Eau Claire North has first musical in 19 years

By: Joe Nelson Email
By: Joe Nelson Email

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A new tradition has begun at an area high school, with students and teachers pitching in to put on a show.

“My assistant said, there hasn’t been one in 19 years. We were floored by that, since 1995, there has not been a musical at North,” Eau Claire High School’s theater director Zach Schultz said.

Without the budget or volunteers Eau Claire North High School likely hasn't done a musical since before any of its current students were born.

“North didn't have the resources in terms of people or money to push it forward to make it happen,” Schultz said.

But when new directors for theater, vocal music and band came this year, it happened so fast.

“The first time we all sat down together; 'We've got to do a musical.'”

After some discussion, they found the one that they want.

“The idea of ‘Grease’ came up and it sounded perfect,” he said.

They needed a cast.

“I’ve never been in a musical and I thought I could take a chance,” North sophomore Keenan Yudes, who plays Sonny, said.

“I just got really excited because I love musicals, and said I have to audition for this,” North Junior Erica Stein, who landed the role of Marty, said.

“We just keep telling the kids that they're part of a piece of history. So they're bringing back a new tradition to North,” North vocal music director Liz Sletten said.

With no budget, they needed funding.

“‘Grease’ is probably one of the most expensive musicals to purchase the rights to, to do a performance,” Schultz said. “It was a lot of talking with the community, securing that funding, we've had a lot of very generous sponsors from businesses, individuals, families.”

After their first show Friday night, with a mix of experienced performers and first timers and an all student pit, this cast is proving, they go together.

“In English class, I just kind of sit there with my leather jacket and say, you know what, I'm Doody. I'm not Keng anymore,” North sophomore Keng Her said.

“This is the best opportunity for all of us, because we get to change North high school history. And (Friday) night I feel like we did a phenomenal show. And I just feel very proud to be in the cast,” Yudes said.

Eau Claire North has performances scheduled for Saturday, Apr. 12 at 7:00 p.m. and Sunday at 2:00 p.m.

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