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Philadelphia Performing Arts H.S. Cancels Spring Musical Due To Budget Crunch

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(CAPA principal Johnny Whaley Jr. with some of his students.  Credit: Steve Tawa)

(CAPA principal Johnny Whaley Jr. with some of his students. Credit: Steve Tawa)

Steve Tawa Steve Tawa
Steve Tawa joined KYW Newsradio in 1990, and splits his time between...
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By Steve Tawa

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The spring musical, a signature event at Philadelphia’s High School for Creative and Performing Arts, will not go on as planned this year because of Philadelphia School District cutbacks.

The mission at CAPA, on South Broad Street at Christian, is to nurture the creative talents and aspirations of students, and that is unchanged.

But now, for the first time in 17 years, the school’s spring musical production has been canceled.

“Not having the musical, it really broke my heart,” says senior Nayo Jones.  She says that from their freshman year on, all students at CAPA have looked forward to the annual musical as a highlight.

Another senior, Jose Tirado, notes that the annual production brought together students from six arts disciplines.

“It’s a time where artists can unite,” he tells KYW Newsradio.  “It’s more than just putting up a show.  It’s the process, the community, the love, and everything we share.”

CAPA principal Johnny Whaley Jr. says it would have cost $65,000 to $70,000 for performance rights, scores, scripts, sets, and costumes.  In his words, “We put on professional musicals.”

But, he says, the school’s calendar remains chock full of other events: “enough for ten schools.”

And senior Samantha Goldberg, like virtually every other student we ran into, is over the musical’s cancellation because of all of the other positive vibes at CAPA.

“We have done so much already,” she says.  “We just had an amazing performance of Mozart’s Requiem, with the orchestra.”

Adds Kendell Allen, another CAPA senior, “We’ve done things like Antigone, Othello, and other classic works.   It’s melancholy, but we do other things.”

Alumni of CAPA include Questlove of the hip-hop band The Roots, members of Boyz II Men, jazz organist Joey DeFrancesco, bass player Christine McBride, and opera singer Karen Slack.

CAPA enrolls just over 725 students.  It receives thousands of applications a year and holds about 1,300 auditions for a few hundred openings.

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