Wellington C. Mepham High School’s Skull and Bones Club is set to perform their spring musical, “Thoroughly Modern Millie” for the 2016-2017 school year, directed by Edward Grosskreuz. This highly anticipated event is just one of the many shows that the club puts on every year, and their last of this school year.
“Thoroughly Modern Millie” is the story of a young, stubborn girl named Millie Dillmount who heads to New York City in the 1920s with hopes and dreams to become a success with the help of her friends.
The seniors of the drama club said that they’re excited to put on such an “upbeat and lively show” with “music that has a classic Broadway style to it,” that everyone can enjoy.
“The characters are very real and it’s easy to put yourself in their shoes,” added student Alaina Ciorra, 12.
The students laughed, sharing that a typical day of rehearsals consists of a lot of dancing, singing, fooling around and having fun, all while getting the job done.
Even with all of the stress from late-night rehearsals to the fear that something might go wrong, they agreed their hard work is all worth it the moment they hit the stage.
“There’s something about performing in rehearsal. It’s great, but then when the lights go on, you just feel this kind of adrenaline,” said Melissa Ponton, 12.
Saying farewell to their beloved drama club and performing in their last musical together is “sad, and so sentimental,” according to the seniors, but they all feel that they are leaving on a good note.
“It’s been the time of my life,” said Mike Pioli, 12. “I went from [playing] a pig to being the lead guy in a show, so it’s been a great transition.”
Grosskreuz has been a teacher in the Bellmore- Merrick Central High School District and director of the Skull and Bones Drama Club for the last nine years. In his first year of teaching, letters went to all the high schools in the district stating that the advisor position for the club was vacant and asked for someone to take over.
Overwhelmed as a first-year teacher, Grosskreuz said he originally wasn’t planning to take on that role until another new teacher approached him and asked him to direct along with her. After two years, that teacher took a job in another district leaving Grosskreuz entirely in charge of the drama club for the last seven years.
“A director wears many hats,” said Grosskreuz. “Putting the show together, getting your concept and translating that to the students, who then have to translate that to the audience, that’s one part.”
Grosskreuz said he works on the scene and where a character should end up with his students during rehearsals, but also allows them to have a say in the show, enabling them to make their own decisions on how their character will get there. He added that he is “blessed with an abundance of talent” with his club, and especially within his group of seniors.
What Grosskreuz enjoys the most about putting on a musical is working with his passionate students, getting to see them have their moment on stage and shine, he said.
“Watching the final product as the kids perform and I stand in the back of the house during the show is a feeling of overwhelming pride, because I don’t stand there and think that I put this together — its “we” put this together, we did this together, this is ours and it’s alive and it’s in the moment and it’s special,” he said.
The show will take place on Thursday, March 30, Friday, March 31 and Saturday, April 1 at p.m. in the auditorium at Mepham High School. Tickets are $10 at the door.