‘They perform for her’: St. James High School theater department puts on musical in honor of director

Published: Apr. 22, 2023 at 10:16 AM EDT
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MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - The show nearly did not go on for students at St. James High School’s theater department.

The school’s theater director, Angela Howard, had to step away from heading up the school’s spring production of “Mamma Mia!” due to life-threatening health issues during rehearsals.

That’s when Bruce Thompson, a St. James alum active in community theater who’s been helping out at the school, was chosen to lead the production.

“We just came to the agreement that the show had to go on,” he said. “The kids are ready and I had been here with her since day one of the production. So when she asked, there was no question about it.”

Thompson said managing the production hasn’t come without its challenges.

“To come back and be on the other side of the table and see these kids that are freshmen and sophomores, and they’re stepping into these big roles. It is just so bittersweet and it’s like that from the first rehearsal to the last show,” he said.

The students have also rallied behind him, with their love of theater and for each other that keeps them together. Thompson added that he knows Howard is with them in spirit.

“She’s definitely still a part of it,” he said. “And I feel like when they do perform, they perform for her.”

Performances of the show run through Sunday.

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