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North High puts on ‘42nd Street’ at last

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Mar 31, 2021

Brian Olive and Lolina Bruggeman-Munoz perform “Lullabye of Broadway” during the North Fort Myers High School performance of “42nd Street” on Thursday in the school auditorium.

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It took nearly two full school years – through a pandemic and then some technical problems — but the North Fort Myers High School Drama Club successfully staged its production of “42nd Street.”

The shows got better and better throughout the four performances this past week, as dozens of performers and staff behind the scenes pulled off the classic Broadway musical.

“42nd Street” was to be performed last year, however it was cancelled a few weeks before it was set to open. With all the money and time spent to put the show on, it was decided the show would run this year, with all graduating seniors invited back to perform, if they desired.

It was a different feel from in the past. Social distancing meant the auditorium was about one-third full, and the performers wore masks, making things sound a little muffled at times.

Still, drama teacher Janelle Laux said things went wonderfully.

“We’ve had lot of setbacks, so it was nice to get it going. We had an amazing audience. I lost the lights, so we had no lighting and called someone out at the last minute,” Laux said. “I don’t think the audience noticed the difference, so it worked out really well.”

Brian Olive, who graduated from North last year, played Julian Marsh in his final role. He said the first night went great.

“We pulled together and showed what we can do out there. I was really happy with everyone’s performance,” Olive said. “We tackled the problems quickly and the tech team was good enough to pull it together.”

Lolina Bruggeman-Munoz, the senior who played Peggy Sawyer, the unknown who becomes a star, said staging the show on this year was more difficult than if they had done it last year as planned.

“Those who were in the show previously had to recall what they learned and new people were thrown into the cast and had to pick it up and get to where everyone else was,” Bruggeman-Munoz said.

Sunday’s show was, as expected, perhaps the best, as the kids, many of whom would perform for the final time on that stage, put it all on the line, making the final performance not only good, but also bittersweet.

Bruggeman-Munoz said getting on the stage was gratifying and the rush of being onstage is something you don’t forget, especially the final time.

“Closing night is always a thrill because you’re putting together all the hard work you’ve put in. The final bow is always emotional, but it’s great we’ll be able to do it as a cast,” Bruggeman-Munoz said. “After two years of working hard, we’ll finally be able to do it.”