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NNCS Drama Club staging ‘Just Another High School Musical’ this weekend

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NORFOLK - The Norwood-Norfolk Drama Club will be staging a musical within a musical this weekend.

But unlike the actual musical, the one within the production isn’t going well.

“Just Another High School Music” is about a group of high school actors who find themselves on their own after being abandoned by their drama teacher with no rehearsals - and the curtain about to rise.

“We just wing it. It’s our crazy adventure,” said junior Emily Johnson, who plays the role of assistant director in the show. “It’s just really funny. I like it a lot.”

“It’s a pretty wild play. It’s a pretty good comedy,” senior Kyle Weems added.

This is Ms. Johnson’s fourth musical at the school, including last year’s production of “Lagoon.”

“I love it. I love performing,” she said, noting she’s considering theater as a minor in college.

“I get to sing a lot. I like to sing,” she said.

This year’s role, she said, “is the biggest one I’ve ever had. I’m in almost every scene.”

Rehearsals began in January and, while she has plenty of lines to learn, “it’s actually pretty easy,” Ms. Johnson said.

Since rehearsals began, she said the cast has gotten closer to each other. They’ve been rehearsing from 5 to 10 p.m. this week as the days wind down to the production.

“We’re just a big family,” she said.

Speaking a couple of days before the curtains rise for the firs time, Ms. Johnson said she felt the cast was set.

“I think we’re ready. We just have a few little quirks,” she said.

Mr. Weems will be in his first-ever spring production. He has been a multi-sport athlete participating in football, baseball, basketball and track.

“I took a sneak peek last year when they were performing for the kids. It made me want to join,” he said. “I consider myself an outgoing kid. I find myself to be pretty funny. Some day I think it would be really cool to be in movies. You have to start somewhere and see if you can act.”

He plays several roles, including a male thespian, Scrooge and “male Meg.”

“I took several different characters. I’m in almost every scene,” Mr. Weems said.

The hardest parts for him, he said, were memorizing the different songs and the choreography, but he has adapted.

“I’m happy with it,” he said.

It’s been a new, but fun experience for the senior who has been accepted at University of Albany where he plans to study criminal justice. Applying for college consumed some of his outside classroom time this year.

“It’s been a pretty good time, a lot of laughs. It’s like a big family. There were lots of kids I didn’t know too well before,” Mr. Weems said. “I’m now less stressed because I’ve been accepted at University of Albany. At first it was pretty tough.”

The best part, he said, is “making people laugh. I like to see people smile. I feel if I can bring laughter to them, it’s a little bit added to their day.” Senior Shaelyn Chartrand plays the stage manager, “somebody who has to keep other people on task.”

But, under the circumstances, “the character gets stressed,” she said.

Ms. Chartrand has been in four musicals, starting in ninth grade with “Anything Goes.”

“For me it’s been a lot harder (this year). It’s the first time I’ve been cast as a larger role. A lot of people are cast for three or four parts,” she said.

“It’s definitely bigger than my other roles, but it’s a lot of fun. I’m more into my character. I definitely enjoy it,” she said.

Rehearsing has allowed Ms. Chartrand and others to form a bond. For some students, it’s their first time on the stage.

“It’s a lot of fun bonding with the cast. This year we have a lot of newer kids,” she said.

Arianna Colbert, a junior, is appearing in her second production. She became involved after watching her sister, now a graduate, perform in one of the productions.

“First I watched her ,and I joined last year,” she said.

Like some other cast members, she plays multiple roles, including Scrooge’s ghost.

“This year is definitely different. The cast is different. There are a lot of younger kids in the play this year,” she said.

One of the difficult parts, Ms. Colbert said, was learning the “Christmas Carol Rap.”

“It’s not singing. You have to rap. The challenge is learning the rap. If the other two people don’t say their lines, you don’t know when to come in,” she said.

Ms. Colbert said cast members “get a rush” when they’re finally able to perform in front of a live audience like they’ll do Friday and Saturday.

“You don’t know how the audience is going to react. Sometimes you have to hold your line (to wait for their reaction),” she said.

Doors for “Just Another High School Musical” open at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Advance tickets are $5 for students and $7 for adults. Tickets at the door are $6 for students and $8 for adults. There is a family rate of $22.

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