For the past six months, Pasadena Waldorf High School students Ellie Shakespeare and Oliviana Marie have been working hard writing and refining their original musical The Middle of Nowhere as part of the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts’ “Creating Musical Theatre” program. In February, the duo presented their musical to legendary multiple Oscar and Grammy winning composer and writer Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pocahontas, Enchanted, Pippin, Godspell) in Beverly Hills. Schwartz, known for his mentoring of new writers, spent the afternoon offering Ellie and Oliviana feedback and advice regarding their show.

As part of the “Creating Musical Theatre” program, the Pasadena Waldorf High School students have been mentored through a seven-month musical development writing process by professional musical producers, directors, and actors. The program culminates in a special performance of select scenes from The Middle of Nowhere to be performed at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills on March 18, 2018. The Pasadena Waldorf High School students’ show was only one of two finalists chosen, along with Yale University graduates Julian Drucker and Monica Hannush, to be performed.

Music is in the core curriculum at Pasadena Waldorf High School. All students sing in the school choir, perform in instrumental ensembles, take classes in music history and musicianship, and can elect to take two years of musical composition intensives.

Photo: PWS HS Students Ellie Shakespeare and Oliviana Marie with Yale grads Julian Drucker and Monica Hannush, composer Stephen Schwartz. Photo Courtesy: Evelyn Halus