Photo by Mr. Blair
Chicago: Two Cappies Reviews Highlight Best Moments in Dazzling Musical
May 10, 2019
Below we have two reviews from members of The Cappies, a Critics and Awards Program for high school students. Wakefield was honored to have The Cappies members review their Opening night performance of Chicago! Tonight and Saturday (5/10 and 5/11) at 7pm are the FINAL shows of this musical, Adults are $15 and Students are $10.
You must see it this weekend, or hear about all the funny moments you missed next week in class.
Chicago (High School Edition): Wakefield Players are Impressive
The 1920s Jazz Age was a crowning era for vaudeville acts, flapper girls, alcohol consumption, and of course, murder. The 1975 hit musical Chicago follows Roxie Hart through her experience on Cook County Jail’s death row, and more important to Roxie, her dreams of getting her own vaudeville act. Eventually, through the help of her nemesis Velma Kelly and sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn, Roxie and Velma walk free and finally get their act.
Chicago is known for its iconic choreography and vaudeville-inspired structure, but Wakefield High School’s production stood out from the rest with its vocally talented actors, precise dance numbers, and strong sense of character from the main cast.
Samantha Rios (Roxie Hart) stole the show with her powerhouse vocals and dazzling stage presence. She brought commitment and talent to every aspect of the role, from her strong dancing and singing talent to her great comedic timing.
Comedy was a strength in Wakefield’s production, as demonstrated by the hilarious Xavier Molina as Billy Flynn, who brought his own great qualities to the iconic character, and Gidget Shirley (Mary Sunshine), whose hilarious falsetto fit in perfectly with the playful style of the show.
Other standout moments came from Jason McPhee (Fred Casely) backflipping across the stage during the courtroom scene and cell block tango dancer Kayla Fluitt opening the show with her powerful silhouette.
The various ensembles in the show were particularly impressive for their grasp on challenging dance moves, impeccably timed blocking, and use of complicated sets and props. In “We Both Reached for the Gun,” the reporter ensemble stood out for handling ventriloquist-inspired choreography with talent and ease. The use of props, from canes to hats and other accessories, also matched the show’s unique style and served to enhance the performance.
Wakefield’s Chicago was a must-see show for the cast and crew’s ability to deliver a fresh take on an iconic musical.
Chicago (High School Edition) at Professional Level
Wakefield High School is going to be the “name on everybody’s lips” with their performance of Chicago. This dazzling 1920’s murder musical was hit with a blast of 21st-century flare by the entire Wakefield cast. The story of murder mistresses, Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, turned celebrity hot-shots is one of deceit lust guilt and vengeance, and though their crimes may be horrendous, this show is anything but that.
We follow the story of Roxie Hart (Samantha Rios) the discontent wife of the neglected mechanic, Amos Hart (Oliver Gaither). Roxie desires nothing more than to see her name in lights. After finding herself under unfortunate circumstances and nearly facing a lifetime behind bars, Roxie seeks help from the illustrious lawyer Billy Flynn (Xavier Molina) who promises fame and fortune to all of his clients with scandalous cases. In fact, his previous client Velma Kelly (Xitlalli Dawson) is in the same cell block as Roxie and a rivalry sparks right away.
Molina, Rios, and Dawson give fantastic performances and complement each other wonderfully. Standout songs from these three, include “All That Jazz,” “All I Care About is Love,” and “Nowadays.” Their vocal abilities were phenomenal and with the added element of dance, audiences were able to see the immense talent from all these young people. Oliver Gaither as the pitied and forgotten Amos Hart and Gidget Shirley as lead reporter Mary Sunshine delivered hilarious performances and great portrayals of their characters as well.
The dance performances, especially in the numbers “We Both Reached for the Gun” and “Cell Block Tango” were stand out and incorporated high-stakes stunts and elaborate choreography. The props and setting transitions contribute to the story without overwhelming viewers. The simplistic set enhanced the imagination that viewers must use. The tech department did a great job of keeping things running smoothly with few errors.
This is a show audience would not want to miss. The talent at Wakefield was incredible and this production was at a professional level. The world of Chicago was brought to life before the audience’s eyes. The story was captivating exciting and left viewers wanting to see more from the vaudeville style.