RYE BROOK, N.Y. Students from Blind Brook High School's drama program premiered the first of four showings of their spring musical "Hello, Dolly!" on Thursday evening inside the high school auditorium.
The musical, which is based on Thorton Wilder's book The Matchmaker , centers a turn of the century widow turned matchmaker who yearns for a love of her own. According to Blind Brook English teacher and play director Christina Colangelo, about 75 high schools are taking part in the performance.
"When I came here in 2007 there were only 35 kids participating in the musical," Colangelo said. "I'm happy to have watched it grow and I think it comes from making everyone feel a part of the theater community. We try to get kids involved in all aspects, we don't want to hire out for things the kids can do."
Many students spoke about how being part of the school play is a unifying and community experience. Junior Melanie Greenwald, who is cast as Minnie Fay for the Friday evening and Saturday matinee performances, said that the theater is really a community event.
"The special part about theatre is it's not an isolated group," Greenwald said. "Kids come from all walks of life and the great thing about being in the show is that it's a community event. We are only as good as the sum of our parts."
Colangelo said she chose "Hello, Dolly!" because it offered a large ensemble and was different than what she's done in the past. Although the play was written more than 50 years ago, Colangelo believes that the Tony Award winning musical is an oldie but goodie.
"It's a really great book with fantastic music," Colangelo said. "Just because it's old doesn't mean its out of date."
Junior Lindsay Nuckel, who plays the role of Irene Molloy for the Friday evening and Saturday matinee show, said that "Hello, Dolly!" was her most challenging performance to date.
"It's different because it's so old fashioned and the characters have so many levels," Nuckel said. "They all have ulterior motives and Irene is definitely the hardest character I've had to play."
While Colangelo said tickets to the Friday and Saturday 7:30 p.m. shows are sold out, tickets to the Saturday matinee starting at 2 p.m. are still available.
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