Stand out musical

SHS’s fall musical is presented with new challenges compared to previous years

The curtains open for the final dress rehearsal of this year’s musical, “Zombie Prom.” Senior Jazlyn Jackson, portraying Miss Strict, the principal at Enrico Fermi High, stands at the top of the platform and reports the announcement that they will be holding the ninth annual nuclear fair that day. She speaks loudly, the character is clearly excited. 

“And I, for one, am all a twitter at the mere thought of pursuing your booths,” Miss Strict says. “That is all!”

And that is all, or at least mostly all, of the spoken lines in the show. Almost all other lines are sung or spoken in songs. 

“Zombie Prom,” is a sung-through musical. And that is just one of the differences in this year’s production compared to those of previous years. 

The musical will be hitting the SHS auditorium on Nov. 18, 19 and 20, and actors, crew and directors have been working for months to put this production together.

“Zombie Prom” focuses on two highschoolers, Toffee and Jonny. Toffee falls in love with Jonny, and   everyone around her is telling her that he’s not good due to him coming from the wrong side of the tracks. He’s rebellious. So, she breaks up with him. Jonny doesn’t take it well, and takes a drastic action that results in him becoming a zombie. The musical then focuses on Jonny trying to get back into the swing of things in normal day-to-day life as a zombie, all while trying to win back the love of his life.

Typically, musicals have at least two to three scenes in between songs. Though they are musicals, the plot is often portrayed through acting and songs to guide the story along.  Similarly, “Zombie Prom” tells most of the story through its songs, but with minimal strictly acting scenes.

“This year’s show is a sing-through musical, meaning that there aren’t that many scenes where people are standing there talking,” Jackson said. “Everything is sung out basically. Last year’s musical wasn’t like that.”

The production also has a significantly smaller cast than in previous years. Theater teacher, Kimberly Roberts, believes a smaller cast is easier to work with. She identifies that there are positives and negatives in having a bigger staff when putting on a production. 

“When you have fewer people you have fewer absences, you have fewer things going on, there are fewer people talking,” Roberts said. ”We love having a big cast, however it has its own set of challenges, so it is nice to have a smaller cast.

Roberts has had help from assistant directors (choir teacher Jaclyn Richardson and success coach Austin Lundsford), but some of the students are taking charge and helping with a lot of the choreography. 

Junior Lexi Nix has played a vital role when it comes to choreography numbers in the musical, embracing the role of a student choreographer. 

Roberts fixes the blocking on stage for the cast members. This was one of their earlier rehearsals for the musical. (Grace Elder)

“My favorite part of the musical has been getting to be involved in the behind the scenes part of it and preparing it,” Nix said. “Instead of just being on stage, I get to make some of the stuff that happens on stage. I’m really excited for the audience to see that it was partially student created.”

Along with this role, Nix will also be acting in the show. This requires her to spend extra time and effort to perfect both roles and do her part to make the musical something SHS will remember. 

Junior Josiah Veen plays Jonny, the male lead in the musical. Being a main character and with it being a music-heavy production, Veen says he has to put more time into rehearsing than he has had to in the past.

Junior Annabelle Southern plays Toffee, the female lead in the musical. Southern feels that there is a lot of pressure on her, being the lead and having to learn all the lines and songs, but she enjoys being able to spend time with all of her friends who are in the musical. 

Not only is a sung-through musical more work for the actors, but it adds to the workload of the crew as well.

Junior Kevin Rogers is acting in the show this year but is also a vital part of the backstage labor, making the sets and helping some of the props. He has noticed a difference in backstage work, but a difference he believes 

will pay off. Working on this unconventional set has become an encouraging factor in enjoying practice daily. He says he is always learning something new everyday.

“There’s a lot more moving parts, there’s a bigger set, much more complicated in basically every way,” Rogers said. “It makes it more difficult, but it also makes it more fun. For acting in it, it makes it so much more fun because there’s so much to learn, and so much to do.”

Rogers has had helping hands while adapting to a heavier workload. All of the students in Roberts’ tech class also contribute in helping with the sets during class, so he has some needed assistance. 

Cast members rehearse their choreography during one of their many rehearsals. The cast was rehearsing their dance for the song “Rules, Regulations and respect.” (Grace Elder)

Whether it’s behind the scenes like Rogers and Nix, or the commonly seen lead like Veen and Southern, the cast has tried to make this show something that everyone can enjoy. Roberts sees this production as one that everyone will really love due to its fun and catchy qualities.

“The choreography is fantastic. Our actors are amazing. Our crew is amazing. It’s just fun,” Roberts said. “We’re really proud of the things we do, and we want to share it with everybody … We’re so proud of our students who have created this production, so we hope everybody will come and have a fun night in the theater.”