Milo Cramer’s School Pictures will open your eyes on the public school system

-Brenda Hillegas
photo by Johanna Austin

Writer/performer Milo Cramer was inspired to write School Pictures from their true experiences as a private tutor in New York City. During the show, you’ll “meet” their various students through humorous songs written specifically about each one. Some want to be artists, some like math, some hate to read (unless it’s about zombies). Each one has individualized needs, showing the audience a glimpse into teen life and how unique each student truly is. So why, then, are these students often grouped into bigger pictures? In the case of the New York City’s flawed school system, it seems either you’re gifted or you’re not?

See, Cramer’s original songs and endearing stories are going somewhere. At first, you may think you’re just witnessing a heartwarming piece about a tutor’s favorite kids. But, the show’s “big reveal”- without giving too much away- breaks down the unfair tests and hoops that New York City’s public school students have to face from the beginning. These kids are divided unjustly from kindergarten and become nothing but stats for the districts in the city’s education system.

Cramer has been collaborating with the Wilma’s Lead Artistic Director Morgan Green since meeting at Bard College. Together, in School Pictures, they create an experience we all should witness. We’ve all felt the stress of being a teenager in school and now some of us are planning for the “before you know it” years of sending our own children into high school testings and admissions. The playful songs about the quirky group of tutees in School Pictures remind us what’s behind those stats and the pressure put on young children to do better when they really are already doing so much. Let’s not forget the present day concerns of Zoom fatigue and pandemic lock downs that also change the dynamic of how children have been learning.

School Pictures is a one-person musical with a huge impact in a short runtime of just 80 minutes. Tickets can be purchased at wilmatheater.org.

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