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Holy Heart students sing and dance down 42nd Street

Students at Holy Heart High School in St. John's say they're ready for opening night, as the clock counts down to this year's production of 42nd Street.

High school production on stage in St. John's Friday and Saturday

Holy Heart students take on a Broadway classic in this year's production of 42nd Street. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

Students at Holy Heart High School in St. John's say they're ready for opening night, as the clock counts down to this year's production of 42nd Street.

The Broadway classic is about a producer who puts on what could be his last show, and a chorus girl who has to replace the star at the last moment.

A show known for its tap dancing numbers has been put together on the Holy Heart stage by choreographer Pamela Pittman, and the young actors say it's a lot of work. 

Students Patrick Stokes and Leah McKenney play lead roles in 42nd Street. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

"I'm here 12, 13 hours a day," said Patrick Stokes, who plays producer Julian Marsh.

"Just the physical exhaustion in itself is a challenging thing, as well as the emotional exhaustion," he said.

Marsh added playing this character has been a unique experience.

"I really discovered different aspects of myself, because the role really takes me out of my element … my character is a bit more dominant than I am in person."

"You have to have a lot of support from the cast members and the teachers and your friends," said Leah McKenney, who plays chorus girl Peggy Sawyer.

"I feel really good about it. I love the show, I feel it has a really strong story line and a really strong cast and I think it's going to be good."

Teacher John Rao directed the production, and says the reward is when students recognize the value of teamwork. (Keith Burgess/CBC)

For teacher and director John Rao, there are lessons learned from producing a big show.

"I think it's the value of hard work and commitment … I think that they learn that there's value in teamwork, and there's value in working together towards a common goal," he said.

"There's highs and lows, and definitely some challenges, but as a team we pull together and we're going to make it happen."

42nd Street opens Friday at 8 p.m. and continues with two shows on Saturday at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

With files from Jonathan Crowe

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