After weeks of the high-school musicals in the Lower Hudson Valley being staged in Westchester or Putnam counties, it’s Rockland’s turn, with four of the week’s six new high school shows opening west of the Hudson and the other two way north. (Click on the links to get to longer stories on each, with videos and rehearsal photos.)
North Rockland High School stages “Aida: School Edition,” the Elton John musical about a love triangle amid the pyramids. “She’s a princess, but she doesn’t want to be,” said Maya Cuevas, the 16-year-old junior who plays the enslaved Nubian royal, Aida. If she’s not a great princess, she’s a worse slave, disobedient to Radames (senior Jason Herring), the captain of the Egyptian guard with whom she falls in love. Add Radames’ fiancée, the vain Amneris (senior Justine Gizzi) and a loyal Nubian named Mereb (junior Anthony Fontanez) and a score that is all over the place and you’ve got this year’s North Rockland show. At 7:30 p.m., March 13, 14, 19, 20, 21; $12, $10 students and seniors; 845-942-3300×4954.
Clarkstown North High School presents “Babes in Arms,” based on a Judy Garland-Mickey Rooney musical, and chock full of works from the Great American Songbook. The musical – about showbiz kids who apprentice at a Cape Cod theater and endure low pay and poor conditions “because theater is their life” – features the classic tunes “My Funny Valentine,” “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” “Where or When,” and “Lady Is a Tramp.” At 8 p.m., March 13, 14, 20, 21; $15, $12 students and seniors; www.cueandcurtain.com.
In Nanuet, director Jack Gremli has 38 middle-schoolers playing the residents of Whoville in “Seussical,” finding their place on stage alongside Carlos Prats as Horton the Elephant, Emily Cohen as Gertrude McFuzz, Ashwin Tanuku as The Sour Kangaroo and Richie Banat as The Cat in the Hat. Gremli plans a special kids preview on March 11 with proceeds going to the Family Resource Center, helping kids in need. At 8 p.m., March 13, 14; $12; 845-627-9850.
Nyack, a theatrical maverick that in recent years has staged memorable productions of “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Parade,” “Big River” and “Aida,” raised some eyebrows when director Joe Egan announced this year’s musical: “The Music Man,” about as traditional music as you’ll find. Egan calls it “a perfectly written show” and cast a dozen Nyack Elementary kids as River City children. Playing con-man Harold Hill is Nyack standout Evan Rocco, Egan’s go-to leading man for four years, making his final big musical appearance. Nyack senior Sydney Aherne plays Marian the Librarian, who aims to expose the conning, cunning traveling salesman, only to fall in love with him. 8 p.m. March 13, 14, 20, 21; 2 p.m., March 21—$12, $7 students; seniors free—845-353-7100; nhsdramaworks.wordpress.com.
Jessie Shaw laughs when it’s pointed out that, as a 17-year-old brunette, she is neither legal nor blonde. But there she’ll be this weekend, playing Elle Woods, the star of “Legally Blonde” at Somers High School. This week, she’s all pink and blonde – thanks to a “very fancy wig” – playing a character who is “much more complex than you could ever imagine.” The wig makes a difference, Shaw said, helping her get into character. The actress added that she often likes to keep a bit of every character she plays with her, even after the final curtain. From Elle, she said, she’d like to remember “to be true to myself.” At 7:30 p.m., March 13, 14; 2 p.m., March 15; $12, $10 students and seniors; 914-248-8585.
Lucy Austin doesn’t want people to get the wrong idea about Haldane High School’s musical this weekend. Yes, “Pirates of Penzance” is an operetta. “I think the word ‘operetta’ scares people, but it’s really just a fun, hilarious, ridiculous show. When people hear ‘operetta,’ they think ‘Oh, serious music!’ But this is the least serious show that exists.” Considering the musical’s abundance of pirates, fawning girls, nursemaids who don’t hear well, and leap-day birthday boys, Austin may be onto something. And Kevin Kline, the 1983 movie’s Pirate King, has ties to Garrison, so there’s that. At 7 p.m., March 13; 2 and 7 p.m., March 14; 2 p.m., March 15; $15, $8 seniors and students; seniors free with Haldane gold card; 845-265-9254, ext. 111.