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A Trumbauer Update

November 15, 2009

It was pointed out to me by a commenter (Thanks Bryan) that in the last podcast I focused exclusively on the district success of Huntsville High School’s one act, Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat.  I don’t think Bryan really intended to shoot other schools, but he is a bit of a character, so I’m not 100% sure.  So I’ll choose to think he wanted me to send the other schools a”shout” instead.

Indeed, congratulations to all the individuals and schools that received superior ratings and got sent on to Trumbauer state.  Those fine actors will be going to Troy in early December to compete in the state wide competitions.  It is a fantastic achievement.  I’ve been involved in Trambauer as a judge in the past, and I know how difficult the process is.  Frankly, I admire everyone who attempted a Trumbauer entry, regardless of if they were passed on to state or not.  I’m sorry that I didn’t remember all that hard work in the podcast and make mention of other schools.  It was a shameful oversight on my part.


Nancy Malone

Nancy Malone, Secondary Division Chair, Alabama Conference of Theatre

With that said, the story surrounding Huntsville High School’s disqualification and reinstatement continues to mystify me.  It seems the chair of the Trumbauer competition, Nancy Malone, is using some pretty vague language in her responses to my direct questions.  In an email on Friday I asked three specific questions:


  1. Was Huntsville High School disqualified?
  2. If so, on what grounds?
  3. Are they still disqualified or are they back in competition?

Ms. Malone used a pretty typical spin tactic in response to this email.  I’m not saying she is lying in any way, I don’t honestly know.  What I do know is that she didn’t answer the questions directly.  Here is her response:

No, they are advancing to state. They aren’t disqualified, but there was simply a delay as we confirmed some things regarding some competition rules.  Their show will be performing either December 4th or 5th down at Troy University.  They are one of 15 other schools that are from all over Alabama.

The response arrived as I was recording the podcast last night.  I read it on the podcast, but didn’t really have a chance to digest it before joining the cast of Theatre Huntsville’s Christmas Belles at a fun night of Karaoke.  I’ve looked at it again today, and at first glance the response SEEMS to answer the questions, but it really doesn’t.

Really, she ignores the first question entirely.  She says “No, they are advancing to state.”  Okay, but that doesn’t really answer the question of whether or not they were disqualified.  She gives a vague answer to the question of grounds with the “…simply a delay as we confirmed some things regarding some competition rules.”  That isn’t really an answer at all.  The “grounds” weren’t really discussed, and by confirming that there was some problem, at least in her eyes, without explaining exactly what those problems were, is really just avoiding the question altogether.  The last question, as to their current status in the competition, is plainly clear.  They are “advancing to state.”

Ultimately, the rest of the questions are just noise.  The important part of the message is that the kids advance and can compete in the one act division.  But I can’t help but wonder just how “fair” it could be for these kids, and frankly this kind of spin response doesn’t help me feel confident that they will be treated fairly.  It certainly doesn’t make me believe they were treated fairly up to now.

In “fairness” to Ms. Malone, she doesn’t know me.  I’m a podcaster/blogger and not NBC News.  Even if I was a “credentialed” news organization, she has no obligation to answer me.  But she isn’t helping the case of the Alabama Conference of Theatre or Trumbauer by using spin instead of straight honest answers to what happened.  You can’t hide behind spin when dozens of kids were affected by your decisions.  They have parents.  They have friends.  The word WILL get around and the confidence in the process will be affected.  Could another school get treated the same way?  Could another school find themselves disqualified over vague “competition rules?”

I’ve sent Ms. Malone another email, since she did respond the first time.  I’ve asked for more clarification of exactly what “rules” needed to be reviewed that caused the “delay.”  I eagerly await her response, because so far it doesn’t match what my inside sources are telling me.  But since those sources are currently “off the record” I’m not going to use that information specifically until I get confirmation either from Nancy Malone or from a source willing to go on the record.

But frankly, right now something seems fishy at Trumbauer.  It seems political, and for some reason when people get political over kid’s and their futures, I get a little upset and want to do something about it.  So while I probably should just let it go, I can’t.  Everything points to unfair treatment of local kids, and that gets under my skin.

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