MANCHESTER, Conn. (WTNH) — Students at East Catholic High School in Manchester had the opportunity to perform a classic stage musical.

“We really wanted to pick something that was popular, good music, fun feel,” said Jillian Quackenbush, the director of East Catholic High School’s theater program. “So, ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ was really the show to choose.”

The winter musical allows students to participate in a remake of a Tony Award-winning musical comedy.

“I get the privilege to play Rose Alvarez,” said senior lead Kendra Obrycki.

Obrycki takes on a dominating role during a period she’s only read about in history books.

“She’s very forward for the 60s,” Obrycki said of Alverez. “She’s very determined. She knows what she wants.”

What makes this so unique is the high energy on the stage and what they’re working with musically. Not all high schools get a musical pit to coordinate with. The experience pushes the musicians beyond what they thought was possible.

“A lot of pit music is tempo changes,” senior Karina Vasquez said. “I think pit is the reason why I’m able to play a lot of really high notes, purely because I had to play them in pit.”

They combine music and movement, earn classroom credits, and soar outside their comfort zone.

“Being able to go from school, where I’m very quiet, to being loud and quite more of an extrovert than I really am on a day-to-day basis is just very liberating,” senior Brandon Macaluso said.

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