By Kate Anslinger
Neil Shapiro was well known for his enthusiasm in life, especially when it came to the community in which he lived and his position as drama teacher at Winthrop High School and Middle school. The current high school drama club is proving that Shapiro’s famous words, “Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm,” are words to live by. The drama club is certainly enthusiastic about their upcoming performance of The Little Mermaid, which will be the first performance in the new building’s auditorium.
“We are very excited about the performance and I’m confident in the abilities of the cast and crew,” said Artistic Director, Karen Calinda. “It will certainly be an inaugural event.”
Calinda is very grateful to the community for giving all students the chance to work in a state-of-the-art facility and is eager to see her students perform on a high quality stage. The theater which seats close to 600 people, will be dedicated in memory of Neil Shapiro on opening night, just before The Little Mermaid cast takes the stage.
The cast and crew consists of nearly fifty students, who have been putting in tireless hours rehearsing, designing, choreographing, and above all, building relationships with one another. Since September 12, the dedicated students have been rehearsing every evening, perfecting lines and stage direction and preparing for anything that may come their way. “We are like a big family,” said Emily Nichols, who plays Ursula in the show. While Nichols plays the villain, she admits that she has built quite the offstage bond with McKayla Norris, who plays Ariel. “As soon as we get out of character, we are best friends again.”
“I just moved here in the fall, and already I feel so accepted and loved by the theater family,” said Max Stimpson, who plays Prince Eric.
While the cast and crew are nervous for unexpected things that could arise during the show, they are confident and utterly excited to take the stage on opening night. Stage Manager, Nicole Lerner, plays a large role in building the confidence amongst the cast and crew, as one of her main roles is to keep a close eye on each intricate detail of the show. From lighting, stage direction and managing the crew from inside the booth, Lerner manages to keep the show progressing from start to finish.
When asked if they have any superstitious rituals that they do before taking the stage, the group smiles and shares how they all gather together, hold hands and repeat Shapiro’s famous line…”Nothing great ever happens without enthusiasm.”
Performances will be: November 4 and 5 at 7:00pm and November 5 and 6 at 1:00 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at www.winthropdrama.com.