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 The De La Salle Collegiate Wig and Mask Society will present “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” featuring a number of chorus girls and De La Salle senior Mitchell Grams as wealthy playboy Jimmy Winter.

The De La Salle Collegiate Wig and Mask Society will present “Nice Work If You Can Get It,” featuring a number of chorus girls and De La Salle senior Mitchell Grams as wealthy playboy Jimmy Winter.

Photo provided by Kevin Fitzhenry


Student production celebrates music of Gershwin

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published February 7, 2020

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MACOMB COUNTY — Inside a De La Salle Collegiate classroom the afternoon of Feb. 5, the sounds of George and Ira Gershwin played from a student’s cellphone.

As the music jingled, De La Salle senior Mitchell Grams and Regina High School junior Katie Jacob practiced one of the musical numbers to be featured in the upcoming stage production of “Nice Work If You Can Get It.”

The De La Salle Collegiate Wig and Mask Society, or WAMS, will present the award-winning musical at 7 p.m. Feb. 21, and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Feb. 22 at the Warren Consolidated Schools Performing Arts Center, located at 12901 15 Mile Road in Sterling Heights.

A De La Salle press release describes the Broadway show, set in 1927, as a “screwball comedy ... with classic Gershwin tunes, romance, exuberant production numbers, and a hilarious script poking fun at class snobbery in the Prohibition era.”

There are approximately 100 students in the show, including 10 main cast members, the chorus, the dancers and set builders. The students hail from De La Salle Collegiate, Dakota, Regina and Stevenson high schools.

Grams is portraying the character of rich playboy Jimmy. His character likes to drink and gets married for a fourth time to Eileen, played by Regina senior Claire Niedermaier. Eileen is known as the “finest interpreter of modern dance,” which means she can’t dance at all.

During the show, Jimmy meets Billie, a bootlegger who steals his wallet and discovers he owns a spacious beach home. The house is the perfect place to hide her liquor stash with cohorts Cookie and Duke — played by De La Salle seniors Deven Sheth and Noah Cole. It’s there the three characters pretend they are Jimmy’s servants, so they don’t get caught smuggling booze during Prohibition. Problems arise when Billie starts to fall for Jimmy and vice versa.

De La Salle junior Austin Nielsen plays Senator, a reverend and a judge who happens to be Eileen’s father. He’s not too fond of her new husband, Jimmy. Also thrown in the mix is Jimmy’s mom, Millicent, portrayed by Regina senior Cayla Meerschaert.

De La Salle senior Frank Viviano is playing Chief, who is trying to track down the bootleggers. Audience members also should look for the character of Brownbeard, the bootlegger’s boss.

According to WAMS Executive Director Kevin Fitzhenry, the group has not produced a Gershwin show in 23 years. “Nice Work If You Can Get It” breaks that streak.

“It’s one of those unknown gems, but it’s Gershwin,” he said. “It has been a tremendously fun experience introducing these iconic melodies to a new generation of students and actors.”

Songs featured will include “Fascinating Rhythm,” “Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off,” “Someone to Watch Over Me,” “Sweet and Low Down” and “Delishious.”

Also contributing are director Alice Schoenherr, music director Debbie Tedrick and choreographer Don Looman. The students, including Dakota senior Chloe Austin and Stevenson senior Haley Rivard, are having a lot of fun rehearsing, but also take their roles seriously. The cast really got into the show after “we started listening to the music,” Sheth said.

“It’s a really fun show. The music is great,” Jacob said. “(Theater) really boosts your self-confidence. It helps you with public speaking skills.”

“The dances are really fun,” Meerschaert said, adding that theater “opens up new doors. You create lasting friendships.”

“You grow so close over a show,” Nielsen said.

Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased online at delasalle.bpt.me or by contacting WAMS Executive Director Kevin Fitzhenry at (586) 541-6210 or via email at kfitzhenry@delasallehs.com.

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