A Show That Is “All that Jazz”

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Cherina Powell

Roxie and Velma’s big finally.

Photo taken by Cherina Powell
Roxie and Velma’s big finally.

The student theatre production of the chilling, yet hilarious story of Chicago has recently come to a close with a rounding success. All three show nights had the auditorium packed with excited students, parents, and school faculty. The adaptation of the famous story of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly was directed by the theater teacher, Sunshine Parsons, while the show was brought to life by a team of more than 47 cast and crew.

“I love Chicago, it’s my favorite musical, and I came to Ms. Sunshine sophomore year with a slide show begging her to produce it as the next big musical,” Senior Courtney Jordan, who played Roxie Hart, said. “She said she would consider it and I’m very happy I got to finally be a part of it.”

 

Open auditions started in late September to anyone who was interested. The cast went through a three part audition process of singing, dancing and acting. Everyone was given an equal chance to shine, which resulted in a talented cast of which some of the leads had never been in a staged production before.

 

“Sunshine likes to say that the shows are for people who like to take themselves out of their lives for a little bit, so I decided to try something new,” Senior Dee joy, who played Velma Kelly, said, “I auditioned for fun, never expecting to get a lead role and I’m happy I did because it was a good experience overall.”

 

Saying the cast worked extremely hard is an understatement. They had to learn and rehearse countless songs and scenes for hours after school for months. Some rehearsals went longer than four hours, especially as opening night came closer and closer.

“I always came home extremely tired,” Junior Alysen Sherburne, who played Mary Sunshine, said, “I had to balance hours of practice time with homework and other activities I have on a daily basis and it got very stressful at times. However, it was worth it to make the show the best it could be.”

 

There were, however, hiccups along the way of preparing the show. Flu season hit the cast hard and almost every practice someone was missing. Chicago also lost some students due to grades, which hurt the productivity of the show. 

 

“We lost some people to grades, since it’s an extracurricular,” Parsons said, “It’s always rough to work with somebody and then they have to go away.”

 

The cast also had to work with a live orchestra the final weeks of production, which had some pros and cons. A pro was that the end product sounded more like the original musical and gave the show a very authentic vibe. However, a huge con for the cast and the orchestra was that they had to make constant adjustments to scenes so they would both be on time.

 

“There were moments where I had to go offstage and calm myself. We had worked for three and a half months with a soundtrack with no surprises,” Senior Bradley Mickelson, who played Billy Flay, said, “Then suddenly we were thrown this full orchestra which had human error and it was hard to understand that mistakes could happen the night of the show. We were very fortunate that nothing went wrong during the show nights.” 

 

Opening night was packed with excited students and teachers, but not nearly as excited as the cast. The show was hyped up the entire school year and they were ready to deliver what they had worked so hard on.

 

“Honestly, I wasn’t that nervous,” Geena Nepal, who played in the ensemble, said, “It was opening night and I thought I should just have fun and enjoy the moment.”

 

As the show nights went on, the performances of the cast and the turnout of the audience grew as glowing reviews for the show were spread among the student body.

 

“I originally wasn’t planning on going to the show because I am not a musicals person,” Junior Heddie Martinez said, “However, my boyfriend, Nathan Osborn, was the violist for the show and he showed me all the beautiful songs they were going to perform and I couldn’t resist. Overall, I am really glad I went because I loved how the acting and the music worked together during the show.”

 

At the end of the last show night, the cast and crew came together and shared some of their favorite experiences during the preparation of the show. It became very emotional for all of them because a journey that had taken them out of their normal lives for the majority of their school year had finally come to a successful close.

 

“It was amazing,” Mickelson said, “It was the biggest thing I have ever been apart of and I’m glad I decided to join.  I’ll always look back on the experience fondly.”