Students from Charles Hays Secondary School razzled and dazzled audiences three evenings in a row with Chicago; A Vaudeville Musical last week, the school’s annual drama production.
Chicago opened with “All That Jazz”, one of the most recognized numbers from the play. Local talent Amber Mackereth lent her choreographing skills for “All That Jazz”, along with the hilarious “Cell Block Tango” and “Nowadays/Keep It Hot”.
Additionally, Prince Rupert’s own Anh Duong and Caitlenn Bull joined together to choreograph dance routines to “All I Care About” and “We Both Reached for the Gun”, as well as local Jillian LaBlanc who choreographed “Roxie” and “When Velma Takes the Stand” for the production.
Chicago is the story of wannabe-vaudeville star Roxie Hart (played by the acrobatic Charmaine Gibson), who murders her lover Fred Casely (acted out by Brandon Armstrong, a student with many roles in the production) who she had been cheating on her husband Amos (played by Seamus McConville) with. Roxie is arrested, and thrown in jail that is run by Matron, or Mama (performance by Ali Murray). After being put behind bars, Roxie meets club singer Velma Kelly (played by Georgia Riddell, who was a strong force in the performances), who has also been put behind bars for killing her husband and sister after catching them in bed together. Velma is not thrilled to meet Roxie because she had stolen the attention from reporters such as Mary Sunshine (Played by Angelica Jesser) and her lawyer, Billy Flynn (played by Cyrus Sobredo).
Eleven students made up the live band that helped back the musical aspects of the show, under the leadership of Musical Director Tristan Fox. The band consisted keyboards, drums, bass, reeds, violin, trombone, and the trumpet.
Chicago’s set was quite dynamic this year, and included several impressive props thanks to the leadership of technical director James Carlson, who received help from many students in the Musical Theater course at CHSS.
Chicago is based off of a 1926 play written by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins about real-life criminals and crimes that she reported on during the 1920’s. After Watkins’ passing, Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse received the rights and wrote a book version of the play, with Ebb writing lyrics and John Kander creating the music that was heard.