In 1981, Bonnie Spark was hired by Father Terry Young to teach English and Communications and to start a serious Performing Arts program. Thus the St. Pius X drama program was born. In November 1981, our first production was a Fall Arts Festival. The production featured eighteen enthusiastic students dressed in comedy/tragedy t-shirts. Their parents were delighted and the cafeteria overflowed with a newly found arts community.
During the 1980s, productions such as Magic To Do, Godspell, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, and The Sound of Music were held in the cafeteria and the gym. Archbishop Donnellan was a “believer” in theatre, and after a huge campaign in 1983 and 1984, The Young Center for the Performing Arts was constructed. In 1986, Oklahoma was the first of many standing room only productions in our new home.
During the 1990’s, more drama classes were added, and the Pius Players was full of acting hopefuls. Approximately 40% or more of the student population was involved in music, dance, drama or art. Highlight shows were: The Boy Friend, The Sound of Music, Camelot, Fiddler on the Roof, Plain and Fancy, The Wiz, Godspell, South Pacific, and Over Here.
The Pius Players were now performing at least three shows every year-a fall play, a one-act play and/or a children’s show, and a spring musical. The drama department became a co-curricular program, not simply a club. Every spring, two days were set aside for tour shows for our feeder schools in order to promote the program. In the 2000s, productions such as Into the Woods, She Loves Me, Star Mites, Grease, West Side Story, and Oklahoma packed the theatre. More recently, sold-out musicals such as Beauty & the Beast, The Sound of Music, Godspell and Grease and fall plays like Arsenic and Old Lace, Shakespeare's The Tempest, and The Butler Did It, Again! have kept audiences coming back for more. During the last twenty-one years, eight different drama courses have been offered and at least 66% of the student body now enjoys a class in the arts.
Monsignor Young’s vision for a serious Fine Arts Department has become a reality. Through the years, the unconditional love and support of students, parents, the alumni, faculty, friends, and staff has, to quote Candide, “made our garden grow.