Photo by WJFW Newswatch 12
Los Angeles screenwriter pens fall play for Wabeno High School
Story By Lilly Zoller
Local News Published 10/27/2021 1:51PM, Last Updated 11/01/2021 11:29AM
Wabeno - Wisconsin native Dick Grunert wrote his first play when he was a senior at Cedarburg High School.
"It was just this amazing experience for me as a, you know, high school teenager," said Grunert, a writer. "I was what, 17? To actually hear my words performed on stage and, you know, for a small town like Cedarburg it was a pretty big deal."
This is all thanks to his drama teacher, Janet Newton.
"What really made it special for me and kinda changed my life was having somebody like Janet, who isn't a parent or a relative, really believe in me as a writer," said Grunert.
He took this confidence all the way to Los Angeles, where he now lives and writes for numerous movies and TV shows. He's never forgotten about the drama teacher who started it all.
"Earlier this year she said, 'Hey, I took a job teaching at Wabeno High School, and I'm gonna direct a fall play and do you want to write it?' and I was like, 'OK, sure,'" said Grunert.
This year's play is called "The Switcheroo." Grunert's goal was to write something that the students could actually relate to and that reflects the truth of teenage life.
"I think this is, like, pretty special in its own way," said Sunshine Nelson, a senior at Wabeno High School.
Nelson plays the love interest in the play. The role gives her the chance to do what she loves, which is performing in front of an audience.
"It's really challenging to be honest because I've never really done it before," said Nelson.
Another actor, Wabeno senior Alex Adamczyk, says this is his first time in a play. Years of real-world experience makes acting in his role feel natural, though.
"It honestly feels the same way I've felt my whole life of getting basically bullied since elementary school," said Adamczyk.
It seems like Grunert achieved his goal because Alex says that acting in this part has helped him let go of difficult experiences from his past.
"I feel like I'm finally having fun doing something," said Adamczyk.