Drama club to stage original, student-written musical
By Martha Marteney - Staff Writer
Bolton - posted Sat., Mar. 19, 2011
The Bolton High School Drama Club will be presenting an original production, “We Really Wish This Wasn’t a Musical,” on March 25 and 26. Nearly 20 percent of the school’s population is involved in the production, which will be staged at Bolton Center School.
BHS student Andy Catanese wrote the play and composed the music for his senior project. Catanese has been in the drama club for four years and was in the school’s Advanced Placement music theory class his sophomore year. “That was what set me on the path for this project,” he explained, because he learned about chord progression and music composition. “I would love to be a high school math teacher,” he said, “and work with the drama club.”
Catanese’s musical is only the second musical produced by the drama club in the past 20 years, which put on “The Wizard of Oz” in 2010. “Last year was a very good experience for me,” said Catanese, who considered such things as placing some scenes in front of the curtain, to help with scene changes.
Although Catanese wrote the musical, he is open to the actors improving on the lines to make them more natural. “It’s not just me writing it,” he said, “because everyone has a spin on the characters.”
“I knew anything he [Catanese] wrote was going to turn out would be amazing,” said Kent Zelesky, a sophomore who plays Reese, who has a crush on the female lead, Tara. “I really overall like the play,” he said.
The basic premise of the play is that the world is a musical. It is discovered that there is a machine controlling the musical, and some of the characters decide they no longer want to live inside of it.
BHS science teacher Jennifer Carvalho has been working with the drama club for six years. “Half of my honors biology class is in the show,” she noted. “It personalized the education experience.”
Staging an original production has its challenges. Carvalho said the biggest challenge is that the actors have to develop their own characters, while also learning the script and the music.
“It’s a totally brand-new character,” said senior Evan Walash, who plays Steve. “It’s all up to us how to act.” Walash’s character sets out to destroy the musical-making machine. “It’s remarkable to see how Andy [Catanese] came up with the play, and I’m proud to be one of the lead roles and to perform his vision,” Walash added.
“There’s more things you can do to work on it,” explained junior Nevin Ounpuu-Adams, about developing his character, Ben. He said he is very much like his character this year, as opposed to the silly Tin Man he played last year, except that he is not as depressed as Ben in the beginning of the play. Because the world is a musical, Ben does not feel his musical talents are as appropriately recognized.
The musical is a coming-of-age story. Once the machine is destroyed, some of the characters miss being in a musical all the time. Others learn that the key is to take all things in moderation. Others realize they need to question their own actions more.
“I love being in drama club. I absolutely love it,” said senior Emma Bradley, who plays Pam. “It’s my favorite activity ever, especially the dancing.”
Senior Jenna Vezina is both an actor in the musical and the choreographer. Although she looks to Catanese for stage direction, ultimately Vezina develops and teaches the dance and movement. For her senior project, Vezina is comparing and contrasting her experience with the high school musical with her involvement in the Horace W. Porter School’s production of “Seussical the Musical.” Vezina is planning on a double major in college of musical theater and dance.
“We Really Wish This Wasn’t a Musical” will be on stage March 25 and 26, beginning at 7 p.m. at Bolton Center School, located at 108 Notch Road. Tickets cost $7 for adults and $5 for students, and are available at the door on both nights. In addition, a special patron ticket package, which includes two advance tickets and an acknowledgement in the program, is available for a $20 donation to the drama club. For advance tickets or more information, contact Jennifer Carvalho at 860-643-2768 or Jennifer.Carvalho@boltonct.org.