For the UAHS students about to perform in this year's musical, as well as the group of alumni coordinating them behind the scenes, the old axiom still applies: The show must go on.

For the UAHS students about to perform in this year's musical, as well as the group of alumni coordinating them behind the scenes, the old axiom still applies: The show must go on.

With next month's production of "How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying," a number of production roles have been filled by former students, working to share their experiences with this year's class.

February's production will feature directing by David Bahgat ('04), set design by Keith Schnacke ('07), sound design and engineering by Mike Freeze ('08), and lighting design by Anthony Aleshire ('08).

"It's a pretty cool thing that, from the technical side, these guys have learned and decided to make that their vocations, but they all started in our productions," said Eric Kauffman, UAHS vocal music director. "When they were students here they all did dual duty. If they weren't in a scene, they were doing something backstage, or in here on weekends working to get the musicals ready."

Bahgat, who is now acting in New York City, said this year's production satirizes the way men and women interact in the office.

"It's a commentary on the business world, and it definitely is a satire on the workplace and what women's roles there are," he said. "It pokes fun at CEOs and corporate execs, asking if they, or anyone, really ever knows what they're doing in their jobs.

"In this piece, we really decided from the beginning that women are the brains behind the workplace, that really, the job can't be done without them, and we play with that."

Freeze, now a theater major at Ohio State, said working with the students has improved his own technical skills.

"It's really cool to see others who are just as interested and invested as this as you are, and who are learning it for the first time," he said. "They'll ask questions about things that I do without thinking about it, and it makes me look back on how I learned it step by step. It helps you to improve at the same time. It's great to see them going through the thought process, and building upon it."

Aleshire, who also studies theater at OSU, said watching the students realize that theater is something they can continue with after graduation is very rewarding.

"When you work with these kids, they come in after school and it's something they do almost like a club," he said. "But then they slowly realize that this is a profession, that you can use it to make a living, and they start to pay a little more attention and learn it as a skill, as if they're going to class.

"It's really cool when they start to see this as more than just something they can do after school."

"For me, the job was to teach them what it would be like if they were doing this show not at a high school, but in a professional environment," Bahgat said. "Making sure they understand that there are certain responsibilities that come with that, but having a positive experience at the same time, and I think they've been doing that."

Kauffman said that the alumni are helping the current students to see that the theater can be a vocation, not just a hobby. But that difference, he said, is up to each individual student.

"From a big-picture standpoint, we have a responsibility to promote this art, and you'll find kids who are extremely interested in it, oftentimes as much as we are," Kauffman said. "But you don't force it on them. You allow them to experience it, and where they go is their decision. But at least they've had something to reference, and these experiences will be with them the rest of their lives."

UAHS's opening night performance of "How To Succeed" is Feb. 23. More information on the musical and ticket sales can be found online at www.uavocalmusic.org.