NEW CASTLE — (Video highlights and cast list appear below the story.)
Nowhere is it written that Neshannock High School music director Mike Cavalier has to come up with gigantic productions every year.
But he does.
Cavalier knows that rollicking and razzle-dazzle done with the polish of a Broadway show are what has earned the school its reputation for over-the-top, quality extravaganzas.
This year, a three-act musical comedy set in the 1920s is packed with nostalgia, tap dance, slapstick, a 28-piece orchestra and well-known songs. All those elements bring in a huge yes vote for “No, No, Nanette.”
The actors are on the same page with their director.
“It’s all about giving the audience the most professional production we can possibly put on,” Cavalier said. “This is more than just a high school show.”
DANCE, DANCE, DANCE
Tap dancing is a key component in this year’s offering.
According to Cavalier, “ ‘No, No, Nanette’ was last done at Neshannock in 1983, and there haven’t been any shows incorporating tap for about 15 years.”
For junior Macy McBeth, who plays Nanette, tap dancing makes her as giddy as one of the major songs, “I Want to Be Happy.”
Having danced for 11 years with sights set on majoring in musical theater at Kent State University, McBeth is also pleased with the variety of dances included.
“These are old-fashioned type numbers with couples dancing and soft shoe,” Cavalier interjected.
“We’re bringing Fred and Ginger here,” he said, referring to Astaire and Rogers. “We’ve got two tap numbers and both are huge.”
The part of Nanette’s mom, Lucille, is played by senior Allison Hutchison who studied dance for four years.
“Our shows are always dance oriented,” pointed out Hutchison, who will attend York College of Pennsylvania for music business and recording technology.
Jenna Richardson, a junior who has danced for 13 years, has the part of Sue Smith.
Choreographer Julie Garda works out routines and keeps everyone on their toes.
There was even a session called Tap Boot Camp, and Cavalier credits the eight males and eight females who, on Dec. 17, had never tapped before. They do now.