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A Musical Within a Musical for Westlake High Play

THORNWOOD, N.Y. – Westlake High School students have rehearsed tirelessly over the past two months trying to perfect lines and jokes from their spring performance of “The Drowsy Chaperone.” For the cast, one line in particular sums up their efforts.

“There’s a line in the script that is one of my lines and it says, ‘In musical theatre everything works out, but in the real world nothing ever works out and the only people who burst into song and dance are the hopelessly deranged,’” said Sam Stein, an 11th-grade student who plays the role of “the man in the chair.”  “I feel like that line sums up everyone on the cast.”

“The Drowsy Chaperone” is a musical comedy that tells the story of a sad man who seeks to cure his depressed mood by listening to a recording of a fictional musical comedy. Around 75 students are involved in the play on the cast and crew in all four grades and rehearsals began in January.

Elizabeth Melito, a Westlake High School teacher who has directed school plays at the school since 1989, said the most difficult process was getting her cast to convey jokes to keep the audience laughing.

“I think comedy is the most difficult genre of acting to learn,” Melito said. “So it’s been a process getting the kids to not only understand the jokes in the script but then be able to get them to make the audience laugh.”

Nicole Sammavilla said most of the cast, including herself, have transformed themselves into their characters.

“Each of the characters has a unique voice and personality,” said Sammavilla, a senior who is playing the role of Janet. “I feel like I’ve become my character and I’ll find myself talking like her outside of rehearsals.”

The play will premiere at the high school on the night of March 23. After one last week of rehearsals, the cast is eager to perform in front of a live audience.

“It will be great to see it come to life and there’s a lot of audience interaction so it will be interesting to see how the crowd is going to react to it,” Stein said.

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