Theater department presents ‘CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION’

Natalie Edmonds, Co-editor

Despite the pandemic placing several inescapable barriers to live theatre including cast size and wearing masks while singing, the theatre department remains optimistic about putting on the upcoming production of “CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION.”

    Chicago was picked for our annual musical because it’s one that I’ve always loved and I felt that we had the right cast for it,” head of theatre department Brett Young said. “We have awesome actors and awesome dances, since it’s a very dance heavy show.”

    Senior Catie Leonard, who plays the character Roxie, has spent the last several months preparing for auditions for college musical theatre programs, all while participating in speech competitions and the play. 

“Emotionally and mentally, it’s been really difficult,” Leonard said. “I try my hardest to remind myself that everything I’m doing is because I love it and want it to be my future. That’s what ultimately keeps me going because I love speech & debate and being in Chicago.”

Senior Sarah Tran balances the musical, speech, and being DanceVisions captain, all of which are subject to change due to the unknown of the pandemic.

“Mr. Young and Mrs. Mclemore (DanceVisions coach) work together to allow time for both,” Tran said. “Sometimes I get pulled out of musical practice, or out of dance practice, but overall, we communicate, and we’re able to make both work.”

With the ever-changing status of the pandemic, the cast has been forced to make changes in order to abide by COVID-19 guidelines and put on the safest production possible.

Chicago was a COVID-friendly choice because it doesn’t have as many costume and set changes,” Young said. “This way, we don’t have to have a huge set, so it will hopefully be a little bit easier.”

Senior William Janson has participated in musicals and plays for all four years, and was finally cast in a lead role.

“I’m most excited about being on stage and just the adrenaline pumping experience,” Janson said. “Over the past four years I’ve grown so close with everyone, so I can’t wait to have one last hurrah.”

I’m most excited about being on stage and just the adrenaline pumping experience. Over the past four years I’ve grown so close with everyone, so I can’t wait to have one last hurrah.”

— William Jansen

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Tran and Leonard, co-speech and debate captains and best friends, get to take the stage for the first time together, even getting to perform a dance duet.

“The cast is so welcoming and warm that I always feel safe,” Tran said. “Not to mention, dancing alongside my best friend is a huge plus.”

With the senior class exiting in only a few months, Young only has a few teaching moments left with the group.

“This particular group of seniors will be a hard goodbye because my first year was when they were freshmen, so they are the ones I’ve been able to truly watch grow over four years,” Young said. “They’re an awesome group of kids who are really talented and hard workers; therefore, the outcome is always great.”

The show opens Thursday the 25th. Tickets will be available for pre-order a week prior due to COVID restrictions and limited seating.