BROOKSVILLE — Hilarity will ensue this weekend during the Hernando High School drama department's production of A Night at the Wax Museum: The Musical.
Featuring a cast of 28, plus music, dance and brand new theater technology, director Susanna Rosario promises, "This production will be a blast."
The story tells of five students who failed their history class and are accompanying their summer-school teacher on a field trip to a family-owned wax museum. An incantation brings the wax figures to life: King Henry VIII falls for Cleopatra; his wife, Anne Boleyn, hires John Adams, the second president of the United States, as her divorce attorney; and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid search for treasure with Blackbeard. The mixed-up history lesson by playwright Craig Sodaro is full of mayhem.
During the production, the drama department will debut its new digital video system. The technology, by Matrox, allows three projectors to connect and create a 30- by 12-foot backdrop on stage.
"We can get color galore," Rosario said, adding that the theater experience is more "visually stimulating" than a standard backdrop.
Rather than building and painting elaborate scenery, her stagecraft students have searched the Internet, downloaded high-quality, public-domain images suited to each scene, and will project them behind the actors.
Elsewhere there will be sets and props. But the overall feel of the performance will be less complicated and more professional, Rosario said.
The show also will use a new computerized light system. The new equipment cost about $1,000 and came from School Board funding.
"This is readying students for the real world. More theaters across the country are using technology like this," Rosario said, although she thinks Hernando High is the first drama department in the county to employ the technology.
The actors are looking forward to their performances this weekend.
"I've actually learned a lot of history from this show," senior Kiana Montero-Stube, 17, said of her leading role as teacher Heather Fairchild.
"This is a new experience, and this role is challenging," said Montero-Stube, who also plays one of Cleopatra's dancing attendants.
"I'm not one to sing in front of people, but Mrs. Rosario makes it easy," 17-year-old Jesse Fletcher said.
Unlike his role as history-flunking student Rolf Rizzo, Fletcher is an "A" student. He also plays the outlaw Sundance Kid.
This is Rosario's second year teaching drama at Hernando High School, and she has been working hard to update the theater. She has also been adding new classes, as well as new technology.
Rosario, a successful and happy special education teacher at West Hernando Middle School for more than 20 years, said she never turned her back on her first love — the theater. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in New York City and went on to major in theater in college.
During her years as a special ed teacher, she remained involved with the dramatic arts through her church, she said.
The assistant director for this weekend's production is Jackie Torres. Sandee Lester is musical director.