‘Chicago’: And all that jazz


Daniela Ciesielski

The musical is showing Feb. 13-14 at 3:45 p.m. and Feb. 15-16 at 7:00 p.m. in the auditorium.

By Marilyn Muncy, Feature Editor

Directed up the stage stairs, the cast started fitting their costumes as the stage crew prepared the set and lights. Once all the performers were suited up for their roles and the band is in place, rehearsal begins.

This year’s musical is “Chicago,” which was a play originally written in 1926 by Maurine Dallas Watkins based on what she had witnessed as a reporter in the Jazz Age: criminals becoming famous during their trials — especially killers, according to the Theatre In Paris website.

It was then turned into a musical by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse with music by John Kander in 1975 under the full title, “Chicago: A Musical Vaudeville.”

The Lane production will be performed Feb. 13-16 and is directed by Ms. Hanson, a drama teacher.

Rehearsals started in November from 3:30 to 6:00 or 6:30 p.m. each school day, and students were on standby if necessary Saturday rehearsals had to be scheduled.

“I have been wanting to do the musical for a long time,” Hanson said. “I applied for the rights five years in a row. We were denied access because it was running on Broadway, so I tried like 10 years ago to get the rights, and then I just stopped trying.”

Hanson explained that the drama department is able to self-fund to buy the rights of these productions and other costs, such as the choreographer that was hired out for this musical, from how much they make from ticket sales.

The production has gained a lot of help from inside the school, such as Mr. Veran and Mr. Flygt helped provide and direct students for the band, and Mr. Comiskey helped direct vocals. Mr. Davey is the technology director, Ms. Laroche is the assistant choreographer and director and Mr. Yadao and Ms. Cramarosso will be the producers of this production.

“We have Ms. Simanis, who works with her Fiber, Fabric, Fashion class, that has been working so hard on making costumes,” Hanson said. “They made forty-eight dance skirts, they made twenty-five ties, they made – I think – twenty pairs of gloves, they’ve made twenty-five headbands, they’ve made costumes for the prisoners in ‘Cell Block Tango,’ they’ve done a ton of work and it has been amazing.”

Siobhan Leavy, Div. 090, is the vice president of Stage Krew and has helped lead by making many props for the show and the main sets. They also collaborate with Theatrical Design to paint the sets.

“ For ‘Cell Block Tango,’ we have six moveable jail cells that the married murderesses use and we’ve never really done anything like that, we haven’t had moving sets that the actors take on,” Leavy said. “And that is going to make it look that much cooler, especially because they are in jail.”

There are almost 63 actors, including the assembly that performs for every show – besides the singers of ‘Cell Block Tango.’

Robert William Baranda, Div. 057, is playing the lawyer Billy Flynn, which is one of the lead roles.

“[The ensemble] do[es] amazing work with dancing and being part of that gospel chorus in the background, that adds [a] tremendous amount of entertainment to the audience and it is just a pleasure to the ears to hear and witness,” Baranda said.

Baranda has been in many musicals at Lane, but this is the biggest role he has taken on, and said that he finds the performances to be extremely fulfilling.

“When we actually perform, it’s so great to see such love from the audience and to be in that spotlight with your friends, we’ve been performing and practicing with these three months,” Baranda said. “It’s just so awesome to see that all culminate together and it is really rewarding.”