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Revue Gives Youths A Shot On Stage


It's part floor show, part circus and all Broadway.

It's "Scotscapades," a tradition at La Habra High School for 25 years. Staged arena-style in the school's gymnasium, the show features an all-student cast of singers and dancers performing selections from several Broadway musicals.

A special silver anniversary performance of the show is scheduled for a four-day run beginning tonight at 8.

At the helm of the production is music instructor William Dunton, who conceived the show in 1962 as an alternative to a standard stage musical. "How many kids get to sing and dance in a regular show?" Dunton asked. "In this show, everyone gets a shot at doing their thing. And we have a clear intention of what we want to accomplish."

This year's production is budgeted at $12,000. The cast, numbering 200, will perform selections from "Flower Drum Song," "Guys and Dolls," "A Most Happy Fella" and "Gypsy." Dance numbers accompany the singing, ranging from traditional ballroom styles and tap dancing to gymnastics. Also planned is a reproduction of a Chinatown street parade, complete with dragon.

The show remains under the control of Dunton, who is described by some students as "the ultimate father figure."

"If you could pick your dad, he'd be it," said Brian Philbin, 24, who for 10 years has been on the technical crew of "Scotscapades." (It's called that because La Habra High athletic teams are known as the Highlanders, a name for Scottish warriors, a school official said.)

"Dunton has the ability to "make a high school kid feel like he can do anything," said Bob Bailey, 22, a 1981 graduate who stopped by a recent rehearsal to visit his former teacher.

Dunton, in discussing the show's longevity, praised the work of alumni and volunteers. He also expressed gratitude for community donations ranging from cardboard and duck tape to tuxedos.

Competition to appear in the show is traditionally fierce. Final auditions for this year's event lasted six hours.

Larry Ganson, 16, a junior, summed up his feelings about his participation in the show:

"It's a privilege to sing a solo in 'Scots.' You are obligated to give it your best shot."

For information about the event, call (714) 738-3230.

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