Nine high schools across the Lower Hudson Valley dim the lights and open their spring musicals this weekend, a production weekend that runs the gamut from Harold Hill to Nathan Detroit to a Space Age Prospero.
Weeks of work culminate in the call of “Places,” when actors take their spots and the orchestra members keep their eyes glued on the conductor, waiting for the downbeat.
Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains presents the East Coast high-school premiere of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” It would have been the first-ever high school to perform the musical — as it was with last year’s “Curtains” — but a California school will open the curtain on its production today, besting Stepinac by 24 hours. (Read the story, see video here.)
Like “Curtains,” “Drowsy” is a valentine to musical theater and its fans. With a large cast of great character roles, director Frank Portanova once again draws on actresses from across the region to fill the stage at the all-boys Catholic high school.
Stepinac is among the rare schools in the Lower Hudson Valley to run a show over two weekends. “Drowsy” will run this weekend and next.
On Broadway, “Drowsy Chaperone” starred Sutton Foster, who made her Broadway debut in “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” the spring musical at Lakeland High School in Shrub Oak.
With a loopy story that involves flappers, speakeasies, white slavery and two characters who speak in Mandarin, “Millie” has its share of great characters and dance numbers, too. (Read the story, see video here.)
Mamaroneck High School presents the senior-class musical, “Urinetown,” a wild send-up of classic Broadway shows, from “Fiddler on the Roof” to “West Side Story.”
Stacie Moye directs “Urinetown,” which features wickedly clever, bubbly songs about the darkest of subjects: corporate greed, government corruption and a water shortage that prompts a draconian policy about where and when people can relieve themselves. (Read the story, see video here.)
In Pearl River, former Mamaroneck director Cal Chiang cast nearly three dozen fourth-graders to populate River City in Meredith Willson’s paean to small-town America, “The Music Man.” The kids are in nearly every big number. With 43 high-schoolers added to the mix, the small Iowa town seems pretty grand. (Read the story, see video here.)
In New Rochelle, director Scott Zimmerman set his sights on the mighty Mississippi and Mark Twain with the Roger Miller musical, “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
The musical will be presented in New Rochelle High School’s larger Whitney M. Young auditorium, in the original school, not in the new performing-arts addition.
After all, that’s a big river. (Read the story, see video here.)
Not only did Rye High School’s Michael Limone direct “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” — his second musical at Rye this spring — he’s also in the show, alongside other Rye teachers in the musical about, well, the 25th annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Each of the spellers has his or her issues to overcome in a heartfelt story that won the best-book Tony for Suffern’s Rachel Sheinkin. Audience members will be chosen to join the spellers on stage, so best to brush up on your Merriam-Webster before you buy a ticket. (Read the story, see video here.)
The walls at Putnam Valley High School’s immaculate performing arts center will ring with the music of George Gershwin this weekend as the tap-happy musical “Crazy for You,” takes to the stage.
Directed by Gerard Micera, the story is delicously convoluted, involving 1930s bankers, mistaken identities and a rundown theater in Deadrock, Nev., where boy meets girl, all set to music by George Gerswhin and lyrics by his brother, Ira. (Read post here.)
Sacred Heart High School in Yonkers enters the world of Damon Runyon and Frank Loesser with “Guys & Dolls” this weekend. Directed by Rose Ann Di Gennaro, “Guys?& Dolls” features a cast of 30 in the Sacred Heart Players 22nd production in 10 years. (Read post here.)
Rockland Country Day School presents “Return to the “Forbidden Planet,” a mashup of “Star Trek,” and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” set to a soundtrack of classic rock ’n’ roll. (Read cast member Tim Bidon’s “My High School Musical” posts here.) Directed by Jim Fyfe, it will be presented in the schools multi-purpose room on Kings Highway in Congers.