York County high schools invite public to witness their drama
Mystery, comedy and drama blend as high schools around York County offer theatrical performances for the fall.
Many of the shows feature creepy autumnal themes, while others lean toward the more light-hearted.
All performances are under $12, and some offer discounts for children or senior citizens.
"And Then There Were None": When Dallastown High School's theater production team chose Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None" to be the next fall play, they didn't realize that this year marks the 125th anniversary of Christie's birth.
Fittingly, they chose the English author's most acclaimed mystery-thriller, and it's arriving just in time for the Halloween season.
"It was actually voted the world's favorite Christie (play) for the stage," said director Bethany Yuninger. "It's the quintessential murder mystery. It has been mimicked in all sorts of popular media — video games, TV, movies — since its inception."
It's something that people may recognize from reading Christie's novel "And Then There Were None" (also known as "Ten Little Indians"), and people who haven't read the novel will recognize the plot of 10 people being lured to an island only to find a murderer in their midst, she said.
According to Yuninger, the production's strength lies in the great efforts of the student leadership, particularly the seniors.
"I think these senior leaders have really plunged themselves into their roles in such a way as to provide great examples for other members of the cast," she said.
"This is a piece we're doing in period and in location, so they've had to learn accents, which is a very challenging task for anyone. They took it upon themselves to find resources ... then communicated that to other members of the cast without my having to ask them, which is really great."
Their leadership influences not only the production onstage, but offstage as well, she said.
"The Dallastown Performing Arts Club only has two adult advisers — the students take responsibility for all of the roles of the production, so we really do rely on our student leaders to bring it to life onstage," she said.
Those extra roles include scene design, set building, sound and lighting design, makeup, costuming and blocking.
"The student directors, Kali Nyland and Zoey Bruton, they've been absolutely amazing," Yuninger said.
"They're real leaders and they're very much the force behind the publicity as well as the rehearsals and a lot of the artistic elements of the show."
People who have read the novel should be prepared for a surprise because Christie wrote the play herself and intentionally changed things up so that people would still enjoy a surprise at the end of the play, Yuninger said.
"It's a great, timely show for this Halloween season, so everyone should come out and see it."
"Night at the Wax Museum": West York Area High School will be performing the historical comedy "Night at the Wax Museum" this November.
"It's based off the movie where the wax museum accidentally comes to life, and there's all kinds of mischief that happens at the museum," said director Deb South.
"The kids are having a great time because they're re-creating historical characters, so they get to wear fun costumes and use fun accents, so they're really excited about doing that."
It's an entertaining play, but it also teaches some history, she said.
"It's a fun play, it's not real long, it's a good night of entertainment — I think York County does that as a whole, the high schools do really nice entertainment."
"Becky's New Car": Kennard-Dale High School's fall play, "Becky's New Car," is a witty comedy with a lesson about honesty.
"It's a neat comedy about when you aren't completely honest or straightforward about what's going on, how people can misunderstand and get into another realm, and how things can get out of control," said assistant director Jim Craley.
"As a result, this whole show is a comedy that is real life — this lady Becky is not completely happy with how life is going and is put up with an opportunity ... she thinks, 'If I just do this one time,' then it gets more serious — you get yourself in a situation you might not want to be in, and she has to work through it."
The students have been working extremely hard and have been doing an outstanding job of becoming the character that they need to portray, he said.
"They make you believe that they are actually older than they are; most of the characters in the show are about 40 years old ... overall, I think they're doing an outstanding job of portraying that."
Although the play makes its points about honesty, the jokes end up stealing the show.
"It's an exciting comedy that will definitely make you laugh and enjoy the evening, which will go very quickly as a result, you will not want it to end."
"Boo! Thirteen Scenes from Halloween": Northeastern Senior High School is presenting an underclassmen-only variety show featuring scenes from several spooky, Halloween-themed plays.
"It's written as a single evening's performance, it's smaller scenes that are written to go together — it's a collection basically, each scene is a separate little story," said John Marrs, director and chemistry teacher at Northeastern.
"Since most of the scenes are rather comic, it's fairly easy for them to establish themselves in that role."
All of the scenes relate to Halloween — whether it's spooky, about candy or trick-or-treating, or one of several scenes with witches, he said.
"It's very family friendly — it shouldn't scare anybody too badly, and it's not gruesome in any way."
"The Crucible": Local director Will Jenkins is staging Susquehannock Theatre's performance of Arthur Miller's classic drama "The Crucible" in November.
The students have been working hard to place themselves in the context of the play, he said.
"It's almost like they have to break open the history of the whole thing. It takes place in Salem, Massachusetts, during the witch trials — not only do the kids have to parse together what life was like in those days, but they also have to figure out what Arthur Miller's motive was in writing the play," Jenkins said.
"Also, how does this affect us today — do we go after a group of people if they're different?"
The students have been working hard to build the set, which will be arranged with an unconventional layout.
"The big thing for this year is that we're doing more of a black box kind of thing, where the audience is sitting on the stage — it kind of limits our number of people we can have in there, but it's an intimate feel."
The following productions will take place this fall:
Central York High School: "The Mystery of Edwin Drood," 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21. Tickets $12-$8. To purchase tickets, visit www.cyhspad.com and click on the ticket logo. Reservations can also be made by calling 717-846-6789 ext.1338.
Dallastown Area High School: Agatha Christie's "And Then There Were None," 7 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets may be reserved by calling 717-244-4021 ext. 3120 and are available at the door, $5 for adults and $4 for students or senior citizens who present a valid ID.
Dover High School: "The Miracle Worker," 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and 14. Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and senior citizens. Tickets will be on sale at the high school in the cafeteria during the lunch hour. They will also be on sale at the box office one hour before each performance and tickets can be reserved by emailing email@example.com. All seats are general admission.
Kennard-Dale High School: "Becky's New Car," 7 p.m. Nov. 13 and 2 and 7 p.m. Nov. 14. Tickets are $7 and are available in advance through the high school main office and at the door the night of the performance. For more information, visit Kennard-Dale High School at 393 Main Street, Fawn Grove, PA 17321 or call 717.382.4871.
Northeastern Senior High School: "Boo! Thirteen Scenes from Halloween," 7 p.m. Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Tickets available at the door, $7 for adults; $5 for students & senior citizens.
Spring Grove Area High School: "Captain Fantastic," 7 p.m. Nov. 20 & 21 and 2 p.m. Nov. 22. Tickets $8 adults, $5 students and senior citizens. Tickets are available at the high school office for $2 less than at the door. Preferred seating is available for an additional $2.
Susquehannock High School: "The Crucible," 7 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21 and 2 p.m. Nov. 21 and 22. Ticket prices are $6 for adults ($7 at door) and $5 for students/seniors ($6 at door.) Tickets can be purchased at www.susquehannocktheatre.com.
West York Area High School: "Night at the Wax Museum," 7 p.m. Nov. 5 and 7. Tickets at the door, $4 for students; $5 for adults.
William Penn Performing Arts Institute: "Almost, Maine," 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 and 20. Tickets are $3 for students and $5 for adults. Performances will be held in the William Penn High School auditorium. For questions or further information, contact Cassie Rush at firstname.lastname@example.org or 717-825-2238.
York Catholic High School: "Get Smart," 7 p.m. Nov. 20 and 21 and 2 p.m. Nov. 22. Tickets are available at the door, $5 for adults, $3 for senior citizens, $2 for children ages 5-12, and family maximum $14.
York Country Day School: "A Christmas Carol ... The Comedy," Nov. 12-14 at the Women's Club of York, 228 E. Market St. Tickets are $7 and can be reserved by calling 717-815-6700.