Is this another high school musical?

Michael Xayavong and Cheyann Neades

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The gathering of loud and excited actors and actresses make their way to the school’s newly-renovated auditorium to make a new statement of North’s theater and choir department. Ever since Vanessa Brady came into the picture three years ago as the choir director, the musical theater program has been revived since it’s last showing of The Wizard of Oz in 2010.

Along with Brady, drama director Mark Rixner is thrilled about the up and coming program that has shown major improvement since the first show the two have done together. They have teamed up to bring us three great shows: Annie, Urinetown, and currently in the department’s 2014-2015 season, The Addam’s Family.

Rixner and Brady

Mark Rixner and Vanessa Brady lead The Addam’s Family rehearsal

Photo credit: Michael Xayavong

Sophomore Hebelin Sanchez: “I love that I get to learn new things from my peers… I look forward to the end result of the show, to see it come together.”

Junior Mayte Gomez-Cruz: “I really enjoyed singing, so I tried out for the musical and loved working with the people… I feel that the program has grown in numbers and we have improved so much.”

2012-2013:

Annie, a show about a little orphan who goes out to find her parents but instead stumbles upon a billionaire and finds herself a new life. This first show was a success for the duo where they brought in actors and actresses of different ages from the community.

Rixner: “I wanted to bring in the community, it’s great to see students being exposed to theatre.” One of his other reasons for wanting to put on Annie was to let the audience know that North is back in action by doing musicals.

Brady: Annie was her first musical, she was excited about the opportunity “[to] work with elementary students and a pit band.” This showed throughout rehearsals when she would walk into the choir room excited and ready to work.

2013-2014

  Urinetown, a show that despite popular belief, isn’t only about what’s hinted at in the title. It’s everything from comedy to an odd love story, which gave the cast the opportunity to work together on a difficult show.

Rixner: He always had a love for the show because “the story is funny and I think it’s fitting.” With an all high school cast, he felt that this show was the step in the right direction for the program.

Brady: She and the cast learned a lot through this show. “The content was very difficult and showcased the high schoolers’ acting and singing abilities in the show,” she explained, telling us how the show challenged them with the countless hours of rehearsing and made her second year a success.

2014-2015

  The Addam’s Family, a classic, follows the story of Wednesday Addams (the daughter) who falls in love with Lucas (an Ohio boy) and their need for “One Normal Night,” to bring their two contrasting families together.

Rixner: “I’m ecstatic and get more pumped each day the show goes by… the dancing and singing has improved so much,” he said. This show, according to him, will be great tech wise, because of the new light and sound system added to the auditorium.

Brady: She loves the show because, “The lead role is spread out over the students rather than one person.” This allows everyone to have the chance to shine in their own way. She also enjoys that “it’s a little quirky and creepy” and hopes the audience will enjoy it.

Come see The Addams Family on October 30-November 1 @ 7

Come see The Addams Family on October 30-November 1 @ 7

The success of the musical theater program at North has shown in the growth of numbers and the ability of the cast. Not only in singing, acting and dancing but the professionalism involved with performing.

The growth and commitment has shown because the program is attracting a wider general audience. Since the theater program already has a reputable department in putting on great shows, this adds to their list of accomplishments.

Rixner and Brady alike hold the students to the highest standard because they know what is expected of them and what they are capable of. This is why the pair has stepped up their game every year when it comes to choosing and directing shows.

The future of the program, as they both see it will continue to become more complex, music, dance, and tech wise. They encourage anyone and everyone to give it a shot and get on board to see what it’s really like to perform.

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