Lights, camera and all that jazz

A behind-the-scenes look at preparations for the PCH musical, Chicago.

Erik Lucy and Anthony Devasto


Shoshana Weinstein, Staff Writer

Buy tickets at or during all lunches this week. The show runs from Thursday, Feb. 21 through Sunday, Feb. 24.

On Feb. 20, Chicago: The Musical is making its debut at PCH. After months of preparation, Parkway Central’s theater students will take to the stage. The play, set in the 1920s, follows the story of chorus-girl-turned-murderer Roxie Hart (senior Samantha Seigel). But there is much more to a production than just the actors. To create a truly stunning musical performance, an extensive technical crew and their supervisors spend hours collaborating.

In fact, preparation for this spring’s musical began almost immediately after the fall play, Noises Off, concluded.

“We auditioned everyone the week after Noises Off closed,” Nicole Voss, theater teacher and director, said. “It’s myself, and then Brandon Fink who is the choreographer, and then [Ben] Silvermintz, who is the vocal director. All three of us together are making the casting decisions.”

Those casting decisions aren’t easy.

“For any musical, we’re looking for students that can act, dance, and sing,” Voss said. “And obviously, there’s not every student that can do all three great. In addition to that, if there’s any characters who have relationships together, then we have to look at chemistry between the actors. So they might be perfect for the role, but if they have no chemistry with their partner, that could be a dealbreaker.”

Once rehearsals start, the director get busy.

“I’m doing all the blocking, coaching them with their acting, things like that,” Voss said. “I’m looking at creating characterization, character building, and creating the timing for the show.” Luckily, Voss has help from a wide variety of PCH staff. English teacher Kemba Metropoulos is one of those individuals.

“This is the first time I’ve helped with a musical, or even with a production, here at Central. A lot of my job is to learn,” Metropoulos said. “I’m getting the costumes together, which has been so much fun, dressing all the people for their different roles, ideas for hair, makeup, and props, so that’s what I’ve been working on a lot this year.” As technical director for the musical, Metropoulos has her hands full this spring.

Plenty of students pitch in to contribute to the technical crew. Managing the lights, sound, and set is a full-time job, as is attending to the hair and makeup of the actors. “I am a manager of makeup and hair, so i’m in charge of all the actors,” senior Hannah Kornblum said. “I sketch out plans for each actor and actress’s characters. I design it, and Voss okays it.”

There is more to this task than meets the eye.

“I do all the research, and Voss will double check it to make sure it’s all in time period and that it fits with her vision as the director,” Kornblum said.

“When we have dress rehearsals, we come two hours before the play actually starts, and everyone gets their hair and makeup done.”

“To me, when you’re in a show and you get your show family, it’s really exciting seeing it all come to pass,” Metropoulos said. “The thing you always dread is when the curtain goes down on the final show, and you know it’s all done.”