By Dedra Cordle
A group of drama students stood on the stage of the auditorium at Central Crossing High School on March 16, panting and sweating after performing another round of high kicks and flicks that will be featured in their upcoming musical. As senior Gene Clark noted from a few feet away, there was not enough enthusiasm on display.
“You look either bored or tired,” he said. “We’re dancing in a group and that is always exciting so I don’t think it is boredom. Are you just tired?”
“Yes, we’re tired, or at least I am,” replied one of the exhausted members of the dance line.
“It’s early and we’ve been at this for hours and that is not counting the months of rehearsals.”
“I understand but we’re in theater,” said Clark. “We’re always tired in theater but we’re not allowed to show it. So let’s take a quick break and then get back to it.”
A day later, a group of drama students sat on the stage of the auditorium at Grove City High School going over line after line of dialogue and lyrics at the first sitzprobe for their upcoming musical. Most of these students had spent the previous day at vocal competitions yet spoke and sang their best and fullest as the orchestra learned their placements in the production.
“There’s a lot of hard work that goes into these plays and musicals,” said senior Kelsey Heacock, “but we do it because we love what we do. We just hope the community will love it just as much.”
Since the beginning of January – just a few weeks after putting on their fall productions – these two clubs have been rehearsing for their respective spring musicals, both of which will be taking the audience on a trip to the past.
“It’s got a nice, 1950s vibe to it,” said Heacock, referring to her school’s production of “Bye Bye Birdie.”
“Ours is a cool 1960s,” said Clark, referring to his school’s production of “Catch Me If You Can.”
Though the two musicals vary in theme – one is a multi-point-of-view tale of a famed musician who is drafted into the military, and then drafted into a kissing contest in Sweet Apple, Ohio, while the other is a cat and slicker cat chase across the country – they will each offer entertainment for the public, said the club advisers.
“I think what the community will like most about this musical is our cast of kids,” said Stefanie McConnell, an English and acting teacher at Grove City. “They are so talented and have so much heart.
“I also think the older generations will like this play because it will bring back that sense of nostalgia and the younger generations will appreciate the different takes of this era and our slightly modernized spin to it. For those who are not familiar with “Bye Bye Birdie,” I think they’ll just have a fun musical experience.”
Nathan Weaver, an English and acting teacher at Central Crossing, said the community will find joy in the display of passion from these students as well as the contents within the musical.
“It’s a funny story about a teenager and it’s a good redemption story as well,” he said. “When the story begins, Frank Jr. is in a lot of trouble because of his misdeeds and he turns his life around in the end. I think that’s a good message to teach our young kids.”
“I also think the community will love the music,” he said, referring to the jazz and big-band sounds. “It’s got a great sound and the kids in our cast do a great job at vocalizing and performing. They’re really outstanding.”
Central Crossing High School, located at 3500 Big Run Road, will host performances of “Catch Me If You Can” April 5 at 7 p.m., April 6 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and April 7 at 2 p.m. Tickets are $5 and can be purchased at the door or at eventbrite.com.
Grove City High School, located at 4665 Hoover Road, will host performances of “Bye Bye Birdie” April 4 at 7 p.m., April 5 at 7 p.m., April 6 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. and April 7 at 2 p.m. Ticket pricing is $15 for adults, $10 for students and seniors, $5 for children under 5 and free for Top 55 card holders.