Lights dim. Darkness settles. For a moment, nothing. Then the curtains pull back, exposing a large crowd waiting. For the Hopatcong High School Drama Club, performance time has come.
This year’s musical was the two-part musical Cinderella. While some would have quandaries about performing a story that the general population already knows, the HHS Drama Club did an outstanding job in making their interpretation stand out from others.
Cinderella (Abigail McDonough) did a fine job both in acting and singing. She had several solos in which she easily captivated the audience with her soft words and elegant movements. When paired with the Prince (Jackson Morgan) the emotions on stage seemed genuine as the two fell in love.
The Fairy Godmother (Kelly Nee) also delivered a memorable performance, her ease on the stage demanding other’s attention.
The entire cast did an excellent job both on and off the stage. Junior Abby Decker, who played the Queen, also helped with the choreography for the dance scenes.
The sets too were interesting including a double-sided set piece that was a fireplace on one side and became a chifforobe when turned. Many set pieces were reused throughout the musical, in particular a set of stairs that appeared everywhere from Cinderella’s home to her wedding with the prince.
The band too was exemplary, performing almost without pause for the entire show.
The professionalism displayed from both the actors on stage and the pit below is what lent to such a powerful performance.
There was, however, a bitterness that followed on the heels of success. Mr. Joe Ross, the Drama Club director for the past fourteen years, will be retiring at the end of the 2017-18 school year. It is somewhat ironic that the first musical he did in Hopatcong is also his last, two very different performances of Cinderella bookending an impressive career.
During the final performance of Cinderella, a previous HHS graduate from every year Mr. Ross had directed showed to wish him farewell. He was presented with a director’s chair bearing his name from the group as the night ended in a shower of applause and tears.
Once again, the HHS Drama Club proves that it is their stout heart and love of what they do that continues to make their organization something very special.