BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- On Thursday March 28 through Saturday March 30, the Governor Livingston Hilltop Players performed Chicago: High School Edition. The Hilltop Players performed once a night from Thursday to Saturday, and also presented a matinee show during the day on Saturday.
Many students saw Chicago on Friday or Saturday night, and juniors and seniors were particularly in attendance. Tickets were sold at school for a discounted student price of $5, making it easy for students to enjoy the show. The Hilltop Players also sold ‘Hugs and Kisses’, which are pieces of candy that audience members could pay for and send with a little message to cast members. During intermission and before the show, the GL Auxiliary Club set up a bake sale with water, candy, and baked goods for people to purchase as well.
From the actors running through the auditorium aisles during the first number of the show to the mesmerizing lighting, Chicago is considered to be one of Governor Livingston’s best shows yet. Sophomore Kelly McRae thought Chicago was “one of the best shows GL has put together.” Sophomore Shannon Hunt stated that she does not typically see many shows, but she was “extremely impressed with how professional it turned out.” Freshman Olivia Gorny liked the show so much that she would have willingly gone to “see it again and again.” Sophomore Abby Botte said that she had an enjoyable evening and “gained more appreciation for the hard work put into the show!”
Students agreed that Chicago was extremely well rehearsed and looked very professional. Two favorite musical numbers seemed to be “Cell Block Tango” and “All That Jazz.” Other favorites were “We Both Reached For the Gun” and “Razzle Dazzle”. The strong vocals in “Cell Block Tango,” likeable characters, such as Amos, who made the show more comical, and the music played by the orchestra, all contributed to making the show an enjoyable and memorable experience.
Cast members also had positive things to say about the show. Cast member freshman Sasha Rtishchev, who was part of the ensemble, was very impressed with the hard work her fellow cast members put into the show. She stated that Chicago “bodes well against other shows because the dancing was amazing and everyone in the cast was so talented.” Chicago was Rtishchev’s first show as a Hilltop Player, and she enjoyed being with her friends every day and seeing their hard work pay off. Freshman Aidan English, who played Harrison, also noted how much of a family the GL theater community is. With Chicago’s amazing ending message and the different emotions it portrays, Chicago is easily one of English’s favorite shows to perform. Senior Leah Slepoi, who played June, described how the hardest routine to perform was “All I Care About is Love”. Because of the use of huge fans in the song, a lot of coordination and precision had to go into each move. Slepoi discussed how Chicago was “not only dance oriented but also very character-based... which isn’t seen in some shows.” Senior Gabriella Santalla-Perez, who played Roxie, enjoyed her “very comedic monologue in the beginning that let [her] interact with the audience and really set the number.” Most of the show encompasses dark topics, but the incorporation of comedic elements makes it a much more mature show that audiences of all ages can enjoy.
From junior Mia Montero’s perfect portrayal of the vaudevillain Velma to junior Joshua Bezerra’s likeable but relatively ignored character Amos, the audience was able to enjoy each and every song. Junior Maycee Campano’s take on character Mama had the crowd laughing and cheering as soon as she set foot on stage. The ensemble’s mesmerizing dances captivated the audiences each night. There were lots of laughs from sarcastic lines or even the actors breaking the fourth wall, such as during “When You’re Good to Mama,” which allowed the audience to feel like a part of the show. With all of the Hilltop Players’ hard work, the response to Chicago has been nothing short of fantastic. Talent behind the scenes, from the stage crew to the orchestra, will not go unnoticed either. Without the help of these students, the show would not have had such a graceful and professional appearance. Students are excited to see what the Hilltop Players will come up with next year!