Polytech jazzes it up with ‘Chicago’ musical

In one of two casts for Polytech High School’s production of “Chicago: High School Edition,” from left, Emmalee Rodweller plays Velma Kelly, Chandler Robinson is Mama Morton, Kyle Venarchick plays Billy Flynn and Madison Kibler portrays Roxie Hart. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

WOODSIDE — Through scandal, jazzy numbers and the glitz and glam of the 1920s, Polytech High School’s “Chicago: High School Edition” will take audiences back to a bygone time.

The school’s drama club will stage the show in its auditorium March 8 at 7 p.m., March 9 at 2 and 7 p.m. and March 10 at 2 p.m.

“Chicago: High School Edition” is a high school age-appropriate version of the Broadway and movie version of the show “Chicago”

The story develops during the late 1920s in the Windy City and begins with Roxie Hart shooting her boyfriend, Fred Casely.

Roxie is a sneaky and scandalous character who will do just about anything for the public’s attention.

Following the murder, she convinces her husband, Amos Hart, to cover for her. Mr. Hart being a clueless, desperately loving husband, makes a perfect pawn in Roxie’s deceptive plan to fame. But when he realizes the truth behind Roxie and Fred, Mr. Hart turns against his wife and she is brought to the Cook County Jail.

Cast members of Polytech High School’s production of “Chicago: High School Edition” include, from left, Calysta Eashus, Jordyn Jacobson, Serenity Henderson, Tristan Gayloard, Zaire Clark, Mika Cromptoa and Rosalia Corprey. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

The roughneck jail matron, Mama Morton, introduces Roxie to the top-notch lawyer, Billy Flynn, and Roxie convinces Amos to foot the costly bill.

Billy Flynn is a suave and strongly sought-after lawyer, the best of the best when it comes to keeping his clients out of prison.

“Everyone wants him to represent them because he’s never lost a case,” said Kyle Venarchick, who plays Billy Flynn in the Friday and Sunday showings.

“He just has this certain charm to him that makes him special,”

The grand finale of the show is determined by the uncertain verdict of the trial.

Since mid-January, members of the cast and pit band have been working to know the story more in-depth. Polytech’s band director and voice coach, Max Dabby and Kevin Chamberlain, respectively, have worked hard with the band and cast to make each showing one to remember.

Some of the lead actors found it challenging to step outside of themselves in order to wholly commit to the character.

“In a way, I feel like I can understand her yearning for being on stage … but the moral side of her murdering somebody for the spotlight is so wrong,” said Madison Kibler, who will play Roxie Hart on March 8 and 10.

Brandon Alper, playing Amos Hart on March 9, has a different take on his character.

“I cannot relate to him whatsoever. It’s been interesting trying to do this part because I feel like it solidifies me being a decent actor,” Brandon said.

The actors have been rehearsing every day from 3:15 to 5:30 p.m. since Jan. 14. As time went on, rehearsing had its ups and downs.

“Rehearsals have been going pretty well. There’s a lot of conflict in the fact that there’s two casts,” said Sarah Price, who plays Roxie in the Friday and Saturday shows.

“Overall, it’s been a lot of fun and we’re grateful to have two casts.”

In a second cast, Sarah Price is Roxie Hart and Conner Davis is Billy Flynn. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

Director Bernadette DeLong is impressed and grateful for the cast members’ effort to make the show what it will be.

“They wow me. They absolutely wow me,” said Ms. DeLong, who has been in the arts throughout most of her life, including 25 years in children’s theater.

“You take words on paper, and the actors just breathe life into it. They make it all come alive.”

Rounding out the March 8 and 10 cast is Nick Thompson as Amos Hart, Emmalee Rodweller as Velma, Christian LaBonte as Fred Casely and Chandler Robinson as Mama Morton.

In the March 9 cast is Sarah Price as Roxie Hart, Connor Davis as Billy Flynn, Cynthia Acevedo as Velma, Chisian Wachira as Fred Casely and Sarah Jenney as Mama Morton.

Tickets for the show are $15 and they can be purchased at PolytechPanthers.com.

Cynthia Acevedo as Velma Kelly sings “All That Jazz” accompanied by backup dancers. The show runs March 8 to 10. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

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