"Enriching the lives of theater-goers and theater-doers of all ages, by pausing life through the magic of live theater."
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Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee  has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced, wildly funny and touching book by Rachel Sheinkin and a truly fresh and vibrant score by William Finn, this bee is one unforgettable experience.

An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home lives, the tweens spell their way through a series of (potentially made-up) words, hoping never to hear the soul-crushing, pout-inducing, life un-affirming "ding" of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves!
At least the losers get a juice box.

About Us

​​​Over 268,000 patrons have seen Chaffey High School Theatre productions since the Spring of 1997 - the first production staged and directed by Visual and Performing Arts Chair Dave Masterson.

These patron numbers would not happen without the dedication of a talented Visual and Performing Arts staff that daily instructs over 1500 students engaged in various departmental areas of Art, Band, Ceramics, Choir, Dance, Drama and Digital Filmaking.  Their daily classroom supervision challenges our VAPA students "to be the best they can be..." by proving it in our community and in our performing areas with the various project based learning opportunities.

According to the Chair, Dave Masterson, the secret to the development of the CHS Theatre program was and is to have faculty members, Principals, and Superintendents to be in the productions, on stage with the student actors, allowing them to see the adults in a different light.  

As for drama, Chaffey Theatre finished it's 23rd season this past fall with an outstanding production of Elf the Musical Jr..    
  1. The Phantom of the Opera
    The Phantom of the Opera
  2. Shrek the Musical
    Shrek the Musical
  3. Fiddler on the Roof
    Fiddler on the Roof
  4. The Little Mermaid
    The Little Mermaid
  5. In The Heights
    In The Heights
Stage Directions Magazine
Educational Honors
Written by Lisa Mulcahy
Published: 17 October 2016

The 2016 SD High School Theatre Honors winners!
Our annual citations recognize the best high school drama programs in the country

Blazing originality. A commitment to teaching the touchstones of both technical and creative skill. Imparting self-assurance into each student’s performance, both in class and onstage. These are the peerless qualities this year’s winners of Stage Directions High School Theatre Honors Program share, through the work of the dedicated instructors who guide their students through innovative dramatic training. We congratulate each of them on their success—now and in the future! 

  • MIDWEST   Olathe South High School
            Olathe, Kansas 
  • NORTHEAST  Rush-Henrietta Senior High School
            Henrietta, New York
  • NORTHWEST  Garfield High School
    Seattle, Washington
  • SOUTHEAST   Dorman High School
    Roebuck, South Carolina
and representing the SOUTHWEST:

Chaffey High School
Ontario, California
Chaffey High School does theatre in a big, all-encompassing way—and its students dive in headfirst. Over 265,000 audience members have seen Chaffey’s productions since 1997—its auditorium is the largest performing arts space in San Bernardino County, and the school’s per-show production budget runs from $40,000 to $62,000. Not to mention the fact that the school’s productions have a huge local fan base—the city’s mayor even takes roles in some productions. Still, students aren’t saddled with any pressure. “We always say, ‘Be the best that you can be—you don’t have to please anyone but yourself,’’ says director of drama David Masterson. “We don’t get involved in competitions between schools on the festival level—we believe competition shouldn’t be outward toward other students, but that a student thespian’s focus should only be on improving his or herself.” 
Chaffey has taken on large-scale, multi-faceted material ranging from In the Heights to Big River to Monty Python’s Spamalot. “We were especially delighted to receive permission from Roald Dahl’s estate to perform a new script of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory,” Masterson says. “Our entire community supported the show—I still remember the ‘Oooooh!’ that came from the audience as the curtain pulled back to reveal our chocolate factory. Plus, the concession stand ended up selling 5,000 Wonka candy bars—I’d say it was a success!” Working at such a high-impact level in high school has inspired many Chaffey alumni to enter the industry post-graduation—one former student has been Madonna’s lighting designer for her stage touring; another former student will be dancing at the Super Bowl with Lady Gaga this winter. “These alumni very generously come back to talk to our current students, offering them career advice—a great way to pay it forward,” says Masterson. “In the end, it all comes down to the fact that our students are raw clay—if we give them these unique experiences, they’ll not only find creative joy, they’ll be inspired to do great things in the future.”  

Chaffey’s In The Heights May, 2016