“Good News” musical fuses theater, football in single production

Gabrielle Russo, center, a senior at Algonquin Regional High School, leads dancers during practice for the musical “Good News” on Sunday afternoon. Serving as dance captain for the production, Russo will perform with the cast during the production set in the 1920s. “Good News” will run Dec. 3, 4 and 5 at 7 p.m.

Cassidy Wang, A&E Editor

The upcoming school musical Good News, will incorporate both theater roles and football players in a production based on three various couples, including an unlikely college romance.

Set in 1927, Good News melds different social groups into one ensemble, while delving into varied paths in its plot.

“I’m taking [the audience] back to the Great Gatsby world so the music is wonderful in the sense that it brings back all those old songs that the kids don’t get to hear,” director Tom Alera said. “We get to travel back into 1920s, so I think the excitement will be that [students] will understand that era.”

According to Alera, the plot centers around a young college football star, Tom (senior John Clark), who needs to pass his exams; otherwise, he can not play in the big game. Then, the football players hire a studious young girl, Connie (senior Sarah Milnamow), to help Tom – who has a girlfriend but ends up falling in love with her.

“Meanwhile, there’s another couple, who’s a comedic, fun [duo] and an older one, a professor and the coach, who have had a past relationship,” Alera said.

According to Milnamow, Alera’s plans for Good News are similar to how he cast baseball players in the 2013 production of Damn Yankees.

“[Alera] needs real football players who know how to play football and act in a locker room,” senior Sarah Milnamow said.

Alera is excited to rekindle what he did with Damn Yankees, and believes Good News will bring what he sees as the similar worlds of sports and theater together.

“The end result is the game and the other is the play. During the weeks of practice we’re all working to try to win the game on both metaphorical levels,” Alera said.

Milnamow believes Good News is an excellent opportunity for the Algonquin theater community and football team to do something different. Both plot-wise and production-wise, “Good News” is illustrative of bringing together people with distinct interests to a show that incorporates both of their passions, according to Milnamow.

“I want [actors] to be able to see people out of their element, and for some people, they’ll be in their element, just doing what they love in the same community,” Milnamow said.

In addition, Alera hopes his audience will have a lot of fun at the musical and believes the younger generation should be exposed to certain songs, such as The Varsity Drag or You’re the Cream in my Coffee.

“The next thing is, [the musical] deals with sports and education, which is what we’re always facing. And that’s the same theme as back in 1927 so I like the academics and athletics [aspect],” Alera said.

This season, Alera is most excited to stage musical numbers as well as bring in a choreographer, while Milnamow is anticipating working with her theater peers.

“Doing theater at Algonquin has really become special for me throughout [my] four years because of the people I get to work with,” Milnamow said.

For sophomore Bridget Brady, completely being able to immerse herself in the world of the play, the people, and the enjoyable atmosphere is the most rewarding part.

“I’m excited to learn more from Mr. Alera and I think it’s really cool how in our high school we have the ability to take part in such a professional production,” Brady said.

When choosing the play, Alera wanted one that would challenge actors and bring them to a high theater standard.

“This is one that looks easy and fluffy, but it’s tough because it moves so fast and there’s intricate numbers,” Alera said.

As director, Alera says he has to keep “Good News” fast-paced so that people can experience what the 1920s had to offer.

“I felt this [“Good News”] was right, and it may lead me to do High School Musical in the springtime,” Alera said.