Picture a cast running around backstage, rehearsing their lines from wrinkled, highlighted scripts while adjusting their costumes. The air smells of hairspray and makeup.
It’s all for “The Grunch,” a production of the Durango Arts Center’s Applause! program. In a unique take on Dr. Suess’ “The Grinch,” “The Grunch” is about a grumpy sixth-grader named Ruby Grunch. When her school starts getting excited about the school musical (Grunch hates musicals), she plans to sabotage it by stealing all of the sets, costumes and lights.
What inspires students to sign up for this DAC program?
“I saw my first DHS production, and I got really excited,” says Lilly Lacey, who plays the lead role of Ruby Grunch. “I told my mom that’s what I wanted to do. I had some friends who also wanted to do theater, and I really love singing and acting. I feel like Jason (Lythgoe), our director, gives out equal parts. My favorite quote in theater is, ‘There are no small parts, only small actors.’”
Adelaide Beasley, who plays Rachel, is a veteran of the program.
“We’ve been doing this for six years, I know how it runs, and Lilly and I planned to sign up together,” she says.
For Quinn Dunne Cartier, who performs as part of the main choir, theater runs in the family.
“My older sister is in the high school theater as a techie and president of the theater group,” Quinn says. “I was in ‘Beauty and the Beast,’ and I really enjoyed it. I like being part of a team and working together on all pieces of music and scripts. I also enjoy all of the kids involved in the production.”
And it’s the sense of community that gives the actors the passion for what they do.
“I like just being a part of a group that can just express themselves into their characters, and make it their own.” Lilly says.
“What I like most about ‘The Grunch’ is being in an environment where people are passionate about acting, and where they don’t have to worry about anything else,” Adelaide says. “People can be ‘weird’ in that environment and not be judged for being themselves.”
Lilly talked about her emotions heading into opening night, which is tonight at the Durango Arts Center Theatre.
“I am really nervous for opening night because if you have a lot of lines, you could stutter, or speak really fast,” she says. “We are all really nervous because this is the first time some of us have gotten bigger parts, more lines and solos.
“There’s a lot of pressure and trust going into a lead role.”
Adelaide says, “I’m really excited because ‘Rachel’ has a lot of lines. We would love to see you at the show.”
Stella Birrenkott is an eighth-grader at Mountain Middle School. She was an intern at The Durango Herald from March 13-17.