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Black Box Theatre Features RHS Show
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The cast of Xanadu takes a curtain call at the end of Saturday’s matinee performance in the Riverbank High School Black Box Theatre. The story, set in the 1980s, pits one of the muses from Mount Olympus against Zeus, queen of the Greek gods on Mount Olympus. The production was staged over the weekend, with evening shows on Friday and Saturday, and matinees on Saturday and Sunday. Ric McGinnis/The News
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Riverbank drama students Yumalai Duran, left, and Chase Gianelli, portray star-crossed lovers Kira and Sonny. Kira is a muse from Mount Olympus, who, having fallen in love with a mortal, Sonny, risks being ostracized from the home of the gods there. Everything worked out in the story, Xanadu JR, staged in the Black Box Theatre on the RHS campus over the weekend. Ric McGinnis/The News

Over the weekend, the Black Box Theatre at the Riverbank High campus was turned into two magical places: Xanadu and Mount Olympus.

The musical Xanadu JR was staged by the RHS Drama Department, and, at the Saturday matinee performance, were supported by a guest appearance by District Superintendent Christine Facella, who took on the role of Zeus, played that day as ‘queen’ of the Greek gods on Mount Olympus.

The musical, written as a ‘junior’ version of the 2007 stage play and 1980 film, portrays the ups and downs of the love lives of Kira, portrayed by Yumalai Duran, and Sonny, by Chase Gianelli. The evening performances were staged on Friday and Saturday nights, while Saturday and Sunday featured matinees.

The cast included 18 students, in addition to Facella and a huge crew of students. It was co-directed by Zachary Brown and John Thiel.

Officials note that the RHS Drama Program “features academic, pre-professional elective classes in Drama and Stagecraft,” along with “extra-curricular performances through the Drama Club.”

This was one of two productions the department stages during the school year, along with showcases of student scene work, playwriting and design.

“Students train as both performers and designers through experiences that cultivate artistic growth, critical thinking, self-expression, and collaborative and leadership skills,” the school noted.

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The muses of Mount Olympus join in song, with Kira, in the pink, played by Yumalai Duran. She’s a fellow muse who is falling in love with a mortal in the Riverbank High Drama Department’s presentation of Xanadu JR over the weekend. The situation raises the ire of Zeus, on Mount Olympus, who threatens Kira with banishment as a result. Ric McGinnis/The News
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RUSD Superintendent Christine Facella portrays Zeus, queen of the Greek gods on Mount Olympus, during the Saturday matinee performance of Xanadu, staged by the RHS Drama Department. It was Facella’s only guest appearance on the weekend. Here, she ponders the punishment of Kira, one of the muses who has fallen in love with a mortal. Zeus is trying to decide whether to banish her for breaking the rules. Ric McGinnis/The News