Musical #helps #teens address #common #issues

GREENSBURG – Local students have joined the cast of a musical intended to examine difficult topics for teens that will take the stage this weekend at Greensburg Community High School.

Last year’s local debut of “Dead Serious…About Life” explored issues such as teen suicide and pregnancy, divorce, substance abuse and much more, and Cornerstone Baptist Church Youth Pastor Katie Miller believes this year’s pair of shows will have the same positive impact on audiences as the 2017 performances.

The key, she believes, lies in helping young people understand that they never have to deal with their problems alone.

 “I hope that children who come and watch it realize that no matter what issue they’re going through in life, they’re not alone,” said Miller. “We want them to know that someone cares enough to help them.”

That has been a goal of “Dead Serious…About Life” since its inception in 1989.

Saturday and Sunday’s local shows will carry on a tradition aimed at bringing a variety of topics that are often difficult to discuss out into the open.

From self-harm to bullying to drug use, the musical sets out to explore issues teens face by introducing them to realistically-portrayed characters facing such challenges. All of the performers are teenagers themselves, and together they form a theatre group called Mishpachah, Inc. The word Mishpachah is Hebrew for family.

Three Greensburg Community High School students are part of the show, which has been performed in 18 different states. Schools, churches, civic centers, church camps, malls and even amusement parks have played host to the program throughout the years.

The sophomore effort in Greensburg is unique in comparison with last year’s offering in that local kids are active participants.

Miller said sisters Olivia and Mary Smith play the roles of Skyler and Stephanie, respectively, while Emily Jones helps out with technical aspects such as light and sound. In all, the production comes together through the combined efforts of about two dozen students. Many of the performers are from Cincinnati area.

The plot of “Dead Serious…About Life” centers on an unsupervised party at a student’s house that brings the characters together – and casts a light on the difficult issues each is facing.

“‘Dead Serious’ will expose us all to the issues of abortion, alcohol, bullying, drugs, religion, self-esteem, sex and suicide – issues that all too often we don’t want to talk about or face,” a news release from Mishpachah, Inc. states.

 A Christian mission, the musical is backed locally by Cornerstone Baptist Church, First Baptist Church and Community Church of Greensburg. The Brown County Community Church is another core religious institution helping bring the program to Greensburg.

This year’s shows begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 28. Both performances will take place in the GCHS auditorium. Tickets are available at the door for $7.

Miller said she believed one of last year’s performances sold out. The well-attended programs brought church groups, students and adults to the auditorium for an eye-opening look at situations often faced by real-life teenagers, in some cases on a daily basis.

The musical implements comedy alongside its sometimes grim subject matter, however, and strives to get its message across in a way that is relatable to young people.

“It is up front, it is blunt, it is life,” a press release states.

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