The throws of childhood often leave us believing our futures are filled with promise and success, and that all individuals we encounter will be positive guides on our journey to our ultimate aspirations. However, once thrown out into the daunting real world, we soon come to understand that the ease of youth is quickly lost and we must come to terms with the true difficulties of life. In Socorro High Schools Production of Avenue Q, commonly referred to as Sesame Street for adults, the audience was captivated by these lessons taught to them by puppet yielding actors and shockingly realistic songs.
The curtains open to reveal a colorfully abstract stage home to the sights and sounds of Avenue Q. Princeton, played by the talented Nolan Herbort, is quite literally the new kid on the block. He befriends the quirky couple of Asian foreigner, Christmas Eve, successfully brought to life by Jessica Fernandez, her husband, Brian (Raul Olivas), and most importantly Kate Monster, beautifully played by Sierra Galvan. Princeton soon comes to learn that he must find his purpose in life; however, his tricky relationship with his fellow tenants and the lovely Kate Monster often forces this journey to become muddled in the hardships of life.
Supported by the humorous and lovable Rod and Nicky (Ethan Barrera and Armando Veloz, respectively) who embody the vague relationship of two male roommates, and answer the questions many adults pose to Bert and Ernie, and the adorably logical Trekkie Monster (Raul Hernandez), the plot swiftly moved through the stages of adulthood. Through every up and down and every self-effacing question, not once did the actors lose touch with the other charachters/puppets.
While some actors remained in their natural form, many were brought to life with puppets, which were so meticulously and incredibly handled, the audience soon lost their initial connections with the actors, and began to fall in love with the puppets themselves. Herbort and Galvan successfully brought the lives of two seemingly unlucky individuals into perspective and forced the audience to feel more emotion for the puppet than for themselves.
The audience is first welcomed to Avenue Q with the gloriously truthful song It Sucks To Be Me and the shock value only increased from this point with hits such as If You Were Gay and Everyones A Little Bit Racist. Although the singing left a little to be desired, the production value and display of raw emotion and the comedic portrayal of very realistic and modern topics left the audience agreeing with every word that was sung.
Not only was the additional aspect of puppets in this large-scaled musical a daunting task, but the use of 10 wireless microphones, which were almost entirely successfully thanks to the efforts of Sound Technician Brisieda Rivera, and the seamless presentation of over 120 light cues, added to the technical complexity of the show. However, the eventful lives of the characters on stage were brought to life, and the audience was continually captivated by the ever-changing settings and lighting of the stage. Entirely student made, Avenue Q seemed to burst with color and uniqueness, which only added to the delight the actors brought.
Most high schools seldom delve into the intricacies of such a large and technically difficult production, but the valiant and successful efforts of the Socorro High School Teatristas, under the direction of Troy Herbort and Molly Alvarado, managed to adapt the hardships of life into a humorous and truthfully astounding musical that captivated the audience and allowed for a hopeful look into the intimidating future.
by Christina Severson of Montwood High School
Do you remember watching Sesame Street all the time as a kid? Well, get rid of all those precious memories because youre about jump into the peculiar world of Avenue Q!
Written by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx, this play is about what happens to puppets after theyre grown up. A freshly graduated puppet named Princeton wonders what hes going to do with his life and what his purpose is. He winds up on Avenue Q as friends and other puppets help him along the way.
Overall this production was outstanding and so fun to watch. The sets and lighting were almost Broadway material and supported the plot very well. Music cues with the pianist and singers were never off which allowed for such great and lively songs. The 4-person ensemble did well in adding volume to songs and anchoring the production.
Leading the musical was Nolan Herbort as Princeton; he did such a great job at keeping his energy up and being that lead character that the audience loves. He soon creates a love interest with the funny and relatable girl, Kate Monster (Sierra Galvan). These two had great and hilarious chemistry that kept the audience wanting more.
Avenue Q is full of weirdly unique puppets and people that must be appreciated. Two roommates that everyone can relate to with their constant fights and arguments are Nicky and Rod. These characters that do not what so ever relate to Bert and Ernie are portrayed by Armando Veloz and Ethan Barrera. Armando leaves you falling off your chair as he sings, If You Were Gay, to Rod. Then later Rod sings Fantasies Come True to Nicky believing that his roommate loves him back; the song leaves you heartbroken and so emotionally attached to these characters. You may know who Cookie Monster is but in this musical we meet Trekkie Monster. Played by Raul Hernandez, this Internet-obsessed monster can relate to many of us and was adored by the audience. An odd couple that Princeton meets is Brian and Christmas Eve (Jessica Fernandez). As normal couples go she berates Brian (Raul Olivas) around to get a job and bring home the bacon. Christmas Eve is a Japanese woman that always has jokes to
make the audience roar and was just amazing.
All technical aspects were outstanding as the musical flowed very smoothly with no pauses or long scene changes. An amazing effect was how beds and chairs were lowed down from the ceiling for the puppets to be on for certain scenes; Socorro really thought of everything as they were tall enough for actors to stay standing but their puppets were laying down or sitting.
