North Salem Middle School / High School Drama Department to present Xanadu

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The North Salem High School Drama Department will perform Xanadu Friday, Saturday and Sunday, March 18 - 20. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

This weekend, the North Salem Middle School / High School Drama Department will dazzle and delight North Salem as it presents Xanadu, a musical comedy based on the 1980 movie of the same name starring Olivia Newton-John. Performances will take place over three days, including Friday night, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.



Katie Chan Chee, North Salem Middle School/High School choral director, said that Xanadu the musical is a campy homage to the original movie which became a cult classic.

“All the music is from Electric Light Orchestra and/or Olivia Newton John,” Chan Chee said. “It’s just silly and fun. It’s true entertainment.”

Xanadu cast members range in age from 6th graders to NSHS seniors. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

North Salem High School juniors Helio Demoraes and Kara Paulsen have the lead roles in the show. This is the first time that Demoraes has performed in a musical. Despite having not previously sung or acted, Chan Chee said that he has exhibited a strong stage presence and has grown tremendously since rehearsals began in January. Paulsen brings a veteran’s experience to the stage, having performed in other NSHS shows throughout her high school career.

Helio Demoraes plays the lead character Sonny in Xanadu. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

Chan Chee, who is in her first year at North Salem MSHS (she spent the past four years at Lakeland HS), said there were a number of factors that played into her decision to choose Xanadu. Knowing it was a fun, feel-good musical was chief among them. And, she needed to select a show that had lots of roles for females. There are 27 members in this year’s cast, the majority of them female.

“We have lots of very talented young women,” Chan Chee said, adding that she’s been pleased to see what an inclusive and supportive group the Drama Department is. “Everyone is accepted when they come in to Drama. It’s a very open arms kind of place; it’s such a positive environment for the kids to be in.”

The students were not familiar with Xanadu until Chan Chee presented it to them, but it didn’t take them long to get on board. The show has roller skates, tap dancing, elevated choreography and so much more. In the show’s last number, everyone is on roller skates. “It’s pretty exciting,” Chan Chee shared. “The choreography is really superb.”

After 10 weeks of rehearsals, the cast of Xanadu is ready to perform this Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Benjamin Allen / HudValley Photo)

To prepare for the show, the Drama Department has been rehearsing since early January. Now, ten weeks later, the cast is ready to wow North Salem audiences. “I think anyone who comes to the show will be entertained. I really think they’re going to get a great show.”


Xanadu show times:

  • Friday, Mar 18; 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Mar 19; 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, March 20; 2:00 p.m.

$10 tickets in advance / $15 at the door - click here to purchase tickets.

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