Rye Neck Salutatorian Takes Center Stage
By Janice Llanes Fabry
Rye Neck High School senior and Class of 2019 salutatorian Grace O’Rourke was selected as one of three finalists in the Palace Theatre’s Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Scholarship competition for playwriting. As a result, her original one-act play, “Pushing Up Daisies”, was performed last month by professional New York actors at the Palace Theatre, which empowers students by creating opportunities through the arts.
This is the second year that a Rye Neck senior WAS? selected for this prestigious honor. As Rye Neck Theater Director Scott Harris remarked, “This two-in-a-row win really demonstrates the talent and hard work of Rye Neck’s theater students.”
Indeed, O’Rourke has been heavily involved in Rye Neck’s intermediate, advanced, and musical theater acting classes. She has played leading roles in many of the high school’s productions and also served as a Thespian Officer for the last two years.
The production of “Pushing Up Daisies” at the Palace Theatre was directed by Luis Salgado, a well-known director and actor with many Broadway shows to his credit. The performance gave O’Rourke the rare opportunity to see her work realized by full-fledged theater professionals.
“Seeing it performed was amazing. There were so many choices made by the actors and the directors, from little things like body language cues to bigger things like interpretations of lines that I would never have thought of, but really loved,” remarked O’Rourke.
Rye Neck Senior Grace O’Rourke