Musicals are never an easy task to perform but for these actors they also had to maneuver a puppet! Major props go to them for singing, dancing, acting, and doing all of this while bringing a puppet to life. An amazing aspect that adds so much to this musical were the songs. It Sucks to Be Me was one of the first songs that really got the audience excited for what else there was to be seen as characters sang about their problems, comparing whose life sucked more. Then in Everyones A Little Bit Racist, they sang about how everyone has a bit of racism in them without even knowing it and this left the audience hysterical as jokes were thrown here and there. An unforgettable song has to be The Money Song as the characters need money for Kate Monsters school and break the forth wall to ask audience members for money!
This is definitely a show that Id love to see again. So if you ever stop by Avenue Q,, make sure to be ready for an unforgettable time.
by Christina Enriquez of Americas High School
Starring eight young and talented ladies, A Night in the Ukraine, - performed by the Angels in the Wings Theatre Company of Loretto Academy, directed by the musically talented Cody Ritchey - blew away the audience in one fell swoop. When Samovar needs money from Mrs. Pavlenkos dead husband, add in the two clowns, Carlo and Gino, along with the love-struck couple Nina and Constantine, youve got the audience falling out of their seats with laughter.
Performed in black and white, these actresses added their own color with their characters, with Carlo, (Eugenia Camacho) and Gino (Leanne Palisoc) running around causing bouts of mischief and laughter -whether chasing the house maid Sascha, or engaging in witty banter with Samovar (Rebecca Filetti) - these two were always going. Of course its hard to miss the facial gestures, smirks, frowns, wide eyes and smiles of Carlo as he plays the piano for various characters, or Ginos pantomiming and game of charades as he gets Carlo to understand what hes saying. Then throw in Samovar, and his breaking the fourth wall, as a sure way to get the audience laughing. Add the landlady Mrs. Pavlenko (Felicia Villalobos) and theres no end to the color! With the male voices well executed by all (and with a stupendous execution of a male singing voice of Constantine played by Karina Nanez) these ladies pulled off a tremendous performance playing male roles (and female roles as well).
Acting is nothing without the technical aspect of it all. Stage manager Gabriela Ramirez, and her tech crew - Victoria Almada, Katie Clanan, Gabby Macias, Casandra Soto, Paulina Reynosa, Madeline Brasgalla, Karina Montes, and Zoe Falvey - pulled off an amazing feat of a black and white theme, make-up and all! Not a single costume, set, or prop had a hint of color. A simple, yet crowded set on a small stage allowed the actresses to weave around with ease and fluidity. Costumes were spot on as was make up, with highlights in different shades of greys and using black as well. This tech crew did an excellent job.
These ladies are just hitting the tip of the iceberg of potential. They have a bright, bright future ahead of them! This one act play was impressive - well put together, well executed and an overall pleasure to view. A push, and they are on their way to stardom.
by Nicole Harrison of Coronado High School
"A Night in the Ukraine" performed by Loretto Academy easily transported the audience back in time to the 1930s with its array of talented actors. Originally presented as the second half to "A Day in Hollywood," "A Night in the Ukraine" is a plot presented in the style of a Marx Brothers movie.
The technical aspects of the show were kept simple which allowed for better plot and character development, and the music matched what the characters were doing almost perfectly. Sometimes the black and white make up that the actors were wearing would wipe off and smear, but that didnt seem to take away from the show, because the backstage crew always made sure it was fixed by the time the actor was back on stage. The set was beautiful, because it took us back to a black and white movie.
Samovar (Rebecca Filetti) caught the audiences attention and really carried the show. She created a humorous atmosphere which made the audience that much more drawn into the plot. Her body language added to the comedy of the show and helped tell the story more clearly, and every word that she said was perfectly articulated. In the song, Natasha, Filetti really showcased her abilities as far as singing and acting. This musical number captivated the audience and really showed us all the different sides of Samovar as a person.
The character Carlo (Eugenia Camacho) also brought life to the show with her unique characterization of an Italian. Camacho brought bouts of laughter to the audience with her over exaggerated facials and hilarious accent. Every time that Camacho approached the piano in any of the scenes, my eyes went directly to her. She never ceased to make the audience laugh with her expressions and body language.
Another incredible character was Gino (Leanne Palisoc). Although she didnt say a single word, Leanne managed to make the audience crack up. Her simple and clean movements allowed the audience to understand what she was doing and what was happening. These fine characters were accompanied with other talented individuals such as: Mrs. Pavlenko (Felicia Villalobos), Nina (Kaitlyn Jackson), and Constantine (Karina Nanez).
This production of "A Night in The Ukraine" was truly a masterpiece that captivated the audiences attention and didnt let it go. Every aspect of the show fit in perfectly like a puzzle and the gender switch was done almost flawlessly.
by Jessica Fernandez of Socorro High School
Sweeney Todd has returned to instill fear into the place he knows best; London. He returns for revenge on those who destroyed his perfect life long ago. With the assistance of his glimmering razors and Mrs. Lovett, he will get the vengeance he has waited for. So goes the tale of "Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street" performed by the El Dorado Theatre Society.
Sweeney is the story of Benjamin Barker, now Sweeney Todd, and his quest for retaliation against Judge Turpin. Turpin exiled Sweeney on false charge, raped his wife and took their newborn child.
