Byline: Amanda Roberge
NORTHBORO -- For a sports-themed musical like "Damn Yankees,'' it only made sense to bring in some of the school's athletes. With a little cajoling, a handful of baseball and football players from Algonquin Regional High School will take the stage along with seasoned theater veterans as part of the school's winter musical production, on stage Dec. 5-7 at ARHS.
But the real story lies not with the athletes taking center stage, but with the drama students sharing their "field.'' After all, it isn't every day that self-described "theater kids'' like Max Teplansky -- cast as the long-suffering baseball fan Joe Hardy -- get a chance to shine as an athlete.
The turning of the tables -- with the athletes singing and dancing, and the singers and dancers donning baseball uniforms and playing the part of the athlete -- has led to some big laughs for everyone.
"It's been fun to pretend to be good at sports,'' joked Mr. Teplansky, whose talents -- unlike his character -- lie more in the realm of singing and dancing than in that of hitting home runs.
But one thing they can all agree upon is that the very foundation of a team -- whether on the field or the stage -- is the coach.
In this case, Tom Alera -- a ARHS English teacher by day who has served as the theater director frequently since joining the school's faculty in 1998 -- is the man they all look up to as far as that all-important role.
"He jokes around a lot but he also expects a lot out of everyone,'' said Mike Stamas, a junior at ARHS who is no stranger to baseball. As one of the recruited athletes who will play the role of Henry, one of the players on the Washington Senators baseball team, he recognizes the importance of a strong leader who commands respect. "He is like a coach to us,'' he added.
To the actors and actresses for whom the stage in the ARHS auditorium is a home away from home, the baseball theme for this production is one that...