‘CHICAGO!’ prepares for opening night


Used with permission by HHS Fine Arts Department

This years musical ‘CHICAGO!’ will be performed Feb. 9-12 at 7 p.m. and Feb. 13 at 1 p.m. To purchase tickets, visit www.hhsmusical.org.

Jiayi Li, Page Editor

Since early December, HHS Stage Streaks had been working on this years musical production “CHICAGO!” This show is set to run from Wednesday, Feb. 9 to Sunday Feb. 13. Junior Azalea Twining plays the role of Velma Kelly. 

“CHICAGO is really fun. These two girls get into a little bit of trouble when they murder their husbands, and they have to pull these big publicity stunts to get out of jail free. I’m one of the two girls who murders their husband and goes to jail for it. My character’s attention seeking, then disappointed when she’s out of the spotlight,” Twining said. 

Playing a main character, Twining has a big responsibility in the musical. She has prepared for this by rehearsing for hours on end almost every day since December. 

“We have to focus on different parts of the musical individually; so the acting and dancing and singing, and then putting it together a lot. [Many] rehearsals in December were music rehearsals. Then we started adding the dance and acting on top of that,” Twining said. 

On Academic and Career Planning night, the cast of ‘CHICAGO!’ performed a flash mob to spread awareness of the musical. They performed ‘All That Jazz’ and ‘Reach for the Gun’. Sophomore Bazil Gibson, who plays Mary Sunshine, felt enthusiastic for the opportunity to advertise. Like many other people in the cast, Gibson first auditioned because they were interested in performing, singing, acting or dancing. 

“I play Mary Sunshine who is the head reporter [and] one of the most influential reporters, so I have a few lines. It’s a really fun role to play,” Gibson said. “I felt pretty good about [the flash mob]. We have been working on the dances and songs for a while, so I wasn’t really nervous [and] I [had] fun.” 

Although constant rehearsal felt draining for Gibson, they feel incredibly proud of the progress the musical had made. They continue on knowing that they will put on an excellent performance that many people will enjoy. 

“There are a lot of days where I’m really tired and don’t feel like coming to rehearsal, but I am really proud of what we put together so far, and I’m excited for how it’s going to look on opening night,” Gibson said. 

Freshman Joshua Nafziger is a vital component in the musical. He works with the rest of the crew to deal with their numerous responsibilities. Nafziger runs sound for the musical meaning he checks mics and sounds cues among completing other tasks. He runs sound with freshman Jillian Pyle and choir teacher Bethany Houff. 

“I’m running [the] sound. I will be making sure microphones are working and that everyone has their microphones. Jill will be running sound cues, for example doorbell or gunshot,” Nafziger said. 

Senior Mikey Paniagua plays the clarinet in the pit. Instead of playing in front of the stage however, the band gets to perform on the stage with the rest of the cast. Paniagua has been a part of the pit for all four years in high school. Though it had been different the past few years, one aspect that remained consistent is the atmosphere and people. 

“I really enjoy the atmosphere, the people and the music. It’s always fun to run the show and practice with the rest of the orchestra because everyone has done their fair share of practicing, and we’ve been working really hard to get the show ready. [I enjoy] hanging out with friends and making music. I also enjoy seeing the production come to life from the very first run through to the last performance,” Paniagua said. 

Senior Rose Trainum stayed after school almost every day as stage manager. Having done it in her sophomore year, she realized she had a lot of fun and asked drama teacher Ken Gibson to be a manager again. She has many responsibilities and tasks that can range from 15 minutes to several hours. 

“We’re in charge of backstage crew, so we’re telling them what to do and cueing them for stuff like set changes. We also just help the directors with whatever little jobs they need, like finding people and running errands for them. I have had to stay after school almost every day for the entire process even if it was for a little bit. It’s been a lot of staying after,” Trainum said. 

From attendance to set changes, Trainum helps make sure everything runs smoothly. The stage managers often examine the musical to see how it can improve. 

“First, we normally have some fixing up of different things. The crew is usually backstage setting up for the first scene, so we make sure that all the props are where they need to be and that we have all of our big set pieces in a space where we can easily get to. Then we either run through specific changes like if we have a lot of props to move on from one part to the next, or if we’re doing a full run through, we make sure that everything is going smoothly,” Trainum said. 

Like many others, Gibson joined to put on a performance with others in the fine arts community. They were able to foster many new friendships and strengthen old ones while preparing for a musical. 

“I really like acting, singing and dancing. I love being a part of something where I get to hang out with so many people who have the same interests as me, and I love putting a show together that other people can come to and enjoy. I’ve met so many absolutely amazing people, and I’ve had a lot of fun working with all of them,” Gibson said.