Salvador Cervantes portrayed Sweeney Todd in an incredibly intelligent manner. His facial expressions, mannerisms, and line readings all provided for a wonderful execution of the disturbed, rage filled Todd. His vocals were equally impressive, creating unforgettable moments. The most outstanding being his realization that he had killed his wife, his raw reaction allowed one to enter his world. Mrs. Lovett played by Jordan Ocampo was truly a treat. Her accent was spot on and not once did it stray. Her vocals were phenomenal, creating tiny getaways. This was especially evident when singing "By The Sea." The chemistry shared between Todd and herself was highly enjoyable to watch. Both created such fun, real characters.
Other characters to note were Judge Turpin, Anthony Hope and Johanna. The three shared a great amount of energy and played off each other nicely. Each provided an essential element to their own conflict within the story. The cast shared great chemistry. The chorus, which played a variety of different choruses among the scenes added to the show's mystery and haunting. This was seen through "City On Fire," a song that truly frightened the audience in the best of ways.
The production was very tech heavy. From controlling several microphones, lights and projections, the technicians did a wonderful job of executing each cue. The set, props and costumes each fit perfectly. The make up, dark eyes and paled faces, was a wonderful addition to the feel of Sweeney Todd's grim and disturbed ways.
The El Dorado Theatre Society delivered a wonderful performance of Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. A round of applause to the actors and technicians alike.
by Denise Ortiz of Eastwood High School
A demonic barber, horrible pies, and many deaths summarize the dark and calamitous tale of Sweeney Todd the demon barber of Fleet Street. The El Dorado Theater Society took on the challenge of this complicated and intricate, but beautiful musical and created a wicked and eccentric atmosphere that depicted the story of Sweeney Todd very efficiently.
The musical Sweeney Todd the demon barber of Fleet Street was based on the play written by Christopher Bond. The magnificent music written by Stephen Sondheim tells the story of Benjamin Barker, a very successful barber in Victorian London, who was married to Lucy, a beautiful young woman, who bore him a lovely child named Johanna. Lusting after Lucy, a sadistic judge named Turpin wrongfully accuses Barker and sends him to prison in Australia so that he can have Lucy to himself. Fifteen years later, Barker, who has renamed himself Sweeney Todd, returns to London to seek revenge on Turpin by using his barber job to slit his throat. Below Todd's old barber shop is a meat pie shop run by Mrs. Lovett who is in love with Todd, who tells him that Lucy poisoned herself after being raped by Turpin, and that Johanna, now a young woman, is Turpin's ward. Johanna and a young sailor named Anthony Hope have fallen in love with each other, but cannot be together because of the obsessive Ju
dge. As the story continues Todd begins to kill people as he grows restless resulting in some interesting pies. By the end of the musical the truth is told concluding on a tragic and unfortunate tale.
The El Dorado Theater Society had amazing actors full of energy and talent in their cast. In the opening number the audience is intrigued and creeped out by the strong and eerie chorus members that dont waste any moment on stage building and developing their strange and spooky characters. The energy level raises as Sweeney Todd, played by Salvador Cervantes, jumps out of a body bag and shocks the audience with a marvelous and powerful voice and head full of voluptuous hair. Cervantes goes on throughout the whole show delivering amazing vocals and impressive acting filled with tense and touching moments that show off his talents in the best ways. Jordan Ocampo, who played Mrs. Lovett, glided through extremely complicated music gracefully and easily, sounded lovely and dazzling through the whole show. OcampoṀs performance was delightful and challenging, having to change from obsessive to loving mother to crazy lady who makes pies out of humans. Other actors such as Brandon Sal
gado, who played Anthony Hope, Alyssa Mireles, who played Johanna, and Emilie Rassmussen, who played the beggar women, all had superb singing and energy throughout the musical bringing in the perfect puzzle pieces to a great musical.
The technical aspects of the musical were admirable. With different locations throughout the musical, the El Dorado Theater Society cleverly built a rotating set that would intrigue the audience members by giving off the Victorian England setting and capturing all the needed locations. The lighting helped set the mood for the show, from ruby reds painting the stage when someone is about to be murdered to the vibrant greens that flooded the stage and set an eerie mood. The lighting was executed very well by Lacie Boholst. The sound was well done with just some minor problems with the music and microphones, but the problems were fixed as soon as possible and for a musical with multiple microphones and sounds cues it was very impressive how rapidly and smoothly they were resolved. Stage hands such as Carlos Rodriguez, Cody Gleen Gilmore, and Daniel Hertado would roll on and off the set and would be quick and alert when it came to timing and cues. This musical was very well execu
ted by Sara Minton who did a tremendous job at stage managing and cuing a very complicated show.
With such a complex and hard show, The El Dorado Theater Society did a wonderful portrayal of Sweeney Todd the demon barber of Fleet Street, that reminded the audience that nothing is stronger than the need for revenge or love and most importantly to always asks whats in a meat pie before you eat it.
by Alejandra Gonzalez of Eastwood High School
Anything can happen when you think Seuss; one minute you could be strolling alone and the next you could be in the cool of the pool in the Jungle of Nool. Eastlake High School performed a vibrant adaptation of Seussical filled with songs, dancing, and vibrant colors. The kind of whimsical style that can only be found in the fantastic world of Dr. Seuss.
