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Each year for the past three decades, the cast and crew of Haven Middle School have produced and performed a musical parody called Haven Help Us. This year is no exception, as the nearly 180-member cast takes the Haven stage for this year’s 31st annual performance of Haven Help Us with H2U…unfiltered. Performance times are 7 p.m. on Friday, March 25, and Saturday, March 26. Ticket prices are $5, and tickets can be bought only at the door on the night of each performance.

The show features 14 musical and dancing parodies on stage, plus five videos, and five all-dance numbers, including one by the Haven Faculty. H2U will be the culminating work of more than 220 students, and roughly 35 adults, who worked side by side in a variety of key roles including directing, set design, costumes, props, sound, lighting, and video production. Many more parents participated in chaperoning, providing snack and more. In addition to the 180 student cast members, there are nearly 40 student crew members who were described by one producer as “the offstage stars of the show.”  In total, it is estimated that between  2 – 3,000 man-hours are involved in the production overall.

The process begins sometime in September when both parent and student volunteers begin writing lyrics for the songs, which are parodies of popular current music, including skits such as: I’m in Love with My Uggs, sung to the tune of I Can’t Say I’m in Love, from Hercules, or Teach Me How to Study, sung to the tune of Teach Me How to Dougie as well as parodies of classics such as Here Comes the Sun, Time Warp and more.

In an effort to include the kids as much as possible, this year the producers went to every 7th and 8th grade reading language arts class and explained the process of writing a parody, and also the overall creative process of the edit phase and the selection process. As a result, more than half of the 14 musical parodies were written by students. This year’s performance will also feature a lip dub, for which producers tried to include every cast and crew member. Show rehearsals began in January, and run straight through tech week and dress rehearsals up to performance nights.

For the first time this year Haven Help Us went viral with a social media presence through their Facebook page Haven Help Us 2011, which allowed anyone to stay up to speed on all of the latest show developments, including program advertising opportunities, costume needs, rehearsal schedules, as well as links to classic performances and videos from past years’ shows. The H2U…unfiltered program cover and t-shirt design were created by Haven 7th grader Lily Jones, and a Haven Help Us alumni presence was alive and well with the 8th grade girls dance choreographed by three freshmen girls from ETHS, and other alumni appearing in videos or singing on the sound tracks.  

For more information, visit online at Haven Help Us 2011.