High school toes are tappin'

Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2000

Rising stars and falling stars cross on ``42nd Street.''

The musical about a musical opens Friday at the Juneau-Douglas High School auditorium. Five performances of the high school spring production will be staged over the next two weekends.

``It's the stuff that dreams are made of,'' said Toby Clark, set and lighting designer for the show and JDHS auditorium manager. ``A little girl from Allentown, Pa., goes to New York and becomes a star.''

The show, which runs 2 hours, has a cast of about 50 and an orchestra of 20, with 10 crew members working backstage, Clark said.

``It's got the feel of a big Broadway splashy production. There's 20 to 40 kids all dancing at the same time in costume,'' said producer Bethany Bereman, who heads the JDHS drama department.

Director Shanna Galluzzo said at some points in the show, the entire cast of 50 is onstage tap dancing.

``42nd Street'' was originally produced as a film in 1933 and was adapted for the Broadway stage 50 years later. The musical features the songs, ``We're in the Money,'' ``Shuffle Off to Buffalo,'' ``Lullaby of Broadway'' and ``You're Getting to Be a Habit With Me.''

Niki Jackson, vocal coach for ``42nd Street,'' said it tells the story of a production musical company trying to put together a musical during the depression.

``The diva's been around for years, and she thinks she's the greatest, and the young starlet kind of takes her place,'' Jackson said.

Joy Christianson, who played Eliza Doolittle in ``My Fair Lady'' last year, has the lead as diva Dorothy Brock. Julia Cohen, new to the drama department, is the up-and-coming star. Chris Behnke plays the show's director.

Galluzzo, JDHS social studies and literature teacher, also directed ``My Fair Lady'' last year. She said this show is very different.

``It's like a review. There's 15 songs and nine of them are tap-dancing songs,'' she said.

She said she chose ``42nd Street'' knowing that it's acknowledged to be a demanding show to produce. She wanted a show with a lot of dancing and familiar songs, and ``42nd Street'' fit the bill.

``I have some really great talent here. I wanted something that had a lot of really meaty characters that people could really get into. This has eight main characters and four pretty big character parts,'' she said.

She said some of the students were cast because they were experienced singers, others strong actors, and others trained dancers. She said choreographer Karen Cross and musical director Ken Guiher worked with the students for the past three months, and intensively for the last three weeks.

``My choreographer and musical director were able to pull things out of them I don't think they knew they had,'' she said. ``We've really stretched them to their limits, and they've all given 120 percent.''

``42nd Street'' shows at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and next week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Tickets are $10 in advance at Hearthside Books and from cast members, and $12 at the door. Admission is $8 for seniors and children 12 and under, in advance and at the door.

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