Tabb celebrates 25 years of drama at Hillside

By Keshaunna Green
Hillside Chronicle Staff Writer

Editor’s note: the following story is gratefully reprinted from the Hillside Chronicle

Wendell Tabb has been teaching in the Hillside theatre department for 25 years.

He has directed and developed more than 50 plays and musicals, including The Wiz, Beauty and the Beast, Dream Girls and Fame. Tabb’s plays and musicals feature an average of 40 – 60 students on large shows and about 15 – 20 students in smaller shows.

At curtain call, Wendell Tabb, right, receives the adulation of the cast of The Wiz. (Photo courtesy of the Hillside Chronicle)

“On showcase night about 600 people on average attend the musicals or plays,” Tabb said.

The plays are usually one to two hours long and the theatre department is currently working on a new script for The Story: African Americans Who Made A Difference and also plans for another international trip.

The Wiz, The Story, I Just Wanna Tell Somebody and Hairspray are some of the future showcases coming up.

Tabb stated that he enjoys his job.

“I enjoy watching the students demonstrate on stage what they have learned to the best of their ability,” he said. “I enjoy most about my job the opportunity to meet so many people through building community relationships.”

Allison Wilson, a Hillside senior who will play Evilene in the upcoming production of The Wiz, said when she was a freshman, it was her first time doing The Wiz, and now that she’s a senior, they’re doing it again.

The Wiz was my opening number to Hillside and the closing number to my four years,” said Wilson.

Although Tabb has directed and showcased many plays and musicals, he doesn’t think he has a “best” play.

“I really do not have a best play,” he said. “Each play has its own challenge and artistic style. The Wiz is probably the best in terms of audience appeal, but Once On This Island is the most challenging to direct because the music runs continuously throughout the whole show.”

Tabb complimented his students on the successes of the Hillside drama department.

“I give credit to the present and former students for the success of our drama department,” said Tabb. “They are truly dedicated and committed to carrying out and maintaining its legacy.”