In the fall of 1967, a group of Osseo teachers began working on the creation of a “variety show” to accomplish two goals:
(1) raise money for scholarships for Osseo Senior High students going on to college; and
(2) provide an opportunity for teachers new to both District 279 and to teaching, to meet their peers outside of the buildings in which they worked.
For a couple of years prior to 1968, the District experienced incredible growth – over 200 new teachers were hired each year!
From his experience performing in the “Blackboard Revue” while teaching choral music in Virginia, MN, Duayne Malewicki brought the ideas of a similar variety show to a group of Osseo teachers. There was no lack on interested hams that first year, but for two years following, many staff members were very skeptical that this idea would be successful. As you can see, this is our 50th year of performing and raising scholarship dollars in our community.
more ideas were thrown into the wastebasket than were actually used in that first show
The name Wastebasket Revue was coined at a writing meeting of 15-20 interested teachers because more ideas were thrown into the wastebasket than were actually used in that first show.
The musical group Swingin’ Educators name was also coined by the committee that first year. The group was patterned after Johnny Mann’s “Young Americans” who appeared in a weekly TV variety show wearing white pants and sweatshirts, singing both popular songs and standards as well as folk songs and patriotic music. The Swingin’ Educators also wore white pants the first two years, but orange sweatshirts the first year were replaced with lime green sweatshirts the second year.
In 1968, that scholarship amount could carry a student through North Hennepin Community College for a year!
To keep the show going by having seed money, the writers decided to sell “shares” for the third show. Nearly everyone who participated in the first two years purchased shares at $5.00 each. These were all paid in full with the box office receipts that years, and a board of directors was established. The board held back enough money so that the next year’s show could be launched, but it gave the rest away in scholarships. There were three or four $100-$300 scholarships awarded each of those first years. In 1968, that scholarship amount could carry a student through North Hennepin Community College for a year!
The theme of the first show was Miss Newteach played by Judy Nelson. Included in the first or second year show was Superprof, a character designed to show how an experienced teacher can give a new teacher lots of help. Some of the teachers who started Wastebasket Revue are still active members in the District and the Revue.
Cast and Support
employees of the District (past and present) and their spouses are encouraged to join the Revue
Auditions for Swingin’ Educators were not held for the first five years since space on the Osseo Junior High stage did not limit the number of performers. Those first few years, everyone played a variety of parts because all available bodies were needed. However, when nearly 90 singers jammed the stage during the following years, auditions soon became standard policy. As the Revue matures, it is becoming increasingly important to recruit new cast members – employees of the District (past and present) and their spouses are encouraged to join the Revue.
Each year, approximately 300 staff members from all areas of the District (teachers, administrators, secretaries, paraprofessionals, custodians, cooks, etc.) are needed to write and produce the Revue.
The writing committee starts to create a theme and script in October.
The Swingin’ Educators and the dancelines begin practicing in January.
The rest of the cast usually begins practicing in February.
Our band is so talented, they don’t need to practice until April!!