By: Jamie Lasorsa, Reporter
The auditorium quickly fills with family, friends, and community members who have all
gathered to support the students of the Wachusett Regional High School Drama Club. The
production, All Shook Up, a musical inspired by, and featuring the songs of Elvis Presley, takes
place in a small town during the summer of 1955, where love is found in all the unexpected
The lights flicker as a signal that the show is about to begin. The crowd’s loud conversations
dissipate along with the light as it quickly becomes dark within the room, and anticipation of the
curtain opening sets in.
As quickly as the lights go down, the curtain opens and the stage comes alive with jailbirds
hanging off of prison bars and voices singing “The warden threw a party in the county jail, the
prison band was there, and they began to wail…” As an audience member, you couldn’t help but
sing along in your head and tap your foot to the beat.
Sets designed and built by students, music performed by the Pit Orchestra, Production &
Technical Crew, along with the many student actors, all collaborated to create a show that was
full of music, dancing, and overall enthusiasm. This quickly spread and was contagious to those
of us within the audience. I was lucky to be able to speak with a few of our local students who
participated in the musical and talk with them about their experience.
Abigail Harris, a junior at Wachusett Regional and longtime Sterling resident, played the part of
Sylvia, a widowed single mother who tries to divert her daughter from daydreaming about
leaving the small-town life, and instead, puts in hard work at the Honky-Tonk diner, which she
Abigail has not only participated in numerous productions within the WRHS Drama Club,
including Anatomy of Grey as a freshman, and Cinderella (which was unfortunately canceled due
to the pandemic just before it was due to take the stage), but has also enjoyed taking part in the
arts outside of school since the age of eight. She has participated in numerous productions with
the Sterling Community Theatre group, including Footloose, Beauty and The Beast and playing
the role of Gretl von Trapp in The Sound of Music. She is also a singer in Sterling’s Hope Chapel
youth band, which is composed of both singers and musicians, all under the age of 18.
Abigail said that the musical was a big commitment, “but lots of fun too.” She stated that she
enjoys connecting with students that she wouldn’t have otherwise connected with, continues
those friendships now even after the musical has ended.
Princeton resident and junior at WRHS, Ryan Hollan, was part of the Technical Crew and the
Production Team. Ryan has had some acting experience with productions at The Hanover
Theatre in Worcester, before he began high school. He pictured himself with a future on stage,
however, when he was unable to make it to one of the audition call-backs due to a trip, he was
encouraged to join the tech crew. Since then, he has loved being behind the scenes and says,

“There is something rewarding about seeing it all come together, [as a tech crew member] you
put the wrapping paper and bow on it.”
Ryan is also a budding musician, playing the Bassone as part of the wind ensemble in the Honors
Music Program. Although Ryan hasn’t hung up his acting career completely, he has found a
niche he enjoys within the production side of the arts, and is considering continuing this interest
into his post-high school plans.
Another Princeton resident and junior at WRHS, Elyssa Hume, played the role of Henrietta (as
well as being part of a trio group who made a few appearances throughout the show). Henrietta is
a staple in the Honky-Tonk, which is run by character Sylvia and is a “ring-leader” among the
others who frequent the establishment. She had her heart broken, and she makes sure to let
everyone know!
Although Elyssa has taken part in theatre outside of school, she said that she has had limited
opportunities to participate in musicals within school. She, like the others, was also due to
participate in the production of Cinderella, which was canceled due to the pandemic just two
weeks prior to opening night. However, she has participated in a few “Blitz” productions. Blitz
productions are student directed shows which take place in Fall and Spring and are a
combination of short plays and dance numbers, which fund the drama club throughout the year
via the ticket sales.
Elyssa said that she plans to continue to be a part of The Drama Club at WRHS and take part in
whatever productions she can.
“Out of all the casts I have been in, this one was by far one of my favorites… Not only can you
bond over what's going on at school, but just seeing a castmate in the hallways and knowing that
you are creating something amazing with them together is a huge bonding experience. Part of
what I loved most was how dedicated we were to each other. It was clear that no matter how
small someone's part was, you knew that everyone was making a difference, that you were part
of the family. Not only did everyone show up ready to work and put in the time, but we showed
up ready to learn… We were all there to pick each other up and support the show as best we
could. I'm really proud of what we were able to create together! That was definitely my favorite
part of the whole experience, and I know I will be missing my new {theatre} family for a long
time,” Elyssa stated.
The show was upbeat, engaging, and kept you wondering where each character would eventually
stumble upon their unexpected love. The perfect timing of comedic moments was also
entertaining and had the audience wondering when the next character would be breaking out in a
verse of “One night with you….” (Those who saw the show know exactly what I’m talking
No doubt there are many talented young adults being molded within the drama club and other
outside arts organizations in our community. You can hear the excitement, dedication, and
enthusiasm in their voices when they talk about the production, and you could see it on the stage

as well. Kudos to all those involved, both students and the adults guiding them. I for one will be
watching for the announcement of their next production!