Shakespeare takes the stage in Bath school's annual variety show

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BATH — One of the oldest school variety shows in the country returns this weekend with a tribute to one of the most celebrated playwrights in the world.

The Morse High Bazaar, known also as MoHiBa, has its 87th annual performance this Friday and Saturday, Nov. 18 and 19.

And this year, to mark 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare, MoHiBa is temporarily re-dubbing itself “Mohibaspeare.”

Tickets for the 7 p.m. event, held at the 826 High St. school, cost $10 for the general public and $5 for students and senior citizens.

Senior Griffin Tibbetts leads the Mohibaspeare as the emcee, “Mr. Shakespeare.” The show also includes singers, dancers, an act from each class, and even a skit about bird people.

“MoHiBa is the perennial Morse classic, attended by the entire Bath community, and it is one of the longest, continuously running high school variety shows in the nation, dating back to 1927,” according to Kevin O’Leary – a drama and English teacher at Morse, who directs and produces MoHiBa.

Explaining the show’s draw through all these decades, he said, “Folks need tradition. We need to rely on the common things that common people do and are.”

The only time the tradition skipped a year was 1944, and even then it was by presidential decree. President Franklin D. Roosevelt requested the show not go on during the blackouts of World War II.

“Kids are beautiful, and kids keep us alive,” said O’Leary, who has directed MoHiBa since 2001. “And home-spun creativity is the best salve for what ails you.”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

William Shakespeare

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.