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SHS Senior Class Presents Willy Wonka

bucketsGet your golden ticket! It's a tradition at Scarsdale High School for the senior class to put on a musical and this year, the production is Willy Wonka, based on the famous book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Directed by Catherine Chan and Morgan Cochrane, with musical direction from Sofus Rose and Nivi Ravi, and choreography by Jessica Cohen and Zoya Binyaminov the show has performances on May 19th, 20th, and 21st.

The play will star Zach Brenner as Charlie Bucket, Jake Stiel as the chocolatier Wonka himself, and me as Mrs. Beauregarde who is definitely a star on the same level as Charlie and Wonka, 100%.

The senior class government nominated two shows to be this year's musical, and the senior class voted Willy Wonka as the winner. Speaking from my own background in theater, I was a little daunted by the selection. The show is very male and character actor heavy. Most of the leads in the show are played by men and dramatic productions in SHS tend to draw a much larger number of women. Also, many of the roles require accents and a fantastic sense of comedy. I was worried that we wouldn't have enough strong actors to cover the roles. Turns out, I underestimated my classmates. As soon as I heard Mollie Kerr do her german accent as Mrs. Gloop I knew that things were going to turn out alright.

augustusThe best and worst thing about Willy Wonka is how well-known it is. Even if you don't know the musical, you probably know the story. Five kids and their guardians, many of whom take the word bratty to new heights, enter a chocolate factory and chaos ensues. During rehearsals, many of the scenes became much easier to learn because of this familiarity. Almost everyone knows the tune to the Oompa-Loompa songs and our Veruca, Caroline Kaufman, instantly knew how to scream that she wants it now. The problem arises in the pressure that comes with the audience knowing the characters already. "It's a little nerve-wracking to be playing such a well known character, especially with the accent," says Kaufman. It's scary to be aware that the audience has expectations, but from what I've seen the seniors are more than up to the challenge.

Another challenge the class has had to overcome is the deep dark pit known as scheduling. With a cast of more than a hundred and different levels of prioritization, you are literally never going to get a rehearsal everyone can attend. Even getting all of the speaking roles to come is a tall order. This means that for most rehearsals, somebody at some point is talking to an invisible person. Not only that, but there is also an added degree of difficulty in that access to the auditorium and the set itself has been difficult to obtain. We've got a week till our performances and we have only just recently been able to start using the auditorium stage. But at my old camp we started all rehearsals two weeks till the performance and if a bunch of screaming eleven-year-old girls can do it, then I have no doubt that a group of high school seniors can do it. Everyone has really pulled through so far, and so much of that is thanks to the student directors. "The hard work of our directors inspires us to 'make sure we memorize our lines and dance numbers" Says Thomas Jacobsen. We're all working not just to impress the audience, but also to build up our fellow castmates.

directorsWhatever the difficulties, the show must go on. The cast has absolutely made the most of their less-than-perfect situation and no matter what happens it promises to be entertaining. The best part of putting on a play is never the performances. It's the rehearsals. Through my time working on Wonka I've gotten to know some people I had never really interacted with before, and I think that my experience here is universal. "It's really going to be a memory I will look back at for the rest of my life and I would definitely encourage underclassmen to do the play when they become seniors!" Says Nakul Srinivas (Mike Teavee).I know that the phrase "if you had fun, you won!" is a cheesy motto generally found on participation trophies, but it seems pretty applicable here. No, you can't "win" a musical, but you can win new friends, some chocolate, and a golden ticket if you're lucky.

Come check out the play on May 19th and 20th at 7:30 PM and May 21st at 2:00 PM in the Scarsdale High School Auditorium! Tickets are available for purchase online here

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