Over the years, senior Steven DeNardo and junior Emily Goodrich have played more than her share of plum roles at Walter Panas High School. This week, they’re Julian Marsh and Peggy Sawyer in the tap-happy, lullaby of Broadway musical, “42nd Street.”
She: Janet van de Graaff in “Drowsy Chaperone,” Sarah Brown in “Guys and Dolls,” Marian in “The Music Man,” Luisa in “The Sound of Music,” and Bet in “Oliver!”
He: Buffalo Bill in “Annie Get Your Gun,” Henry Higgins in “My Fair Lady,” Captain von Trapp in “The Sound of Music,” Fagin in “Oliver!”, Nathan Detroit in “Guys and Dolls” and now Julian Marsh in “42nd Street.”
Along the way, DeNardo has learned about how to stand and move on the stage and how to get into character. But the biggest thing he has learned, he says, is that he wants to keep doing theater, in some form or fashion.
“I love the feeling of it,” he says. “Every time a show comes together, it’s the same feeling. I want to keep doing it. At the very least I intend to minor in it in college.”
Goorich loves the challenge. For example, the huge learning curve the cast of this week’s “42nd Street” tackled.
“Most of the kids in the cast didn’t know how to tap dance in the beginning,” Goodrich says.
Rehearsals started in a month early, in January, to get those feet tapping: Three hours of tap, three days a week with choreographer Tricia DeSario Tiberio.
“A lot of people were nervous, like ‘I can’t dance!’, but if you have any musical background, you can tap,” she says. “If you have rhythm, you can tap. It’s not so much about dancing, it’s more about being able to put combinations together and figuring out how to get the sound into your feet. Most of the people who were nervous about it didn’t have a problem at all.”
The cast is relatively small, 25, for Panas’ second musical of the school year. In the fall, it was “Guys and Dolls.”
Asked for a favorite scene, Goodrich points to a minor moment at the end of the musical, after Peggy has made her star turn, and she has a choice between going to the Ritz to rub elbows with the big shots, or going to the party with the kids in the chorus.
“It shows that she’s still a kid at heart,” Goodrich says.
“42nd Street,” 7:30 p.m., May 8 and 9. $10 in advance; $12 at the door. 914-739-2823, ext. 555.