homepage logo

North High to give ‘42nd Street’ another go

By CHUCK?BALLARO - | Mar 23, 2021

Last year, the North Fort Myers High School Drama Club was getting ready to put on its rendition of the classic musical “42nd Street” when the pandemic forced the show to be cancelled.

This year, with all the sets and costumes and choreography ready, it made sense to give the musical another shot this year, albeit with a twist — graduates were allowed to return for the roles they would have played.

The musical will be performed this Thursday through Sunday, March 25 through 27, at 7 p.m. and on March 28 at 2 p.m.

For drama teacher Janelle Laux, it is a show that has been nearly 18 months in the making.

“We started this in November 2019 and we were four weeks away from opening and had just done our first run through. We went on spring break and we never came back,” Laux said. “We had poured too much into the show monetarily and timewise. We had finished everything, so we decided to push forward.”

They reauditioned all the parts in November and there were a lot of changes with the cast since many had graduated, but they were able to keep the two leads.

The problem: One of the leads, Brian Olive, had graduated. However, principal Debbie Diggs decided to give any student who graduated the opportunity to participate in the production. While nearly everyone had moved on, Olive remained committed.

“He wanted to fulfill the role he had been working for. He has come in for after school rehearsals and stepping into his original role,” Laux said.

Olive said the changes in his life — he’s now in college and working — have created some scheduling problems, but it has been worth it.

“I figured that it would be my last year performing, so I wanted to go back so I didn’t regret not doing it again,” Olive said. “While it’s a good part and a lead, it would be a nice farewell to my high school career.”

The female lead, Lolina Bruggeman-Munoz, is a senior this year. She said she is thrilled to get on stage for her favorite production after all that happened last year.

“When the pandemic hit, we had run through the show and knew what the costumes would be. Suddenly, we can’t come back to school,” Bruggeman-Munoz said. “I didn’t know if I would come back because I was supposed to study abroad in Germany with a scholarship from the State Department, but that got cancelled by COVID.”

The cast members are going to have to stay six feet apart when performing and they will wear masks. It will be a difficult way to perform, but Bruggeman-Munoz said it goes to show the confidence the director has in the actors.

“We’re putting on a show and other schools aren’t and that speaks to how awesome our directors are and how they believe in us,” Bruggeman-Munoz said.

Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for students and can be purchased online. Capacity will be about a third of what it usually is in compliance with COVID protocols still in effect.

The Saturday show will be dedicated to all the seniors from last year’s production who never got to see their work on stage.

For more information, visit nfm.leeschools.net.