'Crazy For You' takes center stage at Franklin Regional High School

| Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2013, 7:36 p.m.

Over the last eight weeks, students have been creating personalized alter-egos under the direction of Mark Wolfgang for this year's Franklin Regional High School musical, “Crazy For You,” which opens tonight, Thursday.

While the script guides what the actors say, they have the room to give a personal touch which makes each character unique, sophomore Anna Chensny, 16, said.

“You create your character, and it's your individual making,” she said.

The choreographer, Kim Merge, also allowed the students to provide feedback senior Dan Mrachko, 17, said.

“She listened to a lot of input, and she asked for it,” he said.

Chensny, who plays Polly Baker, a main character's love interest in the play, said this show is quite different from others. “It's more realistic than other (shows),” she said.

While last year's musical featured a “love square,” this year's rendition of “Crazy For You” includes a romantic entanglement that was described by Mrachko as a “love prism.”

“Everyone switches partners,” he said, which makes the plot complex and fun.

The musical will be staged nightly at 7:30 through Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday in the auditorium at the high school, 3200 School Road, Murrysville.

The cost is $10 for adults and senior citizens and $5 for students.

The musical comedy that features easily recognizable Gershwin songs is set in the 1930s and begins at the hub of musical theater, New York City. The story follows a banker who tries to keep a theater in Nevada afloat by putting on a show to pay for the mortgage on the building.

“It's a show about doing a show,” Mrachko said.

In the Wild West setting of Nevada, the main character, Bobby Child, played by Mrachko, falls in love with Polly Baker, who already is involved with another man.

“There's a lot of kissing,” senior Alexa Megaludis, 18, said.

Betwixt all the romance, this show highlights what sophomore, Emily Stoken, 15, calls “Franklin's specialty,” big dance numbers.

Stoken said the show has more big dance numbers than in years past with a set to match the complexity of the plot and dances. Stoken gave a lot of the credit for the show's success to the stage crew.

“They do one of the most amazing jobs I've ever seen,” she said.

The crew, some of which is made up of volunteer engineers, chemists and physicists, put together a set that can transform to provide several different locations for the actors, including the ins and outs of two different theaters, said house manager Debbie Scheinert who has been involved with the musicals for 15 years.

The crew includes about 25 students and ten fathers, seven of whom no longer have children enrolled at FR, Scheinert said. She said she is grateful for all of the volunteer work that students and supporters have put in.

Wolfgang said that he has gotten close with a lot of the students over the course of working with them for a number of years. “It's hard not to be proud (of them),” he said.

As seniors, Mrachko and Megaludis will be closing the curtain on their time at FR, but the memories of their involvement in the musicals will always stay with them.

“I'm definitely going to miss it,” Megaludis said. “You become really close with everyone.”

A lot of the bonding happens backstage, where worries about the show and inside jokes are shared, Chensny said.

“We're really a family and have a lot of fun,” she said.

Matthew DeFusco is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He cam be reached at mdefusco@tribweb.com.

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