While many headlines lament the reduction of resources for Arts programs, Shorecrest Preparatory School continues a decades long tradition that puts the Arts at the forefront. During “Celebrate the Arts,” an annual weeklong event series, students, faculty, staff, and families from preschool through 12th grade engage in art education.
The week of April 16-21 features a teach-in with more than two dozen local artists, music and theatre performances, and student artwork displayed throughout the school and juried in Middle and Upper School. This year the week culminates with the Shorecrest spring musical production, “A Chorus Line” with performances on April 19, 20, and 21 in the Janet Root Theatre. Tickets are $20.00 for adults & $10.00 for students.
About A Chorus Line:
“A Chorus Line” is set in 1975 at a Broadway Theatre where the director/choreographer, Zach is holding auditions for a new show. The auditionees are taught several dance combinations in the disciplines of jazz, ballet and tap. After making several cuts, 17 actors remain. In an effort to get to know them better, Zach asks them to share details about their journey into show business. According to the original playbill, the characters in “A Chorus Line” are based upon the lives and experiences of actual Broadway performers.
As the audition progresses, the performers begin to open up about the changes during their adolescent lives. Mike, played by Mitchell Greene ’18, reveals that he used to tag along to his sister’s dance class and discovered he could not only do the steps bigger and better but enjoyed it. During a recent sneak preview of the show at The Sundial, Mitch has demonstrated moments of brilliance as he mixes his trifecta of talents – acting, singing and tap dancing.
Sheila Bryant is played by Jordan Tralins ’19 who layers humor over her maturity to disguise her vulnerability. Jordan demonstrates wonderful vocal prowess and grace as she is featured in “At the Ballet.”
Where the show absolutely shines is through Shorecrest superstar Kayelin Leonhirth ’18 who promises to deliver her most inspired and accomplished performance to date. She plays Cassie, Zach’s former girlfriend and Broadway dancer, who just returned from LA where her film career did not take off. Kayelin embraces this powerhouse song and dance role while articulating her desperation for a chance to dance again.
Although the 17 performers tell their personal stories with great energy and enthusiasm, the full cast numbers 32, who appear throughout the show. In the grand finale number “One,” each dancer, wearing a signature gold costume and top hat, takes an individual bow and then together they fill the stage kicking in perfect unison as the lights fade out and the audience is left with the vision of what it means to be part of an ensemble.
Quaint quirks such as black and white head shots and period rehearsal hats provide charm, while jazz pants, legwarmers and headbands lend a kitschy homage to the 70’s era. The stripped down stage features a solid white line running across the downstage edge which becomes home base for the actors. To enhance the storytelling through song and dance an elevated orchestra will play upstage and above the action in full view throughout the performance.
Shorecrest Co-Director/Choreographer Cheryl Lee knows intimately the details of “A Chorus Line.” Bringing this story to life involves much research and preparation. “I have been preparing without realizing it for many years. As Associate Artistic Director at the Broadway Theatre Project, I have become friends with Donna McKechnie who played the original Cassie on Broadway. Donna has shared with me many intimate details about the show’s evolution. My own daughter Emilee Dupre’ who graduated from Shorecrest has played both Cassie and Sheila in the 1st National Tour of the recent revival of A Chorus Line. Often, Emilee weighs in to clarify the nuances of certain dance steps and staging.”
The Shorecrest cast and creative team have been in rehearsal 6 days per week, practicing lines and lyrics as well as perfecting their dance steps. They invite you to enjoy the excitement as the story comes to life with the beautiful sound of your applause.
Tickets are on sale in the Shorecrest Box Office the week of April 16. Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for students. Box Office hours are 7:30am – 9:30am, 11:30am – 12:30pm, 2:30pm – 4pm, and also 60 minutes prior to each performance.
Celebrate the Arts at Shorecrest begins on Monday, April 16, with events through Saturday, April 21. For a full list of events, performance times and featured artists, please visit www.shorecrest.org/CTA.
Founded in 1923, Shorecrest is a coed, nonsectarian, PK-12 independent school in St. Petersburg, FL. In a safe, student-centered environment, Shorecrest educates a diverse community of students to become lifelong learners in the pursuit of personal and academic excellence, physical well-being, creative achievement and the development of a commitment to social responsibility. Shorecrest graduates empathetic, independent thinkers who succeed at the university level, pursue their passions, and lead purposeful lives. Learn more at www.shorecrest.org.
Shorecrest Preparatory School
5101 1st St. NE, St. Petersburg, FL 33703
Contact: Rachel Barrett, Director of Marketing & Communications
Office: (727) 522-2111 ext. 223 or (727) 456-7509
Cell: (912) 667-2016