tech manager, stage manager, makeup crew, it was one of the most supported times of my life when I really needed it.
I honestly couldn't imagine high school without Nordonia Drama, it's what made my high school experience, brought me to some amazing people, and made me who I am today. What students need the most right now is support and confidence in themselves, the Nordonia Drama Club is the best place for it.
-Nicky Dietzen, Class of 2019
To sum up what the Nordonia Drama Club has done for me in the shortest amount of words possible would be something impossible.
Since 2013, the amount of memories created and the relationships built are things that could not be forgotten. Throughout the 9 shows I have been a part of and countless summer camps, times with my friends and family have been crazy!
Whether it was solidifying a show 24 hours before opening, having 14 hour school days, or stuffing food in my face on/off stage in a hurry, there are countless things I'll always miss. I have been fortunate to have great bonds with Chris, Megan, and a lot of the members of the drama club.
They all have made me grow into who I am today, and definitely have let me be the biggest diva on and off stage. Since I was 11, I have always dreamed of being a part of the Nordonia Drama Club and wanting to perform after seeing my older sister on the stage. After 9 years, I can gladly say the auditorium is my home. And, to be honest, I'm not leaving yet!!!
-Jamie Brasdovich, Class of 2020
To be honest, I don’t know where I would be without the Nordonia Drama Club. As much as I talk about it, my friends would probably agree with me.
I was introduced to musical theatre as an extremely shy freshman in high school. My friend thought it would be fun that we could both participate in an extracurricular together. Little did I know, I’d spend the next nine years creating long lasting memories and ultimately calling the auditorium my home away from home.
My love for the stage was great enough to rope my little sister into the club and thanks to that, I haven’t missed a performance that Chris and Megan have produced yet. Not only have I created an impeccable bond with members and staff of the drama club, I’ve become a staff member myself.
After participating in our summer camp since its start in 2013, I eventually became the camp coordinator and director. Since then, I have successfully run three summer camps with wonderful groups of young Nordonia students and future drama club members.
I really owe a lot to Nordonia Drama Club. After the many late nights, quick naps in between scenes, memorable cast parties and the belting of musical soundtracks in my car, I look back and realize I wouldn’t trade it for anything else.
Class of 2015 Photos:
- ceca sarkissian
- Julia Henderson
- Patricia Schroeder
- Karen Willkomm
- Betty and Ron Martin
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