LEICESTER, Mass. — Leicester High School drama students may head out on stage as youngsters for their March production of "42nd Street," but they'll come back stars.
So goes the iconic line from the award-winning musical, and with director Nancy Dutton at the helm, a new choreographer and a cast of both first-time and experienced actors, the school is preparing for one of its most elaborate and entertaining shows yet.
After four years in drama, one of the leads, Renee Comeau, is excited to be taking part in the riveting show-within-a-show. But the road to opening night hasn't been without obstacles.
"It's been difficult," she said. "Last year, I think we had over 10 seniors that left, so now we have three. It's a totally different dynamic for the play, because we lost our main boys."
With a cast of about 50 and a number of freshmen, Comeau said, it was hard to pull the production together at first. "But it's getting to the point where things are starting to take shape." she added. "Once everybody starts putting their costumes on, and you start seeing props, and more music and dancing — it's starting to look like a real show."
While the complex dance numbers have been challenging to learn, Comeau says the show's new choreographer is bringing fresh ideas to the show.
"She's fantastic, and she's only a few years older than us, so she's really relatable," said Comeau.
The young cast also has the benefit of a seasoned director in Dutton, who has been doing theater in Leicester for years.
"The amount of time and dedication she puts into this play is remarkable," said Comeau.
A New York City native, Dutton has brought her extensive background in theater and drama to the school's performances year after year, and Comeau said she has complete trust in her vision.
"Sometimes you don't see how she's going to make it work, but she's always got a method behind the madness," said Comeau. "She does a phenomenal job picking out props, choosing the parts, having a vision and going for it and getting the choreographer and cast to convey it."
Residents can see how Dutton's vision comes to fruition and the cast brings "42nd Street" to life on stage at Leicester High when the play opens at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 5. Additional 7 p.m. shows are set for Wednesday, March 6, Friday, March 8, and Saturday, March 9.