The Rocket Flame

Singing, Dancing, and Vanilla Ice Cream – Oh My!

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Singing, Dancing, and Vanilla Ice Cream – Oh My!

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She Loves Me

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

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She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

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For years, the James Buchanan Drama Club has followed the same pattern in terms of what type of show they put on in the spring: musical, play, musical, play, musical, musical. Wait, two musicals in a row?

This year, the JBHS Drama Club is trying something new: two musicals in two years, back to back. Last year, a titanic-sized cast brought the historical tragedy to life on stage with Titanic; but the drama department decided to do the exact opposite this year. In the spring of 2019, students will be performing a romantic comedy with a small cast entitled She Loves Me.

“I choose shows that people have likely never seen or even heard about,” said Mr. Luke Spurgeon (Faculty), the director of the drama department. “They come in with no expectations, nothing to compare us to, and we get to be the best they have ever seen! She Loves Me is one of those shows!”

Spurgeon tries to change up the genre each year, challenging the cast to “be multi-talented” by having them act in a myriad of different scenarios, from drama to suspense to comedy, and finally, romance. Once the show was decided upon and announced, the audition date was set. Auditions took place over two days, Sept. 24 and 25, with the cast list coming out the following day. Those that auditioned crowded around Spurgeon as he posted the list to the door of the chorus room.

“I am so honored,” said Emily Palmerchuck (12), who was cast as the female lead, Amalia Balash. “I am so excited to start working ‘cause it’s a great show.”

Once the cast list was out and the leads were announced, it was time for the table read, where the cast got together for the first time and read through the script. The table read was kicked off by Palmerchuck bringing vanilla ice cream for the cast in honor of the song “Vanilla Ice Cream.” Palmerchuck said that her favorite part of the table read was seeing the choices made by the other actors for how they portray their characters.

“I think just hearing how each actor interpreted their lines because we all had our own way of looking at them and how we would say them,” said Palmerchuck.

Ella Heckman (11) and Rose Runyan (12) are always ready to bust some moves.

The cast learned the same lines and the same songs to audition, so everyone had their own interpretation of scenes going into auditions and the table read. Spurgeon played the soundtrack when the script called for musical numbers, but many of the cast already knew some of the songs, singing along to a recording. After making it through the table read, the She Loves Me cast has music practices in November and December.

Palmerchuck said, “Then, we get into the full swing of things starting in January.”

Starting in January, the cast will have practices every week to learn the show. They memorize their lines and begin to work out how they perform the scene on stage. Palmerchuck looks forward to staging scenes between her character, Amalia, and the other lead, Georg Nowack, who is portrayed by Jacob Troupe (11).

“I think I’m most looking forward to staging the scene in the shop where Kodaly sings “Illona,”” said Spurgeon.

Kodaly, who is portrayed by Dean King (11), tries to win back his girlfriend, Illona (Allison Collings (12)), after she gets mad at him. Most of the cast already know each other from being in previous productions of the drama department.

“A lot of us know each other already,” said Palmerchuck, “and we’re all very passionate about the show, which is, of course, part of the reason we got the roles we did. I just think it’s going to be a good time, everyone’s going to put in the work, everyone’s going to support each other.”

All of that work will pay of in mid-March, when the musical will be performed. Spurgeon predicts that the audience will leave the show with any of the songs stuck in their heads, but he would like to hear people humming the opening number when they leave.

“[Kodaly] sings the song trying to woo her back…” – Mr. Luke Spurgeon.

“I really want people to leave singing the ‘She Loves Me’ song because it’s the namesake,” said Palmerchuck. “It’s such a big song, it’s such a good song.”

Palmerchuck also thinks that the audience will leave the show “singing the goodbye song as people are leaving the shop,” as it is sung multiple times throughout the musical. With auditions over and the table read completed, it won’t be long until the show is staged and ready to be performed. Grab your vanilla ice cream and a dear friend and come see She Loves Me, as performed by the JBHS Drama Club, in March of 2019.

To Sail or Sink?

Though the Titanic may have sunk over 100 years ago, it will be sailing once more at James Buchanan High School.

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To Sail or Sink?

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The school’s Drama Club will be performing the musical, Titanic that originally debuted on Broadway in 1997. The Broadway performance was nominated and then later came to win five Tony Awards, including “Best Musical” and “Best Score”.

 

“This is not the movie Titanic’. The musical Titanic is not going to feature a Jack or Rose,” Logan Williams (11) said. “It is going to be a more about the historical values of the Titanic. We are going to be portraying real characters that lived on the Titanic and have died.”

Nearly everyone in the cast is named and is based on a real person who sailed on the Titanic.

 

“I play Harold bride, wireless operator with Marconi International Marine Signal Communication Company, Limited,” Williams said.

 

Though knowing who their character really is may help, there can be some difficulties.

 

“The most challenging part of performing is trying to be this character that you’re not,” Williams said. “You have to set aside yourself and you have to put on this disguise, this facade, of someone else, and you have to be that person on stage.”

 

Sydney Jones
Thrilled to be on board, Logan Williams (11) and Allison Collings (11) point out seagulls on the RMS Titanic.

 

The Drama Club has changed course in the past couple of years.

 

“In the past with James Buchanan High School Drama Club, I’ve been in Is He Dead, ‘Jekyll and Hyde, and a couple of Cabarets,” Williams said.

 

This change in direction can be correlated with the change in directors. Mr. Luke Surgeon and Mrs. Kristin Zimmerman became the directors of the Drama Club in 2015.

 

“He [Luke] was actually in charge the year before that for Little Women that would have been three productions ago, four years ago,” Zimmerman said. “But then the year after that, I had the opportunity to be able to do this. I said, ‘How would you like an assