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updated: 4/19/2012 9:19 AM

Fox schools stage spring musicals, comedies

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  • Dundee-Crown High School drama students rehearse for their spring musical, "Beauty and the Beast." The show opens Thursday, April 19, and runs through Sunday, April 22.

      Dundee-Crown High School drama students rehearse for their spring musical, "Beauty and the Beast." The show opens Thursday, April 19, and runs through Sunday, April 22.
    Courtesy of Lisa Bettcher

  • Dundee-Crown High School drama students rehearse for their spring musical, "Beauty and the Beast." The show opens Thursday, April 19, and runs through Sunday, April 22.

      Dundee-Crown High School drama students rehearse for their spring musical, "Beauty and the Beast." The show opens Thursday, April 19, and runs through Sunday, April 22.
    Courtesy of Lisa Bettcher

  • Linnea Bettcher plays Belle and Joe Nocchi is the Beast in Dundee-Crown High School's spring musical, "Beauty and the Beast."

      Linnea Bettcher plays Belle and Joe Nocchi is the Beast in Dundee-Crown High School's spring musical, "Beauty and the Beast."
    Courtesy of Lisa Bettcher

  • Huntley High School students rehearse their production of "The Drowsy Chaperone."

      Huntley High School students rehearse their production of "The Drowsy Chaperone."
    Courtesy of Heather Simek

  • Huntley High School students rehearse their production of "The Drowsy Chaperone." The play is billed as a "musical within a comedy."

      Huntley High School students rehearse their production of "The Drowsy Chaperone." The play is billed as a "musical within a comedy."
    Courtesy of Heather Simek

 
 

It's a busy weekend for the performing arts in the Fox Valley, with three high schools staging their spring plays: Dundee-Crown with "Beauty and the Beast," Jacobs with "You Can't Take it With You," and Huntley High School with "The Drowsy Chaperone." Here's a look at what theatergoers can expect with each play.

'Beauty and the Beast'

Lisa Bettcher, who teaches choral music at Dundee-Crown, chose "Beauty and the Beast" as the spring musical for a variety of reasons.

"Last year we did 'Les Mis,' which is dark and heavy. This year, I wanted to give (the students) a look at something else," Bettcher said.

She takes a look at the students and then sees what productions would best suit the available talent, she said. "('Beauty and the Beast') offered a lot of parts for performers."

Dundee-Crown must have a lot of aspiring actors, because 144 students tried out. Bettcher said about 100 students are involved with the show -- 70 with roles in the performance, and 30 behind the scenes working on lights, stage and sound.

But it was the efforts of parent volunteers that saved the school nearly $10,000 in costume rental costs, Bettcher said.

"There are at least 50 parents involved. They helped design and build the set, and they made costumes," Bettcher said. "(The costumes) they made are actually better than the ones we could have rented."

Bettcher said audiences should come prepared to be dazzled by the colorful costumes, vibrant song and dance numbers, and, of course, the acting.

"Belle and the Beast are just wonderful," she said.

The show stars Linnea Bettcher as Belle, Dacotah Dudley as Gaston, and Joe Nocchi as Beast, with student direction by Lauren Wendt and Alex Sisti.

'You Can't Take it With You'

English teacher William Glynn said he chose "You Can't Take it With You" as Jacobs' spring play due to the comedic aspects.

"It's kind of like 'Meet the Parents' in 1938," he said.

Glynn said the lighthearted comedy by George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, which won a Pulitzer Prize and starred James Stewart in the film version, is about a family so quirky and eccentric that the family's daughter is hesitant to introduce her new boyfriend to her parents.

Student directors Aubrey Waddick and Collin Reid have taken an active role in the production, Glynn said.

"I think it should be a student production," Glynn said. "I like to see most of the workload driven by kids. All of the kids have a lot of responsibilities."

The show is appropriate for the entire family, Glynn said.

"There are some really hilarious scenes, like the member of the Russian royal family who comes to cook dinner," he said.

The cast and crew, which numbers about 25, includes seniors Lisa Gerlach, Jeff Teuber, Aubrey Waddick, Austin Troha, Danny Ehrlich, Michael Banwart, Megan Minogue, A.J. Taylor and Tom Barrett; juniors Michael Wade, Wojtek Czyz, Meghan Grillo, and Collin Reid; sophomores Andrew Roberts, Kaitlin Majeski, Alex Boehm, Kelly Morton, and Thomas Moeller; and freshman Nicole Magerko.

'The Drowsy Chaperone'

Unlike the other shows which open and close on the same weekend, Huntley High School's "The Drowsy Chaperone" will run for two weekends.

"By the time we've done all the work (in getting the play together), we like to give (the students) more time in role," said choir director Nancy Cross, who is codirecting the production with Tom George.

Cross describes "The Drowsy Chaperone" as a funny musical. Having seen it performed, she and some of the students thought the satirical "show-within-a-show" would be fun to stage at Huntley.

"It's a big dance show," Cross said. "It has every cliche about musicals."

The show is a spoof of Jazz-era musicals and incorporates themes and characters often seen in the genre.

Cross said students have been working and rehearsing since February on the production, including the five or so song-and-dance numbers in the show.

"The dancing is pretty challenging," she said. "There's tap in (the show). Some have never done it."

Although the show is a comedy as well as a musical, Cross said the humor is better suited to older students and adults.

"The drowsy chaperone is drowsy because he likes martinis," Cross said.

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