Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Grease' Still a Big Hit Callahan: School's Students Pitch in to Stage Musical

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

'Grease' Still a Big Hit Callahan: School's Students Pitch in to Stage Musical

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

If there was anybody in the West Nassau High School cafetorium Tuesday morning who was not sporting a smile, they were well hidden.

Hundreds of students from West Nassau and visiting Fernandina Beach and Hilliard high schools whooped, whistled and cheered as an energetic bunch of teenagers brought the Broadway musical Grease to life.

Besides entertaining the crowd with the travails of Danny and Sandy's 1950s-era rock 'n' roll romance, the West Nassau County High School students on- and off-stage also were making school history.

This is the first fully staged musical the school has ever produced, and the show's director, drama teacher Kay Dauro, couldn't be more pleased.

While the students perform the musical's songs to prerecorded accompaniment, the 40 students in this semester's drama class were responsible for all the other aspects of the show, including performing, lights, sound, costumes, sets and props.

"I thought I was biting off more than I could chew, but the kids did it," Dauro said. "They pulled it together. They were awesome."

Cast members decked out in their '50s finest of white T-shirts and black jackets or poodle skirts and sweaters were waiting for the curtain to go up Tuesday morning. They said the school halls had been filled with students singing songs from Grease after Monday's premier performance.

"It was great," said Rachel Crone, 17, one of two students playing Betty Rizzo. "The school's never done anything like this."

This is only the fourth year drama has been offered at the Callahan high school, and this is the first year the department has had a stage, Dauro said.

West Nassau High was one of three schools in the county last year to receive so-called cafetoriums, which are half auditoriums, half cafeterias.

"We used to push tables together to make a portable stage," Dauro said.

Most of the productions the drama department has done have been short, student-written pieces. The students also did a production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Dauro decided this year it was time to tackle a musical. Principal Troy Arnold said he was surprised when Dauro suggested such an ambitious project.

"When she said Grease, I went, 'Oh my goodness,' " Arnold said.

Bringing Grease to West Nassau High has taken four years of fund-raising, four months of rehearsals and an almost schoolwide effort.

The production got help from art students who painted props and sets, the band and chorus teacher who acted as vocal coach and accompanist, the algebra teacher who did the choreography and many others.

Drama students have been selling cookies, brownies, muffins and other baked goods at the school every day since the program started to raise funds, Dauro said. …

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