In its eighth year, the after school Theater Arts class has brought a new performance opportunity to County Prep students, who are learning both performance and rehearsal practices, and are encountering first hand all of the aspects of professional theater. Once again, the show had complete live accompaniment, by renowned pianist Craig Ketter, and award winning saxophonist Isaac Ketter, under the direction of our multi talented Musical Director, Valerie Gonzalez. The show was designed by our professional lighting designer, Mr. Lance Michel, was choreographed by County Prep Alumnus Mr. John Hines, and was directed by Ms. Raluca Shields.
This year, the students focused on rehearsing and performing Chicago, a darkly satirical, razzle dazzle musical set to the backdrop of prohibition era Chicago. The show has its origins in real-life, high profile crimes, criminals and trials of the 1920s. The show pokes fun at the corruption in the criminal justice system and at the idea of “celebrity criminals”. In the words of the great Fred Ebb, in a nutshell, Chicago “it’s a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery and treachery”.
On a deeper level, the play is about truth and the lack thereof in the world of the play, which sadly reflects ours also. Truth has become easily manipulated and in turn weaponized with the purpose of personal gain and quick fame. Such is the environment of the play, where corruption flourishes, and morals unfold quickly.
This piece was chosen to showcase our performers this year, who wowed the audience “and really rose to the occasion” with “pitch-perfect singing” and believable characters, as Ms. Warfel Sandler, Director of Performing Arts/ Dance and Chair of the Board of Directors for the Jersey City Arts council put it. Juniors Kayla Velazquez and Ariel Rivera starred as Velma and Mama, and Sophomores Khira Fried and Matthew Segovia starred as Roxie and Billy respectively, while Senior Tyla Gibson starred as Mary Sunshine. The cast also included Senior Dynajah Smith, who was also Assistant Director of the show, and Senior Yvelisse Varga; Juniors Ivellisses Segovia, Kaine Malachi, Arbaz Khan, Angela La Rosa, and Alyssa Anglade; Sophomores Megan Wasserman, Tatyana Serrato, Ethan Barragan, Jaden Misaro, Fred Veloz, Emely Rivera, Yvette Cruz, Cinthia Perez, Reanna Cruz, and Madison Roman; and Freshmen Arianna Czaplicki, and Kawtar Laouej. Special recognition also goes to lighting technician Junior Eianna Martinez, sound technician Senior Sheily Mateos, our Follow Spot Operator Ellaine Dionisio, and Back Stage Technicians Freshmen Elleria Perez and Selsabil Belmokhtar and Junior James Quach; and our Costume Designer Esmeralda Garcia.
Ms. Shields and Ms.Gonzalez are very proud of all of the cast and crew whose work has developed through our premiere rendition of this musical.
Chicago, the High School edition is presented through arrangement with Samuel French.