Sue Vatalaro has been involved with the Colonie High School Line ‘n Cue Drama Club, the longest running club in the South Colonie School District, since 2012. An English teacher at Colonie High, she is co-director with James Haertel, the school’s band director. This spring, Line n’ Cue will be performing “Shrek” the Musical on March 24-26 at 7 p.m. There is also a matinee at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 26. All performances are in the Mark Cornell Auditorium at the high school.
Q: This year’s musical is “Shrek.” Why did you pick that particular show and what do you look for when you are choosing which shows to perform?
A: We actually had planned to do “The Wizard of Oz” this year, but for the first time in our experience, we were denied the rights, so we needed to regroup quickly and choose a different show. “Shrek the Musical” was our next choice because it allows us to have a large cast and it still has that magical feel. We love how it has all worked out because Shrek is so funny and we think our audiences will really enjoy it.
Q: What is the best part about directing a high school musical? The most frustrating?
A: Without a doubt, the best part about directing is building relationships with students outside of the classroom environment. In Line ‘n Cue we try to build a feeling of family where everyone is welcomed and accepted. The most frustrating part is when things occur that are out of our control, like having to cancel a Saturday rehearsal because of blizzard conditions. In March of 2020 we were one week away from performing “Into the Woods” and we had to shut down due to the pandemic. That was heartbreaking for everyone involved.
Q: Of course, as a director, you want the students to learn their lines and not miss a cue, but what else do you hope they take away from their participation in Line n’ Cue?
A: Our goal is to help instill a work ethic and sense of pride. Drama kids are typically an eclectic bunch and are some of the most accepting and open-minded students. We want our club members to feel seen and validated for who they are and to live up to their potential on the stage as well as in their personal lives.
Q: In the age of cell phones and Facebook, why do you think live performances are still so popular in today’s world?
A: There is nothing like a live performance. When the orchestra starts the overture and the lights dim, there is an electricity in the air that can’t be matched on a screen. And in today’s world where so many people spend too much time staring at screens, live theatre allows everyone to disconnect from technology and harken back to a simpler time.
Q: What is your favorite play and why?
A: We have found that our favorite show is whatever we are currently working on because we get so much joy from our collaboration. However, “Into the Woods” has a special place in our hearts, not only because it is a beautiful work by Stephen Sondheim, but because we had a wonderful cast that year and our hearts still break that our community did not get the chance to see them perform. We look forward to sharing “Shrek the Musical” with the Colonie community.
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