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Timberline showcases ‘All that jazz’ with rendition of Chicago musical

High school production focuses less on innuendos, profanity than Broadway counterpart
Tara Moon, left, and Charlotte Mark star as Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly in Timberline High’s rendition of the musical ‘Chicago, set to debut Mar. 10. Photo Edward Hitchins/Campbell River Mirror

Preparations and rehearsals are well underway for Timberline Musical Theatre, as this year they will showcase an adaptation of the musical ‘Chicago’.

Based on the exploits of real-life criminals which were characterized by reporter Maurine Dallas Wakins in 1926, the 1975 musical was famously adapted to the screen in 2002, starring Richard Gere, Queen Latifah, Catherine Zeta Jones, Renee Zellweger and it won six Academy Awards the following year, including best picture.

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“We do a production every year. The students get a credit for it,” said drama teacher and play director Jana McFarlane. “We’ve been working since October. Everybody is kind of excited as opening night approaches.”

As with previous productions, donations for the program can be made to the school’s musical theatre program. Each lead in the play express some anxiousness, and nerves as the first curtain draws closer.

“Everybody is going to be a bit nervous,” said Emily Gibson, taking the role of Matron “Mama” Morton which was played by Latifah in the 2002 picture. “But, we have a lot of good communication and we have good team work. We’re going to pull it all together.”

Both leads Tara Moon and Charlotte Mark, who play the roles of Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, both expressed the thought that each of their characters’ edge is what made the role so fun and different.

“She is scared, but she’s also an empowering character,” said Mark, who plays Velma. “Last year I played Fiona in ‘Shrek’. the difference is in this role, I get to play that anger I repressed as Fiona on stage right in front of the audience. I get to show that bit of edge.”

Adds Moon, who plays Roxie “she wants the attention, to crave it. It’s edgy and fun. I liked that about the role.”

Unlike the Hollywood production and original play, McFarlane insists we won’t see any innuendos or explicit language in this version.

“We had to take that kind of stuff out,” explained McFarlane. “But the core of the play is still there. It will be entertaining and fun.”

The curtain on opening night is Mar. 10. Performances will take place Mar. 10 and 11, with a second week of performances March 16-18.

Edward Hitchins

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