Musical melodrama hits the stage | SierraSun.com

Musical melodrama hits the stage

Renee Shadforth

The boos, the hurrays, the sighs, oohs and ahs. What else but melodrama can provoke such reactions from an audience?

More than 50 students auditioned for parts in “Sunset Trail,” the seventh annual Truckee-Donner Recreation and Parks District after-school melodrama. So many students tried out this year, directors Lois Moore and Jeri Collins had to split the group into two casts, one with the fourth and fifth graders and the other with middle school students.

Although the students were split up, they aren’t complaining – it gave more of them a chance to be stars.

“It gives you a rush – acting and expressing,” said fifth grader Kaydie Carr, who’s been acting and dancing on stage since age 3.

“Sunset Trail” is a story about an old actress, Norma Desperate, whose fame is long gone. While she plots her comeback to stardom, some of the villains in town try to sabotage her attempts.

“I like how she always thinks she’s the best,” said Abbey Abrahams, who plays Norma in the fourth- and fifth-grade cast. “She really acts like it, too.”

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“Sunset Trail” is an old-fashioned musical melodrama, Director Collins said it’s a lot more fun for the cast if the audience comes ready to participate.

“This genre is perfect for kids,” Collins said. “It gives them a chance to overact.”

Before the students get to experience the rush of performing on stage, some for the first time, they work hard every day after school, practicing their lines with their parents, friends, and, if there’s no one around, in the mirror.

The middle-school cast will perform “Sunset Trail” at the Tahoe Truckee High School auditorium Friday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. The fourth and fifth graders will perform on the Truckee Elementary stage Saturday, Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. Admission is free for both performances.