Kentlake drama teacher takes final bow

“I think it’s time,” Pamela Cressey simply said when asked why she was retiring as a teacher and director of countless shows at Kentlake High School.

With a coffee in hand, and dozens of students buzzing around, Cressey is happy and relaxed. Students come up to her every few minutes asking questions about the set of “Sister Act” they are working on and Cressey guides them in the right direction.

“Sister Act” will be Cressey’s final show. It is more of a minimal show than she is used to, not as many props are being used. But it will be a great show to watch with a lot of lights, audience participation and other minimal but great effects, she said.

“I should be more nervous since the show starts soon, but I feel more relaxed than I have ever felt before,” Cressey said.

Sister Act opened on April 20 and runs through May 6. She chose Sister Act as her final show because it has a 70s theme, which was around the time she started teaching.

During her time at Kentlake, she has directed more than 30 shows, including her favorite and first show, “West Side Story”. It was her favorite because she wasn’t sure if she would be able to find the talent for that show. With a lot of praying, the right talent has always shown up.

“I don’t know how it just happens, but I have always gotten the right talent for the plays, they just miraculously show up,” Cressey said.

When Cressey would pick a show, it should give her goose bumps and make the hairs on the back of her hand to stand up, that’s how she knows it will be a good show. She has gotten that feeling for every single show she has directed, including her final one.

Cressey is constantly reminded that there is no limit to what kids can do. If students are pushed to produce plays that are as close to Broadway quality plays, the will push themselves that hard, she said.

“Phantom of the Opera” was one of the most successful shows she directed, it sold out every night, she said. Because it was so popular, the show ran an extra week.

Shows typically take four months from beginning to end and it is all worth it at the end, Cressey said. She wants the public to know how hard these students work and that these plays are great, affordable entertainment.

While she has had the time of her life directing shows, it is time her role is passed on to someone else. Even though she won’t be teaching or directing drama classes, she will continue to work with plays somehow.

“Maybe it’s my turn to be a star,” she said. “The Where’s the Beef lady was in her 90s when she was in the commercials, after all.”

If a fun, light filled, entertaining show is something you’re interested in, Cressey’s “Sister Act” opened April 20 with shows today, April 21, and 22, 27-29 and May 4-6 at the Kentlake Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. with 2 p.m. Saturday matinees.