Los Gatos Math Musical in a Day Makes Learning a Blast

Can five LGHS seniors pull off writing and producing a musical in just 24 hours? Come to the show and find out!


If your New Year's resolutions include feeding your mind and having more fun, Jan Blasberg has the perfect evening activity for you this Saturday.

For the last decade, this uber-dedicated Fisher Middle School math teacher (more on her in Freaky Friday) has found a way to make math fun for her students.

The kids have been writing songs about the Greek theorem and the quadratic formula, and setting the lyrics to popular songs by the Beach Boys, Taylor Swift, The Beatles, and wait for it--The Village People.

This Saturday evening those ditties will come to life on stage at Los Gatos High School in a project called "Musical in a Day." 

Nothing short of a miracle, here's how "Musical" works: A dedicated group of LGHS seniors/Blasberg groupies--Call them "Blasbergies"--including Shannon Atherton, Dana Cullinane, Rodd Farhadi, Serena Koo and Lane Lyle--will write, cast, direct and perform an original musical based on a decade's collection of original song lyrics about algebra and geometry written by Fisher students—all with a 24-hour time frame.

The kids meet at 7 p.m. Friday, and stay up all night writing the musical. (Not even going to ask how much Red Bull will be consumed!) 

Meanwhile an all-call casting alert is posted on Facebook. First thing Saturday interested LGHS student actors show up at the theatre where the writers hand off the scripts to the kids. 

The actors memorize lines and rehearse all day. The show begins at 7 p.m.—exactly 24 hours from the start time.

A three-year "Play in a Day" veteran (this year marks the first musical) Lane Lyle is realistic about the task ahead.

"The beauty of the show is not the beauty of the show. It's the fact that we did it in one day. There's this rushed feeling, and an air of crazy that comes with doing it. The process is a long, stressful, difficult, hot mess, but we're really excited to do it."

Lyle and her fellow thespians promise an evening of racous fun. After all, how can you not have a blast listening to the Village People's YMCA tricked out with these lyrics …“Yo Man! So you're learning new math. I said Yo Man! The intellectual path. I said stop now! And let me help you out. So you can graph straight lines with no doubt." 

Along with the fun, the best part about this year's production is that proceeds will be split between the LGHS music department and an intermediate school on Staten Island deeply affected by Hurricane Sandy.

The "Musical in a Day" performance is at 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 12 at the LGHS theater. A $5 donation is suggested at the door.

For more details, visit the Facebook Page: LGHS Math Musical in a Day.

Philip S Levine January 09, 2013 at 03:10 PM
Ms. Blasberg is one of Los Gatos's exceptional teachers who while academically rigorous still makes math fun and interesting. Our daughter Amy who is now a Freshman at UC Davis - and while probably a politics major - is now taking the engineering level of calculus, doing very well and still speaks of teachers like Fisher's Ms. Blasberg and several other math teachers from LGHS very fondly. Teachers earlier in their careers should use successful veterans like this as role models.
Kim Ratcliff January 09, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Thanks for writing, Philip. Sometimes it takes a while for Jan's students to realize what a phenomenal teacher she is. We used to joke about my son, Tanner, who had 8th grade nightmares where he'd scream out Mrs. Blasberg's name. Now that he's a sophomore, he appreciates her dedication.
Gary Hinze January 09, 2013 at 10:07 PM
Looks like fun. I and my math buddies used to have a lot of fun with math concepts. Matt and I would do math puns sometimes involving math and five different languages. The only one I remember, from 45 years ago, was a in dispute about integrals in which Matt concluded "Sum would say so." Matt was the TA who corrected my homework in Calculus class. I read a book in the early sixties: A Stress Analysis of a Strapless Evening Gown, by Robert A. Baker. It is in the San Jose King library and on Amazon. I always remember one lyric whenever I am doing trig or circle problems: "secant, cosine, 3.14159".
Mani Farhadi January 09, 2013 at 10:19 PM
This is such a great example of collaboration on many levels: between Fisher Middle school and Los Gatos High School; between Performing Arts and Mathematics; between the left brain and the right brain; between the school and the community - all for a good cause, while having fun! Ms. Blasberg has become a huge positive influence in the life of so many students. We are fortunate indeed!
Mckenna Smith January 09, 2013 at 11:02 PM
God understood our thirst for knowledge, and our need to be led by someone wiser; He needed a heart of compassion, of encouragement, and patience; Someone who would accept the challenge regardless of the opposition; Someone who could see potential and believe in the best in others . . . So He made Mrs. Blasberg.
Bonnie Westman January 09, 2013 at 11:25 PM
We love Mrs. Blasberg, she is a gem! She taught my son Nick geometry in 2006-07 at Fisher and helped to propel a great interest in math, problem solving and creativity. He is now a sophomore at UCLA majoring in Computer Science and Engineering with a minor in math. Thank you Mrs. Blasberg for helping Nick and so many excellent students in the LGUSD! Can't wait to see the show!


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