Seussical is a wild ride with the characters from Dr. Seusss childrens books. Young Jojo is a seemingly ordinary girl when she meets The Cat in the Hat who takes her on an amazing trip using her imagination as her guide. Along the way they meet an ensemble of different characters including Horton the Elephant, the citizens of Nool, and the Whos from Whoville. Soon things go wrong and now all of the Whos are in danger and must prove they exist to the animals of Nool before its too late.
The production overall was adequate for a high schools first ever musical. I liked the scenery that was very vibrant and colorful as well as the lighting. The costumes were so bright and vibrant that it was easy to identify a certain character from the moment they walked on the stage. Multiple actors worked on this musical which was really impressing; it actually gives the appearance of a professional sort of show put on by these high school students.
Horton (Ah-kin Halterman) was a determined sort of character. He meant what he said and said what he meant, the actor was faithful to his character 100%. Horton the Elephant was always that character that most people can trust which is exactly what was shown here. Poor Horton was always taken advantage of no matter what the circumstances. Be it nearly boiling his friends in oil or having him sit on an egg through good weather or bad, even being sold to the circus for a million dollars.
The Cat in the Hat is normally a very zany character; I was pleased to see his personality carried out beautifully by Ty Vinson. He always was making some sort of comment on one event or another, even selling Horton at an auction. Another equally strange and perky character was Ms. Gertrude McFuzz (Natalie Garcia) who was always trying to get Horton's attention because she had an endearing crush on him. Though we all know that her love for an elephant is a bit outside of natures laws we still cant help but want these two to end up together.
The technical aspects of a show are externally important. The lighting did its job of helping to bring the story to life and skillful transition from one scene to the next. The sound was nice and brought the scenes in a whimsical fashion and brought with it a break from reality. It helped take the audience out of the theatre and from their daily lives and into the world that Dr. Seuss created. However, there were some problems concerning microphone packs and projection. Some characters' microphones kept falling off of the costumes. Some of the actors were a bit hard to hear at times.
I liked this musical overall from the sets, to the sounds, to actors short and tall. A persons a person, no matter how small.
by Kristian Rodriguez of Americas High School
When hearing small voices from a speck of dust, or being led around by a giant talking cat is no surprise. There is no question you are dealing with the works of the famous Dr. Seuss. Combining these stories guarantees a need to prepare for a grand adventure containing lessons thought with a hint of comedy.
Eastlake High Schools performance of Seussical Jr. created an exciting jamboree of some of Dr. Seuss most famous works. Following the adventures of Horton the Elephant (Ah-kin Halterman) being told through the imagination of Jojo (Brittany Pedregon), the audience was entranced by the world of Dr. Seuess, aides by the brilliant lighting and set design.
Each actor combined the known traits of the classic characters with a twist of their own style to create a modernized version of Dr. Seusss characters. As narrated by The Cat in the Hat (Ty Vinson), the story allowed for the audience to be taken back to their childhood and re-experience the silly rhymes of the inevitable Seuss. One actor who seemed to fully encompass their character and bring life to the stage was Natalie Garcia as Gertrude McFuzz. Garcias quirky personality brought energy to the story and had audience members rooting for her love story. At times some cast members lines were lost behind sound, many of the actors on stage were able to successfully balance vocals, choreography, and stage directions. The supporting roles such as Mayzie La Bird (Amanda Molix) were also able to create a strong stage presence along side the leads through comedic and musical elements.
With a show based on childrens books, one expects certain aspects to be carried over to sustain the slightly cartoonish presence that each story has. Set design encompassed the strange yet colorful worlds of Seuss while props and costuming gave the actors more concrete details to utilize in characterization. The use of lighting helped create a semi irregular world with bright coloring and strange figures. Using lights to broadcast silhouettes allowed for the stage to transform and certain areas to gain depth while still having the view of a cartoon. The stage members worked diligently to change scenes and worked well together to fix any setbacks throughout the production. Even with some slight complications, all of the technical aspects worked to aid the story line in flowing smoothly and understandably.
The cast and crew of this production proved their strengths by successfully creating a well-known world in a new fashion. The dedicated members of the Eastlake theatre put together a creatively relatable interpretation of the educational comedies of Dr. Seuss.
Directed by Beth Leffler, Seussical Jr. was a fulfilling project for everyone who had a part in putting together the schools first musical.
by Isela Ortiz of Montwood High School
Coronado's Thunder Theater's presentation of "Still Life with Iris" made me want to keep my coat on to make sure I didn't forget this performance! This was my first time seeing a Steven Dietz play. I loved the mystical land of Nocturno and how it's sights and sounds captivated the audience.
The actors in particular that always had me captivated were the Memory Mender played by Neale Smith and Grotto Good played by John Levick. Smith played his part as the wise tailor perfectly. He could always be heard and he was able to portray a wise, old man through the gruffness of his voice and his stance always being slightly hunch over. As for Levick his pompous aura was always spot on when he walked into the room with one shoe. His obnoxious loud voice, and straight stance made it clear to see he was the greatest of the goods. The actors worked well with their set to convey whatever land they were in.
