‘Chicago – High School Edition’ to dazzle Hampton stage
See an exciting twist to a well-known favorite in this year’s spring musical “Chicago – High School Edition,” presented by the Hampton High School Theater Department.
The show will run April 5 and 6, 12 and 13, with curtains opening promptly at 7:30 p.m. each night. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $8 for students and are now available online via a link on the school district website.
Dan Franklin, musical director and producer, said this is a musical that he and high school musical assistant director and choreographer Jen Lavella have been wanting to do for a while, and they knew that this year’s cast was the perfect fit.
“The students auditioning had the talent level and dedication to pull it off,” he said.
“Chicago – High School Edition” varies a bit from the long-running, well-known “Chicago” musical, which features more adult-themed elements.
Not to worry, said Franklin. The high school version has content appropriate for high school age, including dancing, costuming, dialogue and more.
He said it gives the audience the “rewarding experience” of seeing a musical favorite while still leaving enough “wiggle room” for them to create their own unique interpretation of the show.
“I’m excited for people to see this version. We didn’t want to do what’s been done,” said Franklin, who is also visual arts and theatre instructor and drama club advisor at the high school.
It’s proof “sophisticated art can be done at a high school level,” he said.
The 34-member cast is smaller than previous year’s shows, including last year’s spring musical, “Nice Work if You Can Get It,” Franklin said. But a smaller cast works for this musical.
Leads include senior Elena Orban as Roxie Hart, junior Joseph Fish as Billy Flynn. Velma Kelly is played by both junior Rachel Simms and senior Mia Saltrelli. Mama Morton is senior Izzy Voinchet, and Amos Hart is played by junior Noah Lewis.
Lavella agreed they have an “awesome cast” and that every grade level is represented in the show.
The costuming is done tastefully, but still appropriate for the story as is dancing and other components, she said.
Like earlier high school musicals, Lavella comes up with the choreography on her own.
Overall, she said “it takes a lot of creative energy” to come up with the dance numbers. Her favorite is the “cell-block tango” scene.
She is also excited for “Razzle Dazzle” and “We Both Reached for the Gun.”
“I think we really try to think outside of the box with this,” she said, even with the costuming.
Lavella said she gets a lot of help from student assistant choreographer Orban, who is also playing Roxie.
The choreography is very precise and said, with Orban’s dance background, it’s a big help in directing students who may not have the experience but need to look like they do, said Lavella, who is also a teacher at the high school
Orban said this is her fourth musical and last year she was also student choreographer. With the experience of the latter, she is comfortable giving meaningful direction to her peers on stage.
“The show is very dance heavy,” said Orban, including the “intricate” flossie.
And it’s also very vocal. Orban said she’s proud of her fellow cast members and is excited for the public to see their version.
“(They’ll) be surprised a high school can pull off something so mature. We put our own twist to it,” said Orban.
Other notable elements include the staging, which is made of steel by new art and technical director Richard Swartz. He worked previously as a creative consult, said Franklin.
Tickets can also be purchased at the door with the box office opening at 6 p.m. and auditorium opening at 7 p.m.