Disney princesses reunite at a high school reunion

High school reunions are scary enough, but when someone is murdered, everyone fears for their life. The NPHS theatre department hosts a Mystery Dinner as an annual fundraiser and show. On Feb. 8 and 9 at 6 p.m., the cafeteria filled with guests and the aroma of catered Italian food; then Disney princesses walked in.

Cinderella greeted the audience members to the tenth reunion of Grimm High School, a school for fairytale characters. Very quickly, the audience and the three main princesses, Ella (Cinderella), Rory (Aurora) and Snow (Snow White) discover they were all in a relationship with Prince Wilhelm, who is then almost immediately found to be murdered. The characters then attempt to uncover who is responsible for the murder, with the help of a detective and the high school home economics teacher, Ms. Heckson.

Craig Hastings, senior, directed and organized everything backstage for the show. “This is my first full-length show that I’ve directed. I directed a student one act my sophomore year, but that’s it. Mystery Dinner went pretty well; it was very nerve racking to watch the production because I was scared something was going to go wrong but it didn’t so I’m very happy about that,” Hastings said.

Celina Kott, senior, was quite chipper when playing the role of Snow White. “It’s really interesting to work in a dinner-theatre setting, where the stage is essentially all about the audience. You got to be aware of where you are, and who you can and can’t see,” Kott said

Months in the making, this production took a lot of preparation. “There’s a lot of stuff that needs to happen backstage to even make the show possible and the typical audience doesn’t even know about any of it. As a director I had to plan out each scene and where to place the actors which kept changing of course. I also had to communicate with tech for sound cues, props, then costume inspiration and collaboration,” Hastings said.

Thomas Kitchell, senior, enjoyed the preparation experience, especially as playing Jack. “Craig was an amazing director. A lot of rehearsals consisted of  improv games at his house because the whole interrogation scene is improv. It was super fun playing the detective because I got to lead the interrogation, and I was able to answer all of the audience’s questions no matter how ridiculous they were,” Kitchell said.

Many of the actors also had fun with the interrogation scene. Catie Parker, senior, enjoyed the crazy questions. “The best part of rehearsals was when we did mock questionings to try to ask each other the most absurd questions possible as a way to practice for anything the audience might give us. It was truly an honor to practice with such talented people, it gave me the ability to improve my own skills,” Parker said

Overall, Mystery Dinner was a success with everyone enjoying the show. “If I were to describe my mystery dinner theatre experience in four words it would be ‘constantly holding in laughter,’” Kott said.

Like many of the other actors, Parker liked performing above everything else. “The show went extremely well. We had a full house both nights and lots of audience interaction, which made the show more interesting for both the actors and the audience. Practicing for the show was a lot of fun, but nothing can top the feeling of performing for an audience,” Parker said.

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