When drama instructor Gleason Bauer was faced with the task of selecting Marlborough’s all-school play, she hoped to choose a production that would relate to modern-day issues.
“Each year when I’m trying to find a play, I’m looking for something that feels relevant to what’s going on in the larger culture, not just at Marlborough,” she said.
Bauer ultimately selected “Chicago” for its relevance to both the 1920s and the world today. “Chicago” is set during the Prohibition-era ’20s and satirizes injustice and corruption in American society, especially in the criminal justice system and the media.
A leading theme in the play is the role of media and the ways modern technology changes how the public receives information.
“I think we’re going through a similar period now, where everything is feeling like it’s been sped up because of digital technology,” Bauer said.
Various outsiders to the usual Marlborough drama department have helped the “Chicago” actresses explore the play’s theme of media influence and its dance-heavy musical numbers.
The UltraViolet staff collaborated with the cast and crew during rehearsals on Sept. 15 to discuss the role of the media in society.
Actresses, techies and UV reporters alike participated in various activities aimed at analyzing the different ways newspapers and the press can portray information and the ways the public can perceive the news.
Bauer also brought in her friend, guest choreographer Brian Fretté, to help with the production. Fretté has choreographed for a wide variety of performers, ranging from Harvard-Westlake students to professional dancers abroad.
Fretté said that the girls in “Chicago” have worked tirelessly to learn new dance numbers, and he’s looking forward to seeing their hard work pay off in the final performance.
“From the top of the show to the bottom, it’s one musical number after another…It’s all singing, all dancing, all the time,” said Fretté. “For the most part, my inspiration for a project as large as this comes from the music.”
Some cast members look forward to exploring disciplines in the performing arts
with which they are less familiar. With well over a dozen musical numbers, “Chicago”provides opportunities for performers to sing, act and dance.
“Chicago’s the type of show that can really help you grow,” said cast member Sarah’11, who plays Velma Kelly.
After it was revealed that Bauer chose “Chicago,” Marlborough actresses reacted with unprecedented enthusiasm: during the first week of school, approximately 40 girls from 7th through 12th grades tried out for a role in “Chicago,” and 16 volunteered to be a part of the technical crew.
“We had more girls than ever audition because it’s such a popular musical and
most people know it,” explained Bauer.
Zena’12 was especially excited to be a part of the play.
“Chicago’s just such a great show. It’s so different than anything that we’ve done here in the past,” she said.
The show will take place on Nov. 18 at 3:00 pm and Nov. 19 and 20 at 7:00 pm.