Drama Club is Back With Spring Production of ‘FAME!’



The drama club presented The Great Gatsby in 2013. The production was in the community room. Photo from Beachcomber archives by Chad Tindel.

Draw back the curtains !

The drama club will present FAME!, its first production in the renovated auditorium, on March 9 and 10.

Freshman Sam Roter, who plays the role of Schlomo Metzenbaum, describes the production as a story that many high schoolers can relate to.

“We can all relate to what happens in FAME!” Roter said. “There’s a character in there that anyone can relate to, whether it’s Carmen who has trouble with drugs or Mabel who has a problem with her self-image.”

The club struggled and went through a series of directors during the years the auditorium was closed.

After the departure of long-time director Sheila Heyman, Pierre Brault was hired for the 2013-14 season, Justin Steck for 2014-15 and last year there was no drama club.

In October, the Beachwood Board of Education approved the hiring of Robert Sapp and Patricia Haynish, who are directing and managing the revamped drama club.

At this time, the board has not hired a full time drama teacher.

Sapp grew up in Solon, attended Syracuse University, and appeared in on and off-Broadway productions in New York City including Shrek the Musical and Wicked.

We can all relate to what happens in FAME! There’s a character in there that anyone can relate to, whether it’s Carmen who has trouble with drugs or Mabel who has a problem with her self-image.

— Freshman Sam Roter

Haynish is a retired music teacher and theater director from Chagrin Falls and is currently the Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Chagrin Performing Art Center.

She has co-directed multiple plays with Sapp in recent years, including Peter Pan and The Lion King.

Sapp explained his vision for a successful and long-lasting drama club.

“It starts with the students,” Sapp said. “It’s about bringing theater and enhancing the arts for the students.”

Sapp hopes to boost participation in the club.

“We have tried to immerse ourselves in the school and talk to the students, showing the opportunities [we can offer] them,” he said.

Sophomore Jordyn Zawatsky plays the role of Lambchops, and is the dance captain for the production. She reflected on the excitement of the new drama program.

“I wanted to join the drama club because I have been doing theater since second grade and I love it,” Zawatsky said. “I always thought it would be cool to do theater at my school because you are representing your school while also doing something you love.”

Senior Emily Jenks, who will play the role of Carmen Diaz in the upcoming play, expressed her excitement when she found out the drama program was coming back.

“I was extremely disappointed when the drama club fell apart my freshman year, and I’ve been wanting to bring it back since then,” Jenks said. “I attend the Academy for the Performing Arts Excel Tecc program, and hearing about the drama programs at my classmates’ home schools made it so much more exciting to find out that theatre would be coming back to Beachwood.”

The auditorium reopened last year after a three-year renovation due  to complications during the high school renovation in September of 2013.

“It’s a beautiful space that is designed with the highest-quality equipment,” Sapp said. “It raises the bar, setting a standard for our program.”

Zawatsky is excited that the drama club will be able to work in the new auditorium.

“It allows us to have our own space where we can create another ‘home’,” Zawatsky said. “It is where we are spending almost five [rehearsals] a week for three months, so it is really nice to have.”

Being without a proper space to produce plays for so long, Jenks believes the new auditorium will change that.

“The new auditorium has so many assets that are essential to high production quality of a show, and with a musical as big as FAME!, I think it’s really great that we have such a modernized stage to work with.”