Drama Club to Perform

Chicago: High School Edition

The+Warren+Hills+Drama+Club+cast+of+Chicago%3A+High+School+Edition+rehearses+six+feet+apart+in+the+auditorium+while+wearing+masks+to+adhere+to+COVID-19+protocols.+

(Photo courtesy of Emily Gilligan)

The Warren Hills Drama Club cast of Chicago: High School Edition rehearses six feet apart in the auditorium while wearing masks to adhere to COVID-19 protocols.

Kaileigh Cagnassola, Staff Reporter

Members of the Warren Hills Drama Club say they are elated to perform live again with outdoor performances in April of the high school edition of the musical Chicago.

Performances are planned each day from April 29 to May 2, with rain dates of May 6 to May 9.

This year, there is also a COVID-19 back-up plan, with scheduled later dates of June 17 to June 20.

Chicago: High School Edition, set in the late 1920s in Chicago, follows the stories of two vaudevillian murderesses, Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, who are locked up in Cook County Jail. Lawyer Billy Flynn helps the girls put on a show to try and prove their innocence to the jury so they will be released and not hanged for their crimes.

The musical will be staged outside of the school by the greenhouse and the drama and choir classrooms. It will be set up in a cabaret style setting with the entire cast on or near the stage during the entirety of the production.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions last spring, the Drama Club was forced to cancel its 2020 performance of Matilda, so the directors are taking additional precautions with rehearsals to ensure a live performance this year.

This year’s rehearsals have come with the added challenge of masks and the COVID-19 regulations and rules that everyone must follow. The cast must dance six feet apart from each other, and it is anticipated that many members of the cast will have to wear masks for the entire show while dancing and singing.

Director Nicole Labrit-Petrewski commented on the struggle of scheduling rehearsals this year, especially under a hybrid school schedule that limits each student to a maximum of two days in the school building each week.

“Part of the issue is that people can’t get to rehearsals on their cohort-off days and Wednesdays, so at first I was trying to be aware of how I was scheduling, but now I schedule it and hope for the best,” Labrit-Petrewski said.

Despite the challenges, the directors and cast have tried to make rehearsals just as fun and exciting as years past.

“Being in person is the best part of rehearsals because we get to actually see each other,” said senior Dani Gilbert, who plays Velma Kelly.

Being able to perform the show for a live audience this year is what makes it so special and different from any other performance.

“I can’t wait to be in front of a live audience again,” said senior Emily Gilligan, a four-year Drama Club member playing the role of Matron “Mama” Morton. “There’s just something about having people there that makes the show all the more exciting. Yes, it was incredible that we could still do a virtual fall play, but it just isn’t the same experience.”

Chicago: High School Edition is ensemble-based and allows the whole cast to perform a lot of dancing.

“It is a combination of brilliant jazz music, really amazing dance opportunities and fun singing,” said Vocal Director Lauren Voight.

Ticket sales will be available online soon and the audience members will be expected to bring their own seating, such as blankets to spread on the ground or lawn chairs.

The cast of Chicago has been working hard to make this a worthwhile experience, and they hope that the audience enjoys the show.

“People should come see the show to see how hard work pays off,” said junior Bryant Aguirre, who plays Amos Hart. “Even with the given circumstances, it will be amazing and fun to sit in the audience and watch a live performance.”