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Norwalk Teens Put on a Show

NORWALK, Conn. – Frank Arcari was surprised to hear that the teenagers under his charge were putting on a show, even if they are in the Brien McMahon High School drama club.

Why? The cash-strapped teenagers organized the fundraiser themselves. They then let Arcari, their chorus teacher, know as a formality. They will put their voices to good use from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday at O'Neills Pub & Restaurant , at 93 Main St., to put a dent in the bucket they need to fill to stage the school's fall musical.

Arcari told them they need to raise $20,000 by the end of November, or they wouldn't be able to fulfill that dream. That would be "horrible," according to Jessica Fouldes, one of 10 seniors rehearsing after school Wednesday.

Paulina Schriel is also a senior, one of many who have been in the club since freshmen year. "We've been here for so long, we've been directors, we've been student choreographers, we've been the leads, now all of a sudden to not have a senior show is devastating, especially not being able to welcome the freshmen with a show. It's just disheartening."

As seniors, they have been with the club almost for its entire existence: Arcari said it was established four or five years ago. The shows have always been put on with a projected budget; organizers hope that ticket sales will balance the book at the end of the year.

"I'm afraid to spend money that doesn't really exist," said Arcari, who manages the club in addition to his duties with the chorus and music program. "I've explained to them how budgets should work, we need to raise this money at the time. Sadly, they were really upset that it's not funded and I said, 'That's something for you guys to address in the future, however that's not going to be fixed today.'"

Tickets for the fundraiser are $20. "The kids wanted to sing Broadway songs for people so they would at least get a taste of some of the music," Arcari said. "It was news to me. The kids have done it all themselves."

That student-driven effort portends well for the show they will put on, if they get the money. "They want it, they're hungry. I'm sure any musical they're going to do is going to be amazing because they work their butt off for it. They're not going to let it be anything other than amazing. It's the right attitude. It's a winning attitude."

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