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Cast In Rehearsals For Spring Play

Curtain time is fast approaching for the Escalon High School Drama Club's spring production 'Hooray for Hollywood.'

Show times are Friday, April 24 at 6 p.m.; Saturday, April 25 at 6 p.m.; and Sunday, April 26 at 2 p.m.

"The plot is that there's a bogus actors studio, with questionable other businesses being run through it," explained first-time director Stephanie Collinsworth. "They (would-be actors and actresses) flock to it ... the owner's motto is 'I create stars, not talent'."

One of the main characters is Dorothy - "of course, from Kansas" noted Collinsworth - who finds herself at the studio hoping to find stardom.

"There's a funny tale of what happens next," Collinsworth said. "We'll also have a few musical numbers sprinkled through it if we're lucky."

Playing the role of Dorothy is Madison Kisst, with T.J. O'Neill as the studio owner, Milo Bravo, and Brittany New as his lovesick secretary, Anita.

Taylor Dickson portrays Matt, an aspiring screenwriter.

"We've been rehearsing since the end of January," Collinsworth said. "They're working hard and we're also hoping to have one of the more elaborate sets that we've ever had."

The stage crew is working diligently on that, she added, with the backstage crew headed up by Matt Teixeira and Ryan Verble. There are more than two dozen students involved in the production overall, counting onstage and backstage personnel.

Student directors for the production are O'Neill and Taylor Finch.

O'Neill was at the helm of a recent rehearsal, with the student actors taking part in several improvisational exercises. Given some props and a situation, a group of two or three actors would play out a scene, with directions shouted out intermittently by O'Neill. At times, he would order them to not speak, using their body language and gestures to convey their point.

Collinsworth, whose husband Jason directed the fall play, said she unexpectedly found herself center stage now that he is coaching JV soccer.

"All of a sudden I'm in drama," she said, laughing. "It's my very first play. I was scared, very scared ... but now I'm really liking it."