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High schools and middle schools across York County are dusting off their main stages and prepping for the first musical performances of the school year with fall productions.

The musicals range from well-known classics such as "Alice in Wonderland" and "Cinderella" to more unconventional plays such as "Emma! A Pop Musical" and a dual  production at Northeastern.

At a recent rehearsal for "Emma! A Pop Musical," students belted their way through several scenes, dance numbers and dialogue.

This is Central York’s first musical after longtime musical director Mark Zortman retired last year. Central York High School teacher Ben Hodge now leads the new Central York Performing Arts program.

“We wanted to do a show that was different, fun and set the tone that we believe in,” Hodge said.

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"Emma! A Pop Musical" is a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic novel featuring the hit songs of legendary girl groups and iconic female singers. The tale of the aspiring matchmaker who knows what’s best for everyone’s life except her own is reset as Emma looks for a possible boyfriend for her classmate, Harriet. But the art of knowing who likes whom is not as easy as it looks.

This is not your typical “show tunes” musical. The music comes from iconic pop singers from the past few decades, including Whitney Houston, Katy Perry, The Dixie Cups, Shania Twain, Cyndi Lauper and Paula Abdul.

Much of the show’s creative work, including choreography and staging, is being done by students.

 

Central York senior Anneliese Reichart is helping Hodge direct the play and said it is the first time the musical has been performed in area schools.

“If you miss this show, you’re missing a once-in-a-lifetime moment,” she said.

Here are the upcoming fall plays at York County high schools:

Dover Area High School: "Alice in Wonderland," 7 p.m. Nov. 17-18. Price: $5 students, $6 general admission. Tickets: At door or dovertickets@gmail.com

Central York High School: "Emma! A Pop Musical,"  7:30 p.m. Nov. 17-18. Price: $10, all reserved seats. Tickets: Box office open 3-6 p.m. Nov. 14 and 16; www.cyperformingarts.com

Kennard-Dale High School: "For Better or Wurst," 7 p.m. Nov. 17-18, 2 p.m. Nov. 18. Price: $8. Tickets: Available at the door. Nick Noir, private eye, is preparing to marry Selma, his secretary.  He’s ready to meet her parents for the first time, but Selma has failed to tell Nick a few facts, and she has told her parents that she is marrying a doctor and that she is the chief administrator at Johns Hopkins Medical Center. To top things off, there is a murder at the mansion where Selma’s parents reside.  As a result, Nick takes over to figure it all out.

Red Land High School: "It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play," 7:30 p.m. Nov. 30-Dec. 2. Prices: adults $7, students $5; Tickets: Available at the door. Nine radio actors come together for a live 1940s radio broadcast in the WBFR Studio in New York City to tell the story of George Bailey from the classic movie.

Northeastern High School: "Door to Door" and "The Waiting Room," 7 p.m. Nov. 17-18. Prices: $5 students, $7 adults. Tickets: From students or at the door. In "Door to Door," each scene involves someone coming or going through the “doors” of life. 

"The Waiting Room" features characters who await their turn to pass through the door to the afterlife, including an elderly gentleman, a young couple, a grandmother and her granddaughter, as well as a businessman and a judge, each with a unique story and outlook. 

South Western High School: "A Christmas CHAOS," 7 p. m. Nov. 16-18. Prices: $5 in advance, $7 at door. Tickets: Judy Martin, 717-633-4807 ext. 21204 or judy_martin@southwesternsd.org. The Royal Shakespeare Company hasn't arrived as promised to perform "A Christmas Carol," so an intrepid band of hapless actors and technicians must put together their own production in only seven hours. The backstage comedy pokes fun at the classic novel and everything that can go wrong with a theatrical production.

Spring Grove Area High School: "Cinderella," 7 p.m. Nov. 17-18, 2 p.m. Nov. 19. Prices: $8 adults, $6 students, children and seniors +$2 for preferred seating, $15 for "Cinderella's Ball." Tickets: High school main office and at the door. The Brothers Grimm fairy tale comes to life. The school also will have a "Cinderella's Ball" event for children, 4:30-6 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18. 

William Penn Performing Arts Institute:  "She Kills Monsters," 7 p.m. Nov. 17-18. “She Kills Monsters” tells the story of high schooler Agnes Evans as she deals with the death of her younger sister, Tilly. When Agnes stumbles upon Tilly’s Dungeons & Dragons notebook, she finds herself catapulted into a journey of discovery and action-packed adventure in the imaginary world that was her sister’s refuge. This high-octane dramatic comedy is laden with homicidal fairies, nasty ogres and ’90s pop culture as Agnes learns the truth about the sister she lost.

 

York Catholic High School: "Dr. Evil and the Basket of Kittens," 7 p.m. Nov. 16-17, 2 p.m. Nov. 19. Prices: $5 adults, $3 seniors $2 children under 12, family maximum $14. Tickets: Available at the door. 

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