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Musical returns to Mt. Pleasant Area School District after 20 years

| Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2013, 7:24 a.m.
Some of the students who will perform in Mt. Pleasant Area Junior-Senior High School’s upcoming production of “Grease” are (from left) Ben Pimental, 15; Jacob Dengler, 15; Haley Feltes, 16; Kylan Bartock, 15; and Ryley Anderson, 17. Marilyn Forbes | for the Daily Courier feb 2013

The sound of music will again fill the auditorium at Mt. Pleasant Area Junior-Senior High as the district welcomes the return of a spring musical production to the school.

The students will be performing the musical “Grease” on April 5 and 6 — the first musical to be presented at the school in more than 20 years.

“They stopped doing a musical here in the mid ‘80s,” co-director Rich Bair said, adding that he and fellow director and show choreographer Barbara Rolla are very thankful for the opportunity to bring the once long-standing tradition back to the district. “We are really excited about this.”

Rolla, a 2000 graduate of Mt. Pleasant, said that although she and classmates tried to revive the musicals when she was in school, they never came to fruition.

“We were told then that it wasn't even an option,” Rolla said.

The current administration, however, is thrilled to give the event a rebirth.

“There has been a desire for a number of years to once again present a musical,” Superintendent Terry Struble said. “To make it happen, you need a dedicated staff and students who are willing to put in the time with their talents to make it happen, and we believe we are ready for that to happen.”

The directors produced two dramas over the past two years, but said that staging a full musical has always been their main goal.

“From the very beginning, Barb and I knew that we wanted to do a musical,” Bair said. “The school district was interested, but they wanted us to do a couple regular shows first to see how they would go.”

The two shows that the directors staged were “The Sting” and “It's a Wonderful Life.” Both were well received and attended, so the next step was the selection of a musical to launch what could become a new tradition.

“We wanted to do something that we knew the kids would enjoy, plus that had a lot of name recognition in the community,” Rolla said.

“‘Grease' is one show that I think just about everyone knows,” Bair said. “You know all the songs and it's a familiar show.”

Approximately 40 students turned out for the auditions, which were held in January.

The directors are pleased with the cast selection and members are now in daily rehearsals for the April production. Times of the performances and tickets sales will be announced.

“We can't thank Mr. Struble and Dr. (Ken) Williams enough for all of their support and encouragement,” Bair said. “This is something that we want to do for the students, for the community and for the district, and we would never be able to accomplish that without all the support that we have received.”

The district returns the enthusiasm shown for the upcoming production.

“I think it is great that we can try a musical,” Struble said. “ It allows the students to challenge themselves beyond the traditional acting roles to incorporate music and dance.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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