Published Mar. 6, 2023
By NICOLE MIRSKI
Many days after school, a group of actors, tech members and a director meet for a couple of hours to rehearse for the upcoming spring musical, “The Pirates of Penzance,” a musical starring CHS seniors Piper Mahoney and Jack Norman and directed by Gracie Balistreri, the CHS drama teacher.
Mahoney plans to major in theater and has participated in numerous drama classes and performances at CHS. She conveys her affection for both the rest of the cast and her own experiences.
“I love how tight-knit the cast is,” explains Mahoney. “Everyone knows each other, and it feels like a family that shows up to just have fun. I’ve learned to work as a team and think quickly on my feet.”
Mahoney also expresses how she feels some pressure as an upperclassman, which is shared by senior Ella Rasmussen, who aspires to double major in theater and astrophysics. Rasmussen is also president of the Drama Club.
“It is important to set a good example for the underclassmen,” says Rasmussen. “I really just want to have a fun time while singing and dancing with a bunch of nice people. I want everyone to have the best experience in the musical as well.”
Since the dance numbers in “The Pirates of Penzance” require a large amount of teamwork and communication, many actors, including underclassmen, find themselves connecting with others they normally would not have.
Freshman Averil Mabry describes her experience in the theater program.
“In this show, even just being in the ensemble, I still feel like I’m friends with all the leads, even if they are juniors and seniors,” says Mabry.
Senior Cole Dahlia Prekoski, who wants to major in theater, says she is trying to make the best environment possible for herself and other cast mates.
“We have this shared goal of making this show great, but being able to work with my friends after school every day is a blast,” says Prekoski. “As it is one of my last shows at Carmel High, I’m really trying to just embrace the fun and soak it all up.”
Alongside live visual performers, “The Pirates of Penzance” also features live music from CHS band and orchestra musicians, known as the pit, conducted by music instructor Brian Handley.
Last year, junior Abigail Kim played in the pit for the musical “The Drowsy Chaperone.”
“After we played the first song, it felt like a huge weight was taken off of my shoulders, and it was such an amazing experience, not only to play in front of an audience, but also to play with my peers and see how much progress we had made in such a short span of time,” Kim says.
Sophomore Zachary Rasmussen, a band student, also played in the pit last year and explains the struggles and rewards that come with being in the pit.
“We get to play a lot of challenging music in different styles, and having more than one performance makes it even more rewarding,” he explains.
The Carmel High production of “The Pirates of Penzance” opens March 24 at 7 p.m. and runs through April 1.