Tag Archives: Edison High School

Reminisce at Smokey Joe’s Cafe Production in Northeast

“Intergenerational” gets real at Thomas Edison High School these days as students and their teachers work tirelessly to breathe 21st Century energy into a 1995 revue with songs their parents and grandparents remember well.  Smokey Joe’s Café, this fall’s theater production at Edison is not a “play” but a fast-paced evening of music by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.


Performances of Smokey Joe’s Café will be Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, December 14-16, 7:00 p.m. at Thomas Edison High School, 700 22nd Avenue Northeast.  Tickets are just $6 and $8 for adults.


Leiber and Stoller, who wrote for the Drifters and the Coasters – not to mention Elvis – transcended racial and cultural boundaries of the mid 20th Century.  Max Athorn, theater teacher at Edison, observes that “it’s a great choice for Edison because we have a wonderfully diverse population and the diversity of music of Leiber and Stoller is a reflection of the many different types of artists for whom they originally wrote.”  This cast, Athorn adds, “embraces the challenge to capture the many different styles represented in the show.”


Audiences should expect music – and more music!   Thirty-nine popular standards including rock and roll, rhythm and blues, and a host of perennials such as “Stand by Me”, “Jailhouse Rock,” “I’m a Woman” and “Fools Fall in Love”.


Smokey Joe’s Café, which opened on Broadway in 1995, won a Grammy in 1996 and ran for over 2000 performances off and on Broadway and in London.  For more background on “Smokey Joe’s Café” check the Wikipedia notes where there’s a full list of the songs included in the original production.


Smokey Joe’s is directed by Max Athorn in his second year of teaching at Thomas Edison.  Athorn is a graduate of Minneapolis South High and holds degrees in music and theater arts from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and teaching certification and additional graduate work in education at Hamline University.


Working with Max is Music Director Stacey Kilton, Edison’s choir teacher in her fifth year.  Kilton and Athorn were classmates at South High School before she studied music education at Ithaca College in New York.


The choreographer for the production is Skye Horton, an Edison sophomore who volunteered to choreograph the entire show.  Horton worked during the summer to compose a variety of dances for her peers to perform in the show and, according to Athorn, “has been the embodiment of the type of student leadership that we are trying to foster at Edison.


Director Athorn reflects with enthusiasm on the production and on the theater program at Thomas Edison High School.  “We are lucky to be in a school that is extremely supportive of arts education, from the principal and assistant principals to the other classroom teachers.  Edison supports young artists of all kinds — painters and photographers, singers and dancers, hair stylists and violinists. It’s a school that is celebrating and reflecting its greater community by striving to create at a high level using many different mediums.”


With obvious pride Athorn adds that “Smokey Joe’s Cafe is a big undertaking for the theater artists — we are excited to share it as we work as a whole school to establish ourselves as a leader in arts education in Minnesota.”

Live Northeast. Educate Northeast – Showcase November 12

Once again the schools of Northeast are collaborating to host the 6th annual Northeast School Showcase. It’s Saturday, November 12, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. at Thomas Edison High School Community Gym, 700 22nd Avenue Northeast.

The showcase offers a one-stop look at how you can map out an awesome K-12 journal in a Northeast school – Pillsbury, Waite Park (for PK-5), Northeast (6-8), Sheridan (PK-8), March (K-8), Edison (9-12) and Emerson (PK-5 Spanish Immersion)

Free activities for parents and children.

The Showcase is sponsored by PEN (Public Education Northeast), a collaborative organization supporting Minneapolis Public Schools in Northeast. For more information visit http://publicedne.blogspot.com/ or call Jenn Bennington 612 578 8616.

Dolly in Northeast — It’s So Nice to Have You Back Where You Belong!

Morris Park Players are celebrating their 100th production with one of America’s perennial favorites, Hello, Dolly! Beginning Friday, October 28, Dolly will strut her stuff on stage at the Edison High School Auditorium, 700 22nd Avenue Northeast. Performances continue through mid-November with 7:30 performances continuing on November 4,5,10,11 and 12 and 2:00 matinee performances on October 29 and November 6.

Though Morris Park Players have a long history in Minneapolis their move to Northeast is more recent. The troupe began as the Morris Park Father Singers in spring 1952. Over the years, the group transformed and expanded its repertoire, first changing in 1968 to the Morris Park Singers, and again in 1981 to its present name, Morris Park Players.

For many years Morris Park Players performed at Folwell Middle School in South Minneapolis. Over the past 55 years they have mounted some 100 productions, a fact they are celebrating with the ever ebullient Dolly!
The intent of the Morris Park Players is to provide quality musical theatre to the community as well as many opportunities for individuals to contribute and develop their talents. The move to Edison continues their partnership with the Minneapolis Public Schools and establishes their position “ in the midst of the vibrant arts community in ‘Nordeast’.
Tickets for Dolly are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors. Groups of ten or more should call 612 724 8373. Tickets may be purchased online at morrisparkplayers.org – or find the Players on Facebook or Twitter. There’s a special Alumni Night and celebration of the 100th production on Friday evening, November 11 – details online.

Edison High School Honored with GREEN Program Designation

How Green is My High School?  That could be the new theme song at Edison High School in Northeast Minneapolis.  And singing along with the Edison choristers would be Jayni and Chevy Chase who were recently on hand to kick off the GREEN Community Schools program, a national initiative designed to create a holistic model of environmenta; awareness to public schools.  Edison topped a field of hundreds of applicants to be named just the second GREEN Community School in the nation

Jayni Chase, an environmental educator, is the prime mover behind the GREEN Community School project, a joint initiative with MRG.  The GREEN project funds a Resource Coordinator who will work Edison staff to integrate green subject matter into thee curriculum and extra-curricular activities.  The program incorporates a range of topics focused on the curriculum but extending to the energy efficiency of the building and sustainable food procurement among other creative initiatives.

On hand at Edison for the kickoff on May 21 were Jayni and Chevy Chase and an all-star platform of political and community leaders including Senator Amy Klobuchar, Mayor RT Rybak, and Councilman Kevin Reich.  Edison principal Carla Steinbach described environmental projects in which Edison students, faculty and staff are involved;  one highlight was students’ production of “seed bombs”, aggregated blobs of compressed soil, compost, seeds and clay, designed to provide nutrients necessary to sustain the seeds to be scattered on empty fields and lots.  Watch for the blooming products of these Edison student-produced seed bombs throughout the community this summer.

Congratulations to Edison students, faculty and staff – and thanks to Jayni and Chevy Chase for recognizing a quality high school that has the stuff to capitalize on the opportunity to Go GREEN!