The minimal set was able to keep the audience's imagination active, but it seemed they put a lot of work into what set pieces they did have. Throughout the play the one set piece that stayed on stage was the three gusts of wind, all painted magnificently on three pillars. This truly unified the show. A recurring motif in "Still Life with Iris" was the silent wind that knocked people over without any warning. The painted winds always kept the motif in the front of your mind. Along with the set the music helped the audience imagine the land of Nocturno and the Island of the Great Goods.
At times the sound was overbearing and drowned out the actors. But the music set the tone of the different places visited in the play perfectly. I felt light and comfortable while the song Fireflies played when we were in the land of Nocturno. The booming trumpets that sang out signaled Grotto and Gretta Goods extravagant entrance. What was also extravagant were the costumes.
This play called for intricate coats that held the memories of the citizens of Nocturno and Thunder Theater did not disappoint. Each character's coat clearly stated their occupation from the many buttons on the tailor's coat to the colorful flowers on the flower painter's coat.
Coronado Thunder Theater's rendition of "Still Life with Iris" was amazingly done and I can't wait to see how they tackle their next project Wild Strawberries.
by Leslie Guzman of Loretto Academy
With an objective play based on abstract metaphors and open to endless interpretations, there is the possibility of an incohesive and sometimes confusing production. This, however, was not the case for Coronado High Schools production of Still Life with Iris directed by Victoria Anderson. The cast and crew managed to create a stable and cohesive show that engaged the audience as the plot reached its climax.
Written by Steven Dietz, "Still Life with Iris" tells the story of a young girl who lives in a fantasy land known as Nocturno, where everything seen by day is made by night. The show carries a tone of whimsy, which was achieved by the use of instrumental music throughout the show.
The set design team and stage crew, Alvaro Callejas, John Levick, Paul Lepe and other Coronado students, used a minimalistic but effective set to create the fantasy land of Nocturno, Great Good Island, and all of their parts, changes in set were smooth in addition; each prop was clever and unique from the lightning to the coat of every individual in Nocturno.
The colorful plethora of costumes used in the production captured the aura of whimsy. The need for personalized coats, a costume for Mozart, and a pirate ensemble specific to Still Life with Iris was met by the costume supervisor and crew.
While the pronunciation, annunciation and greater emotion was left to be desired for specific lines, the cast developed each character well and for the most part managed to uphold that character for the majority of the show.
Grotto and Gretta Good (the rulers of Great Good Island), played by John Levick and Lauren Silva, provided comic relief through their outlandish and exaggerated action. They chose these frivolous personalities for their characters and upheld them with their voices and motions. The two brought great energy to each of their scenes while still providing the plot with a dark undertone.
Every character in the show was crucial and played well, and every actor brought their own presence to the stage. Captain Also, played by Alex Santana, captured the feeling of being forgotten and portrayed that with a witty presence.
Overall, Coronado High schools production of "Still Life with Iris" was a brilliant combination of abstract and concrete. The cast and crew captured the whimsy and fantasy associated with a make-believe world and still kept the audience engaged.
by Felicia Villalobos of Loretto Academy
Picture this: a cold winter night, ten people in a house filled with secret passageways, and a murder mystery like no other. Eastwood High Schools The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940 is filled with nonstop laughs and a new twist at every corner that leaves the audience wondering who is the real killer?
The play follows the story of a creative team attempting to write and audition for a musical comedy, but things go sour when death strikes not once, not twice, but three times in the house. Between each death, we see the group of characters find new clues, reveal secret passages, and go through a wild goose chase trying to find the true murder of the night, and yet, is there more than one criminal?
Marisa Yañez portrayed the beautiful and hopeful actress Nikki Crandall that shows little fear in wake of the murders occurring. She, along with the hero comedian Eddie Mccuen (Matthew Cubillos), worked splendidly together to show the chemistry between the two characters. Eddies sometimes oblivious and scaredy cat personality paired off well with Nikkis strong, dominant character keeping the audience entranced from the very beginning. Ryan Ortegon and Nicole McIntyre had the audience roaring in laughter from beginning to end with their characters of Roger Hopewell and Bernice Roth. Nicoles subtle movements and reactions combined with her large alcohol problem and fear of dying had all eyes on her, while Ryan portrayed the gay Roger who worked alongside Bernice and took care of her throughout the night.
Ainsley Bowar brought the maid Helsa Wensel to life. Her actions, her accent, her attitude, and her ability to stay in character through out the whole play left a huge impression. Ainsleys german accent was spot on and her cheeky attitude towards all the characters was stupendous. The entire Eastwood cast worked marvelously together. Their conversations flowed without pause and the interaction between them all was very natural making it easy for the audience to follow the play.
The shows set and technical aspects brought the audience into the year 1940. The set was filled with secret doorways that, when paired with the techs, opened perfectly on time. Transitions between scenes were done with a full blackout that added to the suspense and mystery of the play and left the audience wondering what would happen next? Hair and makeup of the actors truly portrayed the 40s with the victory rolls and cleanness of the cuts.
