The 'Chicago' Journals: the other side of the curtain, at Spruce Creek High School
Several Ormond Beach residents were in the cast of the upcoming ‘Chicago: High School Edition.’
| 3:21 p.m. February 14, 2022
Ormond Beach Observer
by: Julia Ambrose
What’s it like to be in a high school musical? I happen to be a murderess, Annie, in an upcoming, iconic show, along with several Ormond Beach residents, so I’ve been keeping a journal since we started rehearsals. Here’s what it’s like from the other side of the curtain, at “Chicago: High School Edition.”
The cast has just come back from winter break and are ready to get to work. Before the break, we focused on vocal rehearsals with our vocal director, Timothy Wilds, and now we will start the process of adding choreography and blocking to the show. We have about two months until opening, and everyone is really excited for the show to pick up.
I spoke with Lina Nasr. She said, “I’m ecstatic to show off my skill of juggling that I have been practicing specifically for this show.” Lina has learned how to juggle for the number “Razzle Dazzle,” in which we create a circus effect about the art of concealing the truth and lying in court.
My best friend Maegan Feldman and I go to the vending machines to get our munchies every rehearsal. Munchies are a mix of Sun Chips, pretzels and Cheetos and have become our rehearsal tradition. A majority of the cast eat their munchies in between scenes or dances.
Today I was talking with freshman Brie Flynn about the pressures of being principal dancer so early on in her high school years. “I’m grateful for the opportunity,” she said, adding that she’s excited to show off all of her hard work. Brie is the only freshman featured in the more difficult choreography, so there is a lot of pressure on her this year.
Dancer Avery Branch has been a member of the Spruce Creek Theater Department since her freshman year, and is excited to act as Dance Captain for the second time. She performs at many regional theaters, such as the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Theater West End. Recently, she starred as Jovie in the Dr. Phillips Center’s production of “Elf: The Musical.” Avery describes musical theater as her “greatest passion.” For “Chicago,” she will play Hunyak, a Hungarian murderess.
Rehearsal has been getting quite intense now that we are nearing the show. I know the company can remain positive and supportive for the remainder of the process.
Freshman Janie Tyree feels nervous to perform her hula hoop tricks in “Razzle Dazzle.” She has been practicing for so long and wants her theater debut to be flawless. She has done theater since fourth grade and enjoys singing above all else.
Lauren Bowrosen has her first lead in a mainstage, and it is her perfect comeback after having vocal nodules. She is most excited for the show to “come to life.” Lauren is portraying Velma Kelly in “Chicago” — singing, dancing and nailing Velma’s iconic attitude.
Actress Yara Nasr portrays Roxie Hart in this production of “Chicago.” Roxie experiences the trials of rising fame all while attempting to clear her name for the murder of Fred Caseley (played by Connor Barie). It is interesting to watch Roxie’s story come to life on stage. Yara’s sly Roxie is a contrast from Lauren’s curt Velma. The dynamic between these two is so fun to watch because it allows us to understand both characters’ backstories.
Suzie Kidwell is a senior and is completing her high school theater experience this year. Suzie and I like to dance around in the costume room and wear wigs. It is fun to be able to surround myself with good friends who like to have fun with me.
As we are about to head into February, everyone is nervous for the month leading up to opening and excited for tech elements to come into play. The creative team is working hard.
The set is officially built and walkable. It is multidimensional, with doors, jail bars, and platforms. It’s the most elaborate set we have had yet. We still have to put up the measures that make the set safe to perform on, but it is an amazing start. Scenic designer Torie Oakes makes the world come to life.
Final costume call was completed today, and it is about that time to start performing with props. Like other murderesses’ costumes, mine is a sleek black leotard with a skirt, sparkle tights and gloves, and hair accessories. The entire cast is in all black, making the dancing look sharp and precise.
Today we are painting the set and adding lights. The tinsel is added to the border of the stage, and there are additional projections for the stage right. At this point we are working on running and cleaning the entire show all the way through. It is a work in progress.
Jozeph Santiago is excited for his last musical with his closest friends at Spruce Creek. Zeph is also a costume manager for 30+ actors in “Chicago,” and each costume reflects everyone’s character and the show perfectly.
The brick wall has been added to the set, and we are about to paint the wood pieces. The whole “old theater coming back to life vision” is really being executed. We have incorporated a ghost light effect into the overture as cast members get the old abandoned theater back on its feet.
Matthew Monroe is thrilled to open “Chicago.” The show experience has gone by so fast, and it has been amazing seeing it all come together. Matthew plays the character “Emcee” and introduces all of the main acts. He also tap dances!
Morgan Gurtis is an assistant stage manager, she has been able to see the show come together since the very beginning. She is extremely proud of the work that everyone has put in, so she hopes you’ll buy tickets and enjoy the show.
Christine Ngo, a member of the crew, feels confident. She has been on the tech crew for three years and is one of the main components for the company backstage.
It is less than a week away from opening, and now we are incorporating the costumes, hair, and makeup elements. I’m excited to show the audience that although each costume is black, they incorporate their own unique elements of whimsy.
Reflecting back on the process, I am now mentally preparing for tech week alongside the rest of the company. This week, we will be working late but are so excited for the debut on Friday. I can’t wait for it to all come to life. As a senior, I am grateful for the theater experience and excited to share our hard work with the community.