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Horace Greeley Seniors Ready for 'Xanadu' Opening

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – The Horace Greeley High School Theater Company had no trouble recruiting students for its 2012 senior musical. The class’s performance of "Xanadu," which opens at 7 p.m. Thursday, will feature 190 students, or more than half of the senior class.

"I’ve been involved in theater for years, but I have friends who have never done a show before," said senior Alex Gold, who will be playing Zeus and also served as a student producer. "To be able to work with my friends who have never stepped foot in a theater on something like this is a really cool experience."

Working 190 students into a show that was originally written for nine, however, was a bit of a challenge for the musical's director, Chris Schraufnagel.

"You have to be very creative," Schraufnagel said. "We created an entire chorus of gods that aren’t written in the show. The whole play sort of takes place in Santa Monica on the pier, so we created groups who might be hanging out on the pier."

The process for selecting "Xanadu" as the senior musical began when the students were juniors. Before and during summer 2011, 15 to 20 senior representatives each researched an idea of their own. Those ideas were narrowed down to three for the entire class to vote in October, and "Xanadu" won.

"When you’re looking for a senior musical, you really want to look for something that people are going to get into, that people are going to have fun with," Gold said. "This music is all Electric Light Orchestra, and it’s so fun to sing and be a part of. I think the students really enjoy it."

Schraufnagel said keeping 190 high school students on task during rehearsal was not always easy, but he expects them to be ready to perform come Thursday night.

"At this next rehearsal tonight is where they’re all gonna get a sense of, ‘Oh God, this is a show that’s opening this week.’ Up until now it’s been a little disjointed," Schraufnagel said. "They’ll be ready. They’ll be fine. They always are."

Along with Thursday's performance, the seniors will also take to the stage three more times over the weekend. Additional performances will be held in the Greeley auditorium Friday at 8 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Tickets are available for sale at the high school until Thursday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m outside the Greeley cafeteria. Tickets will also be sold an hour before each performance in the auditorium lobby.

While the senior musical will mark the first performance for many of Greeley's seniors, it may also be their last.

"It’s the culmination of a lot of hard work on our part, on the seniors’ part," Gold said. "But at the same time it’s like this feeling of community coming together, and our grade coming together one last time before we all go off to college."

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