Each winter, Upper School students perform a musical theater show for the School and local community. This year they performed Chicago (High School Edition), presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc., a Concord Theatricals Company. Here, Sarah Schmidt '20 reflects on this experience.
From the beginning to the end, Chicago took me on a journey filled with laughter, sweat, and a few bittersweet tears. The audition consisted of everything a regular theatre kid would expect. First, a dance call, where you learn a bit of the choreography then into a group vocal piece, and finishing off with solo auditions. Usually, after the initial audition day, there would be a callback audition before the cast list is announced. However, a week later with no callback audition, the cast list was posted and I had been selected for the role of Roxie Hart. I was ecstatic.
Four days later we filmed a video to send to our special guest choreographer Debra McWaters. Fast forward to Intensives. More than half the cast spent a week with Ms. McWaters learning multiple dance numbers for the show. I learned a lot that week about how to move my body in the Fosse style, with which I was not familiar before the show. We spent day and night during the Intensive period devoted to the show teaching and learning together as a cast.
Post-Intensives the whole cast was back together to start blocking the show and getting it on its feet. Among the different after school and weekend rehearsals, I was knee-deep in the show learning all about Roxie and the world she lived in. As we moved through January more dances were learned, songs were sung, and the show was starting to look like Chicago. Once we hit February everything was switched into high gear. We started trying on costumes, I got my wig, and the band was now on the bandstand helping to fill the stage.
Two weeks out from our first performance we began full run-throughs of the show. When we hit tech week and after our Sunday dress rehearsal, we all knew that this was going to be something special. The night before the Thursday preview, I remember thinking to myself “I can’t wait for other people to see what we’ve created.”
The exhilarating experience of performing Chicago is one that I will treasure for many years to come and a highlight of my time at St. Anne’s-Belfield. I want to express my gratitude and thanks to the entire cast, crew, and directors for making Chicago such a wonderful experience.
Photos from this year's production are now available on the School's SmugMug account.