From start to finish, the Eastwood High School cast and crew performed a hilarious and suspenseful play in The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. The acting, the set, makeup, and sound came all together to keep the audience laughing and well entertained in this fast paced plot.
by Carolina DeSantiago of El Dorado High School
The formidable, cunning forces of evil often find security in the mysterious darkness, lurking behind satin curtains, dwelling within misleading trap doors, and even hiding inside of a maid’s uniform complete with a blonde wig. In Eastwood High School’s main stage production, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” by John Bishop, mayhem ensues within a New York mansion when a seemingly innocent backer’s audition quickly proves to be a humorously suspenseful death trap for all that are snowed inside of Elsa Von Grossenknueten’s rose-colored walls.
At the height of the classic “musicals” era, a team of writers and performers gather in Elsa’s lavish Westchester residence to develop the newest musical directed by Ken De La Maize, a hotshot theatre fanatic with a big Hollywood name. Ken, along with his creative company, is attempting to forget the past tragedy of his last production, where three chorus girls were strangely murdered by the elusive “Stage Door Slasher.” As history begins to repeat itself in a hilariously coincidental manner, members of the company are swiftly stabbed, knocked unconscious, and concealed inside of Grossenkneuten’s secret labyrinth. With fast-paced comedy and an array of eccentric characters, this comedy took audiences for an equally funny and shocking journey into a satirical old-Hollywood murder mystery.
Eddie McCuen and Nikki Crandall, portrayed by Matthew Cubillos and Marisa Yañez respectively, shared a pure and playful type of chemistry, creating enjoyable contrast between the clueless comic and the brave undercover agent. Crowd favorite Roger Hopewell (Ryan Ortegon) provided countless uproars of laughter with his perfectly timed punch lines and unmistakable stage presence, which Nicole McIntyre as the alcohol-fueled Bernice Roth impressively displayed as well with brilliant aloofness and versatility. Ainsley Bowar as Helsa Wenzel and Alec Gallardo as Ken De La Maize created cohesive mischief and noteworthy changes of heart, nailing the production's crucial elements of surprise and mystery. Some characters lost their foreign accents at times but they were able to quickly recover, exhibiting keen skill. Other standout performers included Nichole Hardgrove and Denise Ortiz, who along with the rest of the cast effortlessly maintained the high energy and slapstick aspects necessary for this production.
Timing is essential in a show of this caliber, not only from the performers but from the technicians, who executed all cues with precision and fluidity. Stage Manager Jordan Gallardo facilitated this technical success, overseeing the attentive light and sound operators (Alejandra Gonzalez and Luis Loya) as well as the stagehands responsible for opening each secret nook and cranny. Enhancing the actors’ larger than life personalities were their time appropriate costumes, beautifully fitting, bright, and flamboyant to suit each particular character. Technical Director Noelle Mullenix and her set construction team accomplished impressive feats with the upscale mansion’s detailed interior complete with authentic décor, weaponry, and unexpected trap doors, definitely a location where “Nancy Drew would be in seventh heaven.”
In the words of Ken De La Maize, “theater is nothing more or less than life distilled to the pure clear ring of truth.” Eastwood Theatre demonstrated nothing short of true comedic genius and clean timing that made for a remarkable showcase of Trooper talent. Directed by Larissa Rollins, “The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940” kept audiences uncontrollably laughing at the edge of their seats during this commendable performance perfect for Halloween weekend.
by Rafael Flores of Montwood High School
Newly wed, just moved into a new apartment, and already theres crazy neighbors, a hole in the roof, a closet for a bedroom, and dont forget the five flights and a stoop to get up there! This is the world of "Barefoot in the Park" by Niel Simon and was recently brought to the stage by Bel Air High School.
"Barefoot in the Park" involves a newlywed couple, Paul and Corrie Bratter, moving into their new home, a rundown apartment on the top floor of a New York building. Only six days after marrying, the Bratters learn to cope and enjoy with a new life of settling down in their new home, and with each other too.
The plays characters were quite the comic troupe with colorful characters being appropriately put on stage by the cast. With amusing gags and great timing, the cast definitely made the audience laugh with good use of the stage and good usage of each other as the cast builds on each other to create a quite satisfactory production.
The Bratters (Maximiliano Torres and Delilah Gonzalez) were performed well with an honest energy of a couple in love. Delilah Gonzalezs performance of a free spirit was heartfelt and innocent as she flowed across the stage in joy and wonder. You would understand this character would walk barefoot in the park. Maximiliano Torres was a riot for his comical interpretation of Paul Bratter with an edge of sharp sarcasm and great silent expressions as he realizes all the craziness before him. Torres, with rigid but purposeful movements, that truly conveyed the character of a working man. Torres performed this aspect out while still keeping true to the comedy and reality of his persona. Also, he makes a great drunk. Just with only a few moments being of over the top, the couple had great chemistry overall that connects.
The supporting cast performed solidly with Victor Velascos character performed by Pedro Ceniceros, and Cories mother (Rosa Zaragoza) being delightfully brought on stage with their own quirks and personality that works well with the rest of the cast. Rosa was especially sweet with her interpretation and lovable as she brings her life to character. Victor was well done with his mysterious air. The accent was difficult to understand at times, but the actions and choreography of Pedro Ceniceros movement with other characters made the characters intentions clear. Cameos by the repair men, played by Miguel Escontrias and Matthew Rendon, were a delight in their played out awkwardness and cheekiness.
