An American classic reimagined: ‘Chicago’ aims to shine and dazzle on stage


Connor Lawless

Junior Michael McWilliams, senior Maxwell Petrie and junior Preston Green lift sophomore Miranda Slingluff while choreographer Denise Day instructs during rehersal for “Chicago the Musical,” which will debut December 6.

This year’s fall production “Chicago the Musical,” directed by fine and performing arts teacher Maura Morrison, will debut on December 6, telling a story about the effects of jealousy and fame.

Set in the Jazz era of the 1920s, the show explores corruption and crime through the lives of the main characters Velma and Roxy.

“There’s a comical element to it, so it’s very different from any other show I’ve directed,” Morrison said.

Senior Chris Martin agrees that this will be an unique experience because of the fascinating plot.

“Chicago seems like an interesting one to me.” Martin said. “It’s a lot about duplicity and double crossing and very rascally people interacting with one another. That can be fun and interesting.”

According to vocal coach and fine and performing arts teacher Katherine Waters, there are complications with putting on a production of this size.

“The hardest part is making sure that everybody knows their vocals well enough to dance and look like a character,” Waters said. “They’re singing harmonies and conveying a mood or an attitude. A lot of it is a little bit sarcastic.”

The size of the production also makes costume creation more difficult, according to science teacher and costume designer Brian Kelly.

“One of the hardest parts is that there are so many students that’ll be in the show and it’s difficult trying to make sure that your costumes are consistent from one student to the next,” Kelly said.

The fact that there are many students in the show raises a concern for Martin as well.

“I think we have a pretty big cast and it can be difficult to keep control of people,” Martin said. “[We have to] make sure we stay on track because it’s very easy for a large number of people to hang around on the scene and not really participate in the rehearsal.”

In addition to problems resulting from the size of the production, the musical staff needs to sort out some technical difficulties, according to applied arts and technology teacher and assistant set designer Daniel Strickland.

“This year they’re talking about putting the pit orchestra on stage, so we are trying to figure out a way to fit all the students who are playing along with the conductors,” Strickland said. “[Another] hard part is that the actors and the musicians have to see [band teacher Eric Vincent] when he tells them what to do. We have to hook up monitors and cameras.”

Although there’s a lot of work to be done, much of the student body is thrilled for the fall musical.

“I’ve been in every fall and every spring show,” Martin said. “[“Chicago the Musical”] would be a good opportunity for me to explore something that has been proclaimed as being really great for a long time.”

Senior Annalise Loizeaux is looking forward to introducing the world of theater to the underclassmen of Algonquin.

“There’s so many kids that are below us, and I’m so excited to meet them and take them under my wing.” Loizeaux said. “I hope to get to know all the younger kids and build them up so that when we leave they can take over the theater department.”

Freshman Shrutika Kumar is excited to be in the musical for the first time.

“I am pumped,” Freshman Shrutika Kumar said. “It’s a fun way to get involved with your friends and sing and dance.”

Auditions for the show took place on September 12 and 13.

“We’re really excited about the show because 55 students auditioned, so there’s enthusiasm for that and we have a lot of really exciting talent coming up,” Waters said.

In order to get more of the school community involved, students and faculty will be helping to make the sets, props and performing the instrumental music for the production. Kelly is in charge of costume design.

“The costumes will be the best we can make them out to be,” Kelly said. “[There will be] 20th century style costumes: low waists on the dresses, skirts, and high waisted pants for the men. It’ll also take a few liberties, so there’ll be a lot more sparkly and flashy things from the [Jazz] era.”

In order for the show to be a success, every piece of the musical needs to come together.

“Everything works together,” Kelly said. “The costumes and make-up and props and the set and all of the things that go into the musical really pull it all together.”