Setting the stage for a fantastic show

Park theater casts for production of ‘Chicago: Teen Edition’


Ena Mekic

Theater cast recites choreography for the Cell Block Tango for the new production of “Chicago: Teen Edition.”

Johanna Kaplan and Modesty Manion

As November approaches, so does the fall musical. This year, Park theater will dazzle audiences with their production of “Chicago: Teen Edition.” According to theater director Jodi Schifsky, the subject matter and casting requirements were a major factor in choosing the show.

“It’s a very female-forward show. Since we have really strong female performers, and we have great male performers — but fewer in quantity — this is a good fit for the talent pool we have,” Schifsky said. “It’s a great searing social commentary on our national obsession with fame and violence and crime and how those all intersect.”

The show is a satirical take on criminal justice set in the 1920’s. Sophomore Isaiah Brown said theater is off to a good start for the year.

“The auditions themselves went well,” Brown said. “Around two dozen auditioned. We learned a dance on the spot and then we were put up in groups and just danced. Then we got our pictures taken and went off.”

Junior Ezra Arregui said “Chicago” was a strange selection, but they eventually warmed up to it.

“At first, I was confused that we’re doing Chicago because of the murder, violence and sex but overall I’m happy were doing it because I actually like this musical,” Arregui said.

According to Schifsky, this year’s play will be a completely different ordeal than last year’s. She said that without the limitations of COVID-19 protocol, students have a wider range of opportunities.

“Last year, we chose ‘Anne of Green Gables’ because we were still coming out of wearing masks for performance and having some limitations and what we could do physically,” Shifsky said. “But now that we are more comfortable on stage, we chose a very dance-forward show.”

Arregui said participating in a musical like this is a rewarding activity. They said it is exciting to work as a team and collectively bring everyone’s talents to light. 

“I love it when all the pieces come together,” Arregui said. “I’m just excited about things — like the staging, the costumes and watching everything come together — because it’s satisfying to see.” 

The cast and crew are busy preparing for the show, which will be finished in November, according to Shifsky. 

“We’re off to a great start,” Shifsky said. “There’s a lot of energy around it. We’ve only had one crew call, but they’re gonna start building the set tonight — and then all those other technical elements will start to build up — I can’t wait until they all come together in November.”