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Oliver Schwartz, Highland Senior from Delaplane, Will Play Lead Role in The King and I By Joanne R. Kresic For Middleburg Life


dedicated and ambitious theater and music director, active in Middleburg and Fauquier County for many years, Michael Hughes, Chair of the Fine and Performing Arts Department at Highland School in Warrenton, believes in bringing classical theater to students and the community. And each year, he bases his choice of productions on the talent that he sees and helps to develop over the years. That he has chosen to direct, for this year’s spring musical, the Rogers and Hammerstein classic, The King and I, indicates that Highland does indeed have a great deal of acting and musical talent. With a cast of 50 students (actors, singers, dancers) from a PK student of three and a half years old to the seasoned actors in the senior class, the endeavor is huge. In addition to the largest-ever cast, there is an ensemble of 25 musicians from the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra, and that many more involved in costume and set design, lighting and sound. With a total of close to 100 involved in bringing the musical to life, Highland School has never before produced anything for the stage on this scale. Set in Siam (now Thailand) in 1862, The King and I tells the extraordinary and true story of the relationship between the King of Siam and the British governess hired to teach his royal children and bring a bit of the modern, western world to Siam. Tapped to play the iconic role of the domineering and charismatic King of Siam, ever etched in our minds by Yul Brynner in the Broadway production and the

film version, is Highland senior Oliver Schwartz of Delaplane. Active in Highland School productions since Lower School, Oliver has the enormous task of bringing the King to life with every deliberate step and every bellowing etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Unassuming and polite, Oliver jokingly reasons, “Well, nobody does short and tan better than I.” On a more serious note, he credits Highland’s intensive program that puts children on stage to speak, whether for assemblies or lower school plays, with making him, and all students, comfortable with public speaking. As his last Highland production, Oliver, when asked about some of his most meaningful experiences Oliver Schwartz will play the lead role in Highland School production of The King and I during his years at Highland School, credits Michael Hughes and his wife Diane with drawing him into As opening night (March 6), draws near, and is also home of the Piedmont Symphony theater and helping him to develop and refine Michael Hughes remains rooted in what he Orchestra. Tickets will be available at the door his acting technique. “I am grateful to them has always believed about theater programs for five performances: Friday, March 6 and Satfor everything they have done for me over the in schools. “Every student who has played a urday, March 7 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 8 at years,” he says. Off to Tulane University in New role on stage has discovered something about 3 p.m. with half price tickets for seniors. Friday, Orleans in the fall, Oliver is excited to be in a themselves. Anything seems possible after you March 13 and Saturday, March 14 at 7 p.m. city where music and theater play an important have conceived of and shaped a character and The evening performance on Friday, March 13 role in the lives of citizens. A long-time soccer performance and given it to the audience from will be preceded by the annual “Empty Bowls” dinner, where ceramic students have created player and relatively new student to the trum- the stage, ” he said. Highland students will perform The King bowls for sale to benefit the hungry in Fauquier pet, he is looking forward to developing musiand I in the school’s 380-seat Rice Theater in the County. Soup will be served as well. For more cally at Tulane. As for Highland, he will miss Performing Arts Center. It is an acoustic gem information on The King and I, visit the Highwhat he feels is a community that is more than a school. For Oliver, it feels like a family as well. that was added to Highland’s campus in 2004, land web site at n

At Highland, a Pre-K to Grade 12 independent day school in Warrenton, we know that every child is unique. Our students get the tools and opportunities they need to discover themselves and the world around them in an academically challenging yet supportive and engaging environment.


March 2015

M i d d l e b u r g

L i f e


If you are looking for new challenges and opportunities, find yourself at Highland School. Please contact Donna Tomlinson at 540-878-2740 to explore our campus, meet our students and educators, and find out what sets Highland – and Highland students – apart. LEARN MORE AT OUR OPEN HOUSE Join us for our next Open House on Sunday, March 8 at 1:00pm. To register, please call Donna Tomlinson at 540-878-2740 or sign up online today at


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Middleburg Life, March 2015  
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