For the first time in Dublin Coffman High School’s faculty musical production, principal Mike Ulring will not be a cast member.
But he still has an integral role in the show, which began its run Nov. 28 and continues through Thursday, Nov. 29, and Saturday, Dec. 1.
Ulring will be in the orchestra pit, with his band, A Beautiful Mess, to provide musical accompaniment for the faculty production of “Alice!”
Ulring said this year’s cast is the largest ever, with 51 faculty members and 20 children of faculty members, said director Mark Mann. Students comprise the 23-member crew.
The show, written by Doreen Dunn, is an adaptation of the book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (better known by his pen name, Lewis Carroll) rather than the Disney movie adaptation, Mann said, and it features songs from the Beatles’ catalogue.
“It doesn’t take itself very seriously,” Mann said.
Faculty productions provide an opportunity for community building and the shows raise money for the district’s Shamrock Grants, which teachers can use to purchase classroom items, said Melanie Hitsman, library technical aide and “Alice!” producer. The productions typically raise more than $10,000, she said.
Coffman initially performed faculty productions every year, but a few years ago, organizers decided to produce them every other year, said Steve Kucinski, an English teacher.
Kucinski, who has worked at Coffman for 20 years, has participated in every faculty production, playing roles that include Charlie Brown, Captain Hook and Willy Wonka. This year, he will play the Mad Hatter.
Kucinski said the shows became stronger after Mann became involved and brought his professional experience to the productions.
The staff members learn how to manage egos and students in the crew also learn how to give adults direction, he said.
About 30 percent of the school’s staff is involved this year, Ulring said.
Ulring and his band, which includes seven other staff members, have performed at local bars, with the musicians playing cello, violin, acoustic guitar, bass, drums and ukulele and also singing.
Ulring said he taught himself to play guitar to show students taking risks is OK. His guitar playing, which is now tradition at high school graduations, led to the creation of the band about a year ago, he said.
“It’s any sound we want it to be,” he said.
“Alice!” will be performed at 7 p.m. Nov. 29 and 1 p.m. Dec. 1 at Coffman, 6780 Coffman Road. Tickets can be purchased at the school’s main office. Tickets are $7 for adults, $4 for students and free for children 2 and under.