Matanzas High School to perform "A Charlie Brown Christmas" Nov. 29 to Dec. 1.
Good grief! "A Charlie Brown Christmas" is set to take the stage at the Pirate Theater for four performances that will bring the holiday spirit to Palm Coast.
For the first time, a Matanzas High School senior is the director for a main stage show. Rafael Soto, who starred as Shrek in the school's performance of "Shrek The Musical" in April, was chosen by drama instructor Noel Bethea for the position.
"I have put in a lot of work into this program, and I'm glad that one of the last things I get to do with this program is direct this show," Soto said.
Pre-production preparation began this summer for Soto, who worked with Bethea to discuss costumes, set design and auditions.
For at least 10 hours a week this school year, Soto worked on the play, in addition to his role with the marching band and work in classes.
"I really wanted to work with these people; there are a lot of younger actors in this troupe," he said. "I really wanted to focus on trying to (strengthen) their fundamentals, such as projection, proper articulation, knowing when to take beats."
Soto hopes to pursue music education after graduation, and he said he's gained valuable experience from both his many on-stage roles and, more recently, behind-the-scenes.
"Instead of narrowing down and focusing on one thing, which is what I did as an actor, it's a lot more thinking of the bigger picture as the director," he said.
Bethea praised Soto as the perfect choice for the student director.
"He had the skill set of the musicality, he had the skill set of being in a staring role for Shrek, which was a very huge role, and the third thing is, he is so well-liked among his peers that everyone cheered when they heard it was Raf. He's respected; the kids love him.
The show is a celebration of the arts at Matanzas, said Bethea, as a three-piece jazz ensemble (under the direction of percussion teacher Jared Allen), the choir and a reader's theater joins the production.
"I would like this to become an honor for a senior to do and that it continues and becomes a tradition for our program," she said.