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West drama students to present fairytale

By RANDY PATRICK

The Jessamine Journal

The performing arts have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, but in Jessamine County Schools, theater is making a comeback.

This spring, West Jessamine High School students have been rehearsing a fairytale children’s play, “The 12 Dancing Royals,” which was written by West alumnus Quint Bosse and adapted from “The 12 Dancing Princesses.”

“He’s been writing for us for three or four years,” said Mary Grogan, a member of the English faculty and drama director for West Jessamine High. “Quint always writes a surprise ending, which I love, and which makes it fun.”

“We made it 12 Dancing Royals so we could have boys and girls,” Grogan said.

The plot involves 12 siblings whose father, a king, is strict with them, and every morning, he discovers that they’ve worn out their shoes, and he can’t figure out why. So he pays a stable boy to find out why.

“My daughter is 7, so she’s going to love that there are all the princes and princesses and there’s a twist at the end,”Grogan said.

Riley Gibbs, a senior, is directing the play with the help of Rachel Hamilton, the assistant director.

“It’s entirely their show,” Grogan said, joking that its her job to provide the money for the sets and costumes and make sure “no one dies.” Other than that, she sits in the back and watches.

“We’ve got a cast of 20. It’s the biggest student-led show we’ve ever done,” she said. “I give all credit to them. The kids are amazing.”

It’s their first show in over a year because of COVID, Grogan said. Many of the students are graduating, but “they’re trying to help bring back money so that there will be a program next year.”

The school is doing the play as part of a month-long outdoor festival in April, “JCS on the Green,” which will be every weekend this month on the lawn of East Jessamine High School.

West High’s school will be paired with West Middle’s “Singing in the Rain.” The shows are April 22, 24 and 25 at 6 p.m. and April 24 and 25 at 1 p.m. The high school show is about an hour, and then WJMS will do its show after an intermission.

East Jessamine High and East Jessamine Middle are doing “High School Musical,” the stage version, the weekend before West.

Grogan said it’s been great for all the schools to work together on the festival.

The teacher, who is from Winchester, said there is a rivalry between West and East, but theater students aren’t that way.

“We’re not like sports people, we’re more like, ‘Let’s hang out,’” she said.

The schools had to raise about $20,000 to do the festival, and they’re splitting the proceeds evenly.

“All the kids got together and built the stage in a day,” she mentioned.

Tickets for the double feature performance of “The 12 Dancing Royals” and “Singing in the Rain” are $10 and are available online at jcsonthegreen.com, as are tickets for the other school shows. Presales are encouraged.

Attendees must bring their own lawn chairs or blankets because they’ll be watching the shows in a field in order to be safer from the virus. But if there are some who don’t feel comfortable being in a crowd, or would just prefer to watch from home, they can go to the website and purchase a $10 streaming pass.