The set was a great realization and the cast used every part of it well. It brought to life the actual apartment with all the necessities of an apartment being used well by the cast. The props, like real food and other items, and costumes that set a real world for the characters to interact in comically.
Bel Airs High School production of "Barefoot in the Park" was an amusing comical fest with lovable characters and good comedic payoffs that is worth the price of admittance and then some.
by Neale Smith of Coronado High School
The play that I will be critiqing is called "Barefoot in the Park," written by Neil Simon. The play was directed by Maria Hart. Corie Bratter and Paul Bratter are newlyweds. For their first home, they live in an apartment on the top floor of a Brownstone in New York City. During the course of four days, the couple learn to live as a "couple" while facing the usual daily ups-and-downs. Corrie wants Paul to become more easy-going, to, for example, run "barefoot in the park.
The acting in this play was electric. For example, Paul Bratter (Maximilliano Torres), the down-to-earth newlywed lawyer, was played to his full extent. He was shown to not only be capable of looking like an everyday lawyer, but he is also capable of making the entire audience laugh with subtle, and not-so-subtle, actions. Then there was Victor Velasco (Pedro Ceniceros), the strange upstairs neighbor with exotic tastes. He was also someone who was played with much enthusiasm and zeal. His time on the stage was full of humor, mainly through his laid back attitude things that should demand stress. An overall critique I would provide, however, is that I couldnt hear a few of the actors on the stage. But this didnt distract from the show too much.
The tech in this show was actually quite refreshing to look at. Time and time again, I dont see the stage used to its full potential. This set enveloped the entire stage, and I didnt see a single space that wasnt used to its fullest. The costumes looked on point, and accurate for the sixties era. The sound was a bit iffy at times, and it seemed like they played a few cues too early or too late, but this didnt effect the actors noticeably. The makeup looked great, especially the age makeup with Velasco and Mrs. Banks. I enjoyed the stage management of the whole thing. They were almost a set-moving machine.
This show was a fun time for all involved, actors and audience members alike. Everyone involved had a handle on what they were doing, and thats something you dont see in many high school productions.
by John Levick of Coronado High School
Humor. Death. Misfortune. Fate. Love. These things can only all come together beautifully in Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet to be precise and El Dorado tackled this production in an unusual but lively way.
Romeo and Juliet is a tragic love story about what love can do. Written by Shakespeare in the 1590s, the play is set in Italy where two households have a deep hatred for one another, the Capulets and the Montagues. A young girl named Juliet falls in love with a Montague boy named Romeo. Their love is forbidden which only increases their desire for one another.
This production was simplistically great. A deconstructive theatre technique was used which calls for a basic set and plain costuming. The style gave the opportunity to focus more on the dialogue, which can be confusing being that it is Shakespeare. Many actors did a great job of creating a strong presence and character.
Much of the acting in the play was amazing. The iconic character of Romeo, Brandon Salgado, was portrayed with such passion and purpose. I caught myself getting lost in his emotional monologues and powerful presence as he led the story effortlessly. Then Romeo’s close friend, Mercutio, was sensational and such a joy to watch on stage. This role played by Kaylynne Brandon brought so much humor and life in between serious scenes and throughout the whole show. She was very committed and went all out with each of her actions making her lines better depicted. I couldn’t keep my eyes off her as she stole the show every time she was on stage.
In this particular play the supporting actors do a lot and really can make or break the show. An example would be Emilie Rasmussen who played Sampson and Peter, men of Capulet. Every time she was onstage her presence was known and very humorous. Even if she was in the background the little things she did really contributed to establishing her silly and clumsy character. Then Lady Capulet, played by Vivian Miller, did very well in terms of what it’s really like to be a mother. Sergio Ornelas who portrayed Benvolio, Romeo’s cousin and friend, did very well in dramatic scenes, but had amazing and lively moments. One of these moments was when a drunk Benvolio and Mercutio search for and tease Romeo. Their intoxicated behavior was so real that I forgot that this was a play and felt I was in that scene in that moment.
The technical aspects were not huge and bold but the little they did worked well. A one piece set was cleverly used in some scenes, such as giving dimension, but in others not so much. A nice touch was projected scenery that quickly indicated clear locations. With the simple costumes you missed the great renaissance era details but this allowed for great clarity as all actors were in black and had blue or red masks to differentiate Montagues from Capulets.
Romeo and Juliet is a difficult classic to portray and El Dorado did a refreshingly great job.
by Christina Enriquez of Americas High School
“My only love sprung from my only hate!” an interesting tale to behold. El Dorado High School's production of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet tells the story of two teenagers falling in love, only this is no ordinary love story. Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet are enemies by name and their families can’t stand the sight of each other. By fate they meet and fall in love and proceed to get married. As things get more complicated they proceed to end their lives as one cannot live without the other.
El Dorado High School took this classic tale and “deconstructed” the show in order to focus on the story and its meaning instead of its era. And this was magnificently executed. The masks created by cast allowed Romeo and Juliet to shine and showed the audience a new meaning to this classic tale.
