WESTFIELD, NJ — The Westfield High School Theater Department is preparing to whisk audiences back to the 1920s for their performances of “Chicago: High School Edition” next week.
The musical delves into the story of two murderesses locked up together in the Cook County Jail. Roxie Hart (Alexandra Sica) and Velma Kelly (McKenzie Wadell) compete for the spotlight on “Murderer’s Row” with the aid of attorney Billy Flynn (Matt Meixner), slowly uncovering a witty look into the justice system and celebrity culture of the 1920s.
“Chicago is so unique because of how wonderfully it blends together entertainment and meaning,” said Wadell, a Westfield High School junior. “The show gives the audience a true glimpse into the corruption of the justice system and how easily it relates to today.”
The cast and crew of the musical have embraced the culture of the Broadway classic.
“We are thrilled to bring the magic of this Broadway classic to our stage and local community,” said Westfield High School Theater Director Daniel Devlin in a news release. “Our talented cast has worked tirelessly to master the classic 1920s music and choreography, and our production team has done an incredible job bringing in elements unique to the show such as incorporating the band into the set.”
The students behind the production of the musical have been preparing for their performances since mid-winter.
“To prepare for the show we have had rehearsals almost every day since January, learning the music, dances, and building these awesome characters,” said Sica, a senior at Westfield High School. “The crew has also been hard at work building the set, preparing microphones and lights, and designing costumes and makeup.”
Sica described for TAPinto Westfield the responsibility the cast has taken on to portray the characters accurately.
“As the rehearsal process went on, I have had a lot of fun experimenting and getting the chance to put my own spin on the character but making sure to respect the incredible material and the character it builds,” Sica said.
Westfield High School senior Elisa Saint-Denis, who plays Cook County Jail’s Matron “Mama” Morton, noted the show’s historic elements.
“If you love the 1920s era, which many people do, it’s a fun look at the culture of vaudeville, how women were treated at the time ... and all that jazz,” Saint-Denis said.
Other cast members include Sean Marner as Officer Fogarty, Jessie Karlin as Liz, Eva Boyes as Annie, Kayla Louison as June, Talia McRoberts as Hunyak, Kyra Paternoster as Mona, Joey Gamba as Reporter One, Finn McGurn as Reporter Two, Lucie Saint-Denis as Third Reporter, Remi Shendell as Kitty, Evan Leone as Harry, Frank Wietry as Judge, Vincent Mora as Harrison, Sophia Rossetti as Clerk One, Ryan Willamson as Juror One, Noah Lipkind as Officer, and Caroline Schafer as Dance Captain.
Members of the ensemble are Daniel Andrade, Sammy Bauer, Olivia Bergman, Michael Bonner, Klara Butler, Sierra Ciasco, Russell Cohen, Maeve Collins, Jake Delforte, Jeremy Dudzinski, Sophia Erneta, Roselyne Garabete Azrak, Catie Givand, Sean Henderson, Bella Jarecki, Sarah LaMonica, Joshua Madera, Olivia Mazzola, Misha Panayiotou, Liz Rosenberg, Meredith Shepherd, Alyrie Silverman, Julia Singer, Jessica Strauss, and Sophie Tananbaum.
The dance choreography was led by Samantha Simpson and musical direction was led by Westfield High School Choral Department leader John Brzozowski.
If you go:
Tickets for “Chicago: High School Edition” are sold for $14 at whstd.booktix.com. Advanced purchases are recommended, but tickets not sold in advance will be sold at the door. Performances will be Thursday, March 12, Friday, March 13, and Saturday, March 14. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. in the Westfield High School auditorium, at 550 Dorian Road.
Shreya Jyotishi is a sophomore at Westfield High School participating in a journalism program with TAPinto Westfield.