Chelsea High School students are winding down rehearsals in preparation for their performance of the musical “Rent” April 4-6 at the school auditorium.
CHS drama and dance teacher Alisha Cornacchia and music director Andrea Wichar have been working with 35 cast members and 10-15 crew members on the production in three-hour rehearsals five days a week.
“The play is coming together – everything always comes together in the last minute as we get all the lights and the set and the pieces of the puzzle,” said Cornacchia, who also directed the CHS Drama Club’s presentation of “Diary of Anne Frank” in November.
Cornacchia, who holds an undergraduate degree in Theater from the University of South Florida and a Master’s degree from Salem State University, said there is much dramatic and artistic talent being displayed by the dedicated cast and crew.
“The students work really hard to be a part of this and it’s an opera, so there is so much for them to memorize and to learn the music, dancing, singing, and acting,” said Cornacchia. “They have a huge challenge in front of them and the subject matter in Rent is serious.”
Eric Nuguyen, a talented junior who will play the controversial character, Angel, in the play, is performing in his third musical production. This is his first performance with Ms. Cornacchia at the helm.
“She [Cornacchia] is doing a fabulous job,” said Nguyen. “We’re learning all the dance steps and she’s always on point.”
Nguyen is hopeful that CHS students will attend the performances.
“We’re hoping that we sell out the performances,” said Nguyen, who wants to study Musical Theater in college.
Jackelenee Benitez, a senior, has a huge behind-the-scenes position as stage manager and lighting designer. She has been involved with six CHS productions.
“As stage manager, I take care of props, sets, and making sure that everyone is here and on time and doing what they’re supposed to,” said Benitez, who hopes to be an interior designer. “As lighting designer I have to program all the lighting that happens, whether it be nighttime or daylight on set and I create the mood.”
Benitez said it’s been a joy with Ms. Cornacchia on the production.
“I think she’s really fun to work with and easy to work with and she’s a great director,” said Benitez. “I’m learning a lot from her. I love how I get to see the play come together from the beginning to now.”
(Tickets for the April 4, 5, and 6 performances at 7 p.m. are $5 for students, teachers, and seniors, $8 for adults).