Thursday, September 28, 2023

Neuqua Valley’s dramatic challenges for 2022-23


Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois, has announced its dramatic performances for the 2022-23 school year, according to a report by Ava Nelson in the school’s student newspaper.

The schedule is subject to change without notice on these pages, but here’s what the student news site reported:

  • Improv show, Sept. 15-16
  • Children’s show: Alice @ Wonderland, Oct. 7-8
  • Fall play: She Kills Monsters, Nov. 10-12
  • Winter play: Doubt, Dec. 9-10
  • Freshman One Acts, Jan. 27-28
  • Monologue show, March 10-11
  • Spring musical: Chicago, April 27-29

Note: The winter play, Doubt, historical fiction about the priest sex abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church, will be largely student-led. This play with a powerful message “has strong intentions,” Ava wrote. It won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play.

The musical Chicago, even the high school edition, is no less formidable a challenge for a school. The musical sometimes comes with a tag line, “Still the sexiest most sensational musical.”

When the Fort Worth Country Day School in Texas performed Chicago before the pandemic, the Theater Department had its hands full controlling the excitement.

“Managing the hype has been a challenge because it’s hard to [live up to] that expectation from the movie Chicago winning Best Picture at the Oscars,” the student newspaper there quoted then-senior Joe Westermann, the co-director, as saying. “For the cast, [the challenge has been] getting into the heart and minds of these characters. They are hard characters for teenagers to portray.”

This story follows people accused of murder and other crimes, and the dance choreography and costumes are typically tamed down for high school, compared to that seen in the movie and on Broadway. Professional productions often come with the warning, “For Mature Audiences.”

But as far as Neuqua Valley goes, the school’s history of musical excellence, given Grammys for the district, should bring an entertaining show, no matter how tamed down it might be for a teen and tween audience.

Paul Katula
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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