Students gear up to debut spring plays

By: Kevin Bunch | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published April 7, 2015

 Granger stands between Joshua Bruhns and Alec Rokicki during rehearsal. The three portray Christian, Roxanne and Cyrano, respectively.

Granger stands between Joshua Bruhns and Alec Rokicki during rehearsal. The three portray Christian, Roxanne and Cyrano, respectively.

Photos courtesy of Catherine Harr


EASTPOINTE/ROSEVILLE — As they enter the final stretch of the school year, students at East Detroit High School and Roseville High School are practicing and rehearsing for their respective spring plays.

Roseville students will be performing the drama-comedy “42nd Street” April 16-18, while East Detroit students will be performing “Cyrano de Burgershack” May 1-2.

Roseville High School counselor Marie Oleksiak, who runs the school’s drama club, said “42nd Street” is a tap-dancing musical set in the Great Depression. In it, a new performer becomes the star of a show after the main star suffers an injury, she said.

“I try to introduce the students to different time periods and styles each year, so this year we chose the ’30s and ’40s,” Oleksiak said. “It’s a big tap-dancing era, so that’s something new for them to learn.”

The play features 25 students, she said. The “42nd Street” show’s director, Julian Marsh, is played by Justin Blackbird, declining star Dorothy Brock is played by Katherine Potbury, and rising star Peggy Sawyer is played by Elissa Schultz.

Oleksiak said her students find the tap dancing interesting, as it is something that they “don’t see anymore.” She said they have been enthusiastic in picking it up.

East Detroit’s play, “Cyrano de Burgershack,” is a parody of Edmon Rostand’s “Cyrano de Bergerac.” Drama teacher Catherine Harr said the musical retells the story of the large-nosed Cyrano, who works at a burger shack. Cyrano is in love with his best friend, Roxanne, but she has a crush on another student named Christian.

Harr said the play is a comedic love story, but also one about accepting oneself.

“The story itself is something audiences will be familiar with, but the retelling of the play is about young love and accepting oneself for who they are,” she said. “Really, (it’s about) just finding self-confidence, and I think the kids in the audience will connect with that.”

The play will feature a soundtrack consisting of modern music, including songs originally performed by Bruno Mars, Jimmy Eat World, Debbie Gibson, Katy Perry, Pink and others. There are about 15 songs that students are performing, Harr said, and those were the selling point for the students when selecting this play.

“I think for us, the biggest selling point are the songs, because people are pretty familiar with them,” Harr said.

There are 18 students working on the play as actors, with about another 10 as stage crew. Alec Rokicki will play Cyrano, Jasmine Granger will play Roxanne, and Joshua Bruhns will play Christian. It will also feature singers Dajanae Humphrey, Tremaine Johnson and Samantha Hubbert.

The Roseville play is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. April 16, 7 p.m. April 17, and 1 p.m. April 18. Admission is $5 for the general public and $3 for students.

East Detroit’s play will run at 7 p.m. May 1-2, and admission will be $5 for the general public and $3 for students.

The plays will be held at their respective high school auditoriums. Roseville High School is located at 17855 Common Road in Roseville, while East Detroit High School is located at 15501 Couzens Ave. in Eastpointe.