Director Helena Fifer brings Chicago: The High School Edition (book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse) to life on the Bingham Auditorium stage for five performances this month.
“If you are imagining that the high school version of Chicago, The Musical, is void of any of the original elements—murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery,” says Helena, "fear not. With the exception of the few songs that have been shortened or eliminated, and a few words changed here and there, Chicago the Musical is intact and just as cynical and witty as the original production.”
The show features a cast of 30 performers singing and dancing on stage, in true Fosse style.
“Over the summer I worked one-on-one with Amber Cameron, a local dancer, teacher, and former Rockette,” says Dance Teacher and Choreographer Sarah Surber. “We did two open classes in New York City together, saw Chicago, and spent the remainder of this summer working on Fosse technique and the style of choreography used in this production.”
Cameron also joins Surber as co-choreographer for Taft’s current production of Chicago: The High School Edition.
Cami Long ’19 and Meghan Spangenberg ’20 fill the big and iconic shoes of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, respectively, but share the stage with an exceptionally talented cast who, Fifer says, “have wholeheartedly embraced the speed, intensity, and creative demands of the show.” Fifer also reminds that there is so much more to each production than what happens on the stage.
“Remember that there are about 24 more students who have built the set, are playing in the band, or are bringing the show to life up in the booth or backstage on a headset,” says Fifer. “We couldn't have produced a show like this in such a short amount of time without this talented, dedicated, and enthusiastic group of people.”
Fifer also notes that David Kievit's set design “cleverly pays homage to vaudeville, art deco, film noir, and our judicial system,” while Musical Director T.J. Thompson "has been a one-man band of piano and percussion throughout our rehearsal process."
The show opens Thursday evening, October 18 at 7:30 pm, with additional 7:30 pm performances October 19, 20, and 26, and an afternoon performance Thursday, October 25 at 1:30 pm. Tickets are not required.