Brandon Salgado portrayed Romeo in a new and creative way. Simple gestures, feeling and movements brought the best out of Romeo’s long monologues. The emotion brought forth by Salgado could be felt every time he was out on stage. Jordon Ocampo portrayed the lovable and naïve Juliet strikingly well. Simple movements and actions allowed the audience to feel what she was experiencing for the first time alongside her. One couldn’t help but feel her pain as she took her life alongside her love Romeo.
Kaylynne Brandon brought Mercutio to life. Her actions, her emotions, her gestures demanded attention on stage and made a memorable character. Her Queen Mab monologue was executed stunningly well and was memorable. The Nurse portrayed by Emily Sierra had the audience roaring with laughter. Her comedic gestures added to the show and made a mother out of all of us. Aiyana Phillips brought new meaning to Friar Lawrence. Her emotions really shined through especially when she was convincing Romeo to stop being a cry baby and accept his banishment. Although some lines seemed lost and mumbled, the cast worked hard to bring the work of Shakespeare to life. The cast had great energy but it seemed to fade, but their chemistry could be felt throughout the whole show.
The show's set really enhanced the play. The projected images took you to actual places in Verona, although at moments it was distracting, it overall made the show more realistic. The lighting of the show enhanced the mood present. The red lights used to signify death made it prominent that that was occurring. The costumes were simple and to the point. The black attire really enhanced the use of the masks. These masks represented who everyone was and made it easy to tell who was who especially with so many important characters present.
El Dorado’s production or Romeo and Juliet left everyone with a new meaning to this classic love story. Who knows maybe you’ll soon find your Romeo or Juliet?
by Daniela Hernandez of Americas High School
Contemporary works have changed the way most people think of musical theatre. New musicals are modernizing the broadway world both thematically and artistically, from the style of music to the plot’s subject. However, Montwood High School’s Emerald Players have taken it back to a classic broadway feel, refreshing us with the 1962 Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Before the curtain is drawn open, we are introduced to our ambitious protagonist, Pierrepont Finch played by Rafael Flores. He is an average blue-collar worker who is hoping to make it big in corporate America with the help of his new book: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Suddenly the curtains are pulled and the audience is introduced to a world of suits and ties.
We follow Finch on his journey to the top of the food chain as he learns “The Company Way.” With the help of his book, he schemes and executes cheeky plans, which are mostly untrustworthy. However, Rafael Flores does an excellent job of continuing to steal our hearts and keeping the audience on his side, rooting for him to the end.
This musical, directed by Evanie Gamboa, includes a plethora of memorable characters such as the boisterous Hedy La Rue played by Genesis Hernandez and the rib-tickling Bud Frump played by Christian Barrio. The actors threw energy to each other on-stage and into the audience, filling the auditorium with spirit and laughter. The energy was even felt strongly throughout the incredibly responsive ensemble who never gave up on their amusing facial expressions.
In addition, the movement and speed of the tech crew was very impressive. Every member seemed to have a job which was executed in perfect timing, especially when it came to lighting, sound, and scene transitions.
Moreover, the production includes appealing details such as the uniform rosy cheeks and the 1960’s style costumes. It also includes jaw-dropping choreography by Robin Bonilla and pleasant vocals from cast members such as Luis Perea and Markie Condra. Overall, this cast and crew definitely succeeded.
by Rebecca Filetti of Loretto Academy
This past weekend exceeded all expectations and pushed all boundaries in the musical event of the season: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. Featuring an amazing ensemble, beautiful voices and creative handwriting, the Emerald Players leave the audience hanging on for some more.
Led by Rafael Flores as the ambitious Pierrepont Finch, the story follows Finch on his journey going upward on the social ladder. From the moment he walks up into the stage, Flores captivates the audience with his endless charm and charisma. He went beyond all expectations and he owned that stage from beginning to end. Throughout his journey his love interest Rosemary Pilkington, portrayed by an enchanting Aliya Gardea, struggles to capture his eye. Gardea’s beauty brings out the simple elegance behind a woman in that time period and captivates the audience with her longing for Finch. Among several standouts are Joseph Fernandez, Cristian Barrio and Genesis Hernandez who portray J.B. Biggley, Bud Frump and Hedy La Rue are the comedic relief throughout the performance and never fail to make the audience laugh.
The musical performances and its choreography were, by far, the most exhilarating and beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Numbers such as “Coffee Break,” “A Secretary is Not a Toy” and “Brotherhood of Man” perfectly showcased the will and the ability the talented ensemble had to offer. Every step synchronized, every note held, everything was brilliant. Cheers to Robin Bonilla & Itzel Nevarez for creating such memorable moments in this already beautiful show.
Although the set itself looked rather simple it transformed into something more complex and beautiful at the end of each scene. Occasionally there would be some failures with sound effects that would be fixed almost at once. The lighting effects were mesmerizing. The crew’s hard work paid off, the created a beautiful set and everything ran smoothly.
From start to finish, the Emerald Players performed a beautiful work of art in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying effortlessly. Everything was spot-on and beautiful and resembled an actual Broadway show. Cheers to Evanie Gamboa and Christina Severson for managing an intricate and beautiful performance. For those who didn’t get to see a masterpiece, you missed one heck of a show.
by Jose Luis De Anda of Eastwood High School
So, let the show begin!