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The Pirate's Eye

The Student News Site of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

The Pirate's Eye

The Student News Site of West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South

The Pirate's Eye

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A window into show business: “A Chorus Line”

     As the black curtains opened, the stage flooded with colorful dance costumes, revealing various performers dancing and spinning in synchrony. All audience members sat back for an evening of entertainment. 

     From Feb. 29 to March 2, the New Theater transformed into a 1975 Broadway dance studio as South theater performed the nine-time, Tony Award-winning musical, “A Chorus Line.” This musical follows 17 dancers as they audition for eight spots on Broadway’s “chorus line,” a dance ensemble. 

     “The whole show itself, the premise of it is us auditioning,” said Emily Kim (‘25), who plays Kristine, one of the 17 dancers who audition to be part of the chorus line. 

     For most of the musical the cast is standing in a line, stage front, taking turns auditioning for the Broadway director. This year’s musical was carefully chosen to complement the skill of those in the theater program. 

     “You always have to consider your talent,” said Ms. Marilyn Stoddard, the musical’s Director. 

     “You have to consider vocal parts, dance ability. And I just thought that this was a good year, considering all the talent that we have.”      

     With the help of the stage and lighting crew, the cast showed the relentless effort required to be a stage-worthy artist in ways that pulled at the audience’s heart strings and left their stomachs aching from laughter. 

     During their auditions, the characters tell their life story in different forms such as through singing, dancing, or monologues. 

From left to right: Risako Ueda (‘26), Raavi Agrawal (‘27), Sohiko Okamoto (‘27), Gurneel Batra (‘26), Kyra Rubenstein (‘25), Sophia Kravets (‘24), Emily Kim (‘26), Shray Sharma (‘25), Zayn Rezvi (‘27), Surmai Agrawal (‘24), Tarun Yanamandra (‘24), Hannah Shue (‘26), and Emre Celik (‘27) after the performance of “Sing!” PHOTO BY MR. MICHAEL NOVAK

      Kristine’s audition in the first half of the show took the form of a dance number.   

    “She’s a very nervous, shy character, but she can’t sing. That’s one of her flaws,” said Kim. 

     In her performance of the song “Sing!” Kim used intentionally off-key notes and in her dialogues a wavering voice to capture Kristine’s hard working yet anxious demeanor in a humorous manner. 

     In the second half of the show, Paul San Marco, played by Matthew Contes (‘25), told his life story through a monologue. Contes captured De Marco’s struggle of being a homosexual during the 1950s. As Contes inched forward across the stage emphasizing and pausing at each important phrase of his monologue, he delivered his lines in a way that ended with both him and the audience in tears.

Matthew Contes (‘25) as Paul San Marco. PHOTO BY MR. MICHAEL NOVAK

       “At the end of Matthew’s monologue you could sense the way his words had impacted everyone in the theater,” said Riana Fazir (‘25), an audience member on opening night.      

     As Contes exited the stage after his masterly performance, the audience erupted in a loud round of applause. 

    With so many performances focused on the actors, the set and lighting crew needed to support their skills, without taking away the spotlight. 

    “I always want the focus to be on the actors,” said Ms. Stoddard. “The set I feel is support, but not the focal point of the show.”

    The set construction crew designed floor to ceiling mirrors and barres on the bare stage to recreate a Broadway dance studio. 

    Often, the audience doesn’t see the work the stage crew does in the back of the theater to enhance the cast’s performance. The catwalk is an elevated platform at the back of the auditorium where there are sound and lighting boards the stage crew uses during the performance to deliver special effects. From the catwalk the lighting crew has a difficult job of delivering unique lighting cues for each of the performers.

     “This time there were around 13 main characters and during their introduction there was a different type of lighting for each one,” said Mrithiga Senthil (‘25), Junior Officer for lighting.

     For each lighting change, the lighting crew has to note down the part of the script the cue takes place, transfer the notes into the script they have in the catwalk, and then program it into the lighting board. The lighting crew mainly begins working with the cast during tech week, the time when intense rehearsals take place with the pit band, costumes, sets, sound and lighting. 

     “During tech week when we begin full run-throughs of the show, it is amazing to see how everything– the lights, costumes, and sets– come together, “ said Director’s Assistant Mia Long (‘25). “Once show day approaches, being able to see the outcome of our hard work is a great experience” 

     At the show, the audience would often hear Zach telling the auditioners to “open up” and share their stories.  “A Chorus Line” was not only a musical where each character opened their hearts to tell their story, but one where the audience’s eyes were opened to the struggles and hard work artists have to endure to succeed. This musical created a newfound appreciation for artists everywhere, and especially an appreciation for the immense amount of talent in South theater.

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    Edwin DiazApr 26, 2024 at 11:27 am

    Many Blessings to the entire cast crew, and as GOD Father aka uncle of Matthew Contes, Im so proud of you nephew. May the lord continue to bless your beautiful heart ❤️ love you always

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