High school musical pushes boundaries


Photo by: Vanessa Braun

Chicago cast poses in costume on set with crew and orchestra.

Allison Wank, guest writer

Mayfield High School chose to perform a fall musical with a more adult tone, “Chicago.”

School principal, Jeff Legan, was a fan of the idea from the start. “I love Chicago. I know that we always do kind of a Disney theme, but it was nice to do something different,” he said. 

He believes that by doing the musical, we put a focus on the arts. He said, “I think that we have to be able to emphasize the arts more, and it just shows what well-rounded kids we have in this community.” 

Legan had a good feeling about the show all because of the director in charge, Larry Braun. “I trust Larry. He is such a talented and passionate man, and as soon as he brought this up to me, I didn’t even second guess it,” the principal said.

Director Larry Braun feels this wouldn’t have been possible without Legan’s help. “I approached [Legan] saying ‘Hey our production staff would like to do a fall musical instead of a fall play what do you think?’ and he said ‘absolutely tell me what you need’,” Braun said. 

This kind of musical is different from what the school and their audiences are used to seeing. Braun said, “We pretty much have done what I’ll call family-friendly shows in, this is my eleventh year, so in 11 years it’s almost always been a family-friendly show.”

Braun did not find it so easy to put on a show like this though. He said, “Trying to stay age-appropriate with the choreography with even like Broadway, it’s very very sensual and over the top… it was the most difficult part.” 

Staying true and clean was really a difficult goal for Braun to reach. He said, “The concept [with costumes] was to maintain the black and the bling but get it to be age-appropriate, so [as you saw] we [had] everybody in either pants or shorts or a skirt and no stomachs are showing ,and I feel that it’s age-appropriate.”

However, Braun decided not to change a thing about the script he bought. He said, “The show is already altered to be ‘Chicago: High School Edition’. They took out numbers like “Class”, which is a song between Mama and Velma with some questionable lyrics. They have changed some of the lyrics and removed some dialogue.”

Even with the toned-down nature, the show amazed audiences. Legan said, “I loved it! I left raving about everything that I saw.”

Students were also pretty impressed with the tone of the show. Mary Sunshine actor Lauren Barnes said, “I was excited to do a show that was going to challenge social norms and break barriers and be controversial.”

She had little concerns due to the show’s theme, but still was thrilled. She said, “but it was almost too controversial for a high school but I think it was still really cool to do and I’m really excited that I ended up doing it.”