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York alumni return for hometown performance

ELMHURST – Two years ago, York High School alumni put on a concert, but last month, York's director of music and theater thought of a new endeavor for her former students: a musical.

On Friday, nine York alumni will perform "Edges," written by Benji Pasek and Justin Paul, on their alma mater's stage.

"I think it's important to note that this is a show that addresses our demographic," said Keith Potts, 23, a York alumnus and graduate of The Boston Conservatory who will be directing and performing in the show.

The musical, as he described, revolves around the big questions young adults face as they transition to "real life."

"Most kids in high school, music or theater is a wonderful activity or class, but these students are making a living with it," said Rebecca Marianetti, York's music and theater director.

After 11 years teaching at York, she said the Elmhurst community has always been supportive of the arts and that's what she hopes to encourage with the performance.

"I hope the students see that music and theater can be whatever they want it to be to them personally," she said.

While she is proud of those who are pursuing the arts as a career, she doesn't expect all of her students to do so. Even if they sing in a community choir or simply see a musical or play when they have the chance, she cares more that her students continue their appreciation for the arts.

"You don't ever want to forget where you came from," said Potts, who just finished performing in a New York musical adaptation based off the Junie B. Jones books.

Rehearsals for York's performance of "Edges" began this week, with each alumnus arriving "off-book," meaning they all have their lines and music memorized.

Potts credits Marianetti for inspiring so many of her students during the past 11 years at York. Now, more than a handful want to share their success with their hometown.

"Not only is [York] a place where students find their passion, but where they begin it," Potts said.

Other performers include Michael St. Peter, Jack McFarlane, Kelsey Roberts, Melanie Hughes and Julie Peterson. Caitlin McManus is directing stage movement, while Emily Knopf is managing the stage with Helen Knudsen as her assistant.

Advance tickets are available Tuesday at the York Auditorium Box Office from 6 to 8 p.m.

If you go

What: "Edges," a York High School alumni performance

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

Where: York High School auditorium, 355 W. St. Charles Road, Elmhurst.

Cost: $15 for adults and $10 for students at the door.

Info: Attendees are invited to enjoy jazz entertainment, dessert and a silent auction to benefit the York Student Enrichment Team in the York Commons after the performance.

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