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Harrison High School to Perform '42nd Street'

HARRISON, N.Y. – Journey back to the 1930s with Harrison High School students who will put on five performances of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical “42nd Street” beginning Thursday night.

The musical “42nd Street” tells the tale of a small town girl looking to make it big as an actress in New York City. Senior Cayla Pettinato plays Peggy Sawyer, a naive girl from Allentown, Penn. who is thrust into the lead role of the fictional “Pretty Lady” when the original actress gets hurts.

“I think this play is perfect for people who don’t have a theater background because the audience gets to see what we go through every single day,” Pettinato said. “Since it involves a play within a play, people can see what we struggle with.”

Senior Marwan Bishtawi plays Abner Dillon, the producer of the show. Bishtawi had never acted before last year when he made his debut in the Harrison High School production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie.” Having been a singer for the past five years, Bishtawi said his friends convinced him to perform in the theater.

“It’s a learning experience that helped me to conquer my stage fright,” Bishtawi said. “It’s exhilarating to make a character my own. I’ve always watched movies and wanted to be that character on screen or up on stage singing. It’s like having my dreams come true.”

One of the challenges for students was recreating a time period that they didn’t live in. Sophomore Halle Mastroberadino plays Anytime Annie. Mastroberadino said that she watched various productions of “42nd Street” and looked into what fashion was like back then to develop her role.

“Once we get the costumes we can physically get into character,” Mastroberadino said. “You don’t have to be who you are in school. It’s a little weird for people who are not used to seeing you like that.”

Director/choreographer Debbie Toteda said the element of tap dancing was one of the challenges facing students in the show. Though she said tap dancing posed a challenge to the students, in the end it ultimately boosted their confidence.

“This is a great night out for people,” Toteda said about why people should come see the show. “It takes away from the hard economic times we are dealing with right now.”

Performances will be held on Thursday, March 22, Friday, March 23 and Saturday, March 24 at 7 p.m. Two matinees are scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, March 25.

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