West Kings has it coming. The Chicago musical, that is.
Rehearsals are underway at West Kings District High School for the musical production of Chicago, and teacher Hal Jessome says this year’s cast is “really something else.”
With rehearsals already on three days per week and soon to ramp up to five days per week, Jessome says the community “really doesn’t even know what it’s in for” with this upcoming show set to premiere Apr. 3, which he describes as extremely song and dance intensive.
But despite the long hours spent rehearsing and intricate dance numbers, Jessome is forecasting a strong, solid show because his students are just that good.
“It’s almost song and dance tied together with the dialogue. But let me tell you, we’ve got great dancers and vocalists this year and I can’t wait for people to see it,” says Jessome.
Sophie MacMillan has been cast in one of show’s female leads as the showy showgirl, Velma Kelly, and will be joined onstage by Noah Bradbury who has been cast as highfalutin lawyer, Billy Flynn.
While MacMillan says her favourite thing about portraying Velma is her character’s confidence – “when something challenges her, she does whatever she can to stay on top of her game” – her co-star says his is that he is nothing like him.
“My favourite thing about my character is how different he is from me. Billy is always the star of the show, the suave charming devil who’s always in the spotlight,” says Bradbury.
The show’s choreography has been designed from start to finish by Grade 12 student Netanya Barkhouse, who says seeing it come to life still feels like a dream.
“Every dance in the show is something that I have put so much thought and effort into, and it makes me so happy to see them on the stage,” she says.
Planning and auditions for the musical began at the start of the school year and the show production counts over 45 students involved as actors and other things like costume creation, stage production and playing in the pit band, which will play music live when the show hits the stage.
Jessome says the musical is among the school’s largest extra-curriculars, and that committing to it is a “big deal” for high school students.
“It’s pretty intense for the kids. For most extra-curriculars, especially athletics, there’s a season. But with the fine arts, like musical theatre or band or choir, it’s pretty much a year-long commitment,” he says.
He says this year’s show is made up of a strong cast and production team of students, and will be sure to take its audience by surprise.
“I feel like I have to pinch myself because everything is going so well. These students are passionate and working really hard at this – please come out and support them,” he says.
The show will run for five nights and is currently reserving and selling tickets, which are available by calling 902-389-8885 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Netanya Backhouse - Choreographer
“I love doing this as I get to show my creativity and passion for theatre. Being part of a musical is like having a second family. No matter what role (cast crew, etc.) you have, you're appreciated and valued. I've done almost everything, and I don't think there is a ‘most fun part’ because whether you're on stage or behind the scenes, everything is a blast. Everyone should come see Chicago as the entire cast and crew have put a huge amount of effort into making this show as amazing as possible. It's going to be a must-see musical, and I have a feeling it'll be the best one yet to take place at West Kings.”
Sophie MacMillan – Velma Kelly
“The thing that makes the musical so fun for me is the community we have in the West Kings Drama Club works so incredibly hard to make the show the best it can be. For months we work as a team in rehearsals to ensure the final product is spectacular. I can promise this is true for Chicago this year! People should come see our show since there is something for everyone. Murder, romance, betrayal, inspiration, fame, and fortune – these are only a few of the themes Chicago presents. As well as a cast of talented actors and actresses, singers, trained dancers, flashy costumes, lighting and an amazing pit band to help us out, Chicago is unlike any other show we have put on. We guarantee you are coming to see more than just a ‘high school show,’ so grab your tickets while you can.”
Noah Bradbury – Billy Flynn:
“As for the most fun part of being in a musical, it's a combination of things from the atmosphere that we create to the new friends I never would've met had I not joined. It’s also good to be out of your comfort zone once and awhile and I'm definitely way out! And finally, why should someone come see the show, well, for starters, the amazing collection of talent we have from our star roles, to our ensemble, to our pit band - everyone is so incredibly talented! And the music! Oh, the music, these songs will be stuck in your head for ages and in the best of ways. And if you need just a little more of a nudge to get your butt in a seat at West Kings, well, it's staring yours truly! I'm just kidding, but it will be a show for the ages – one that you won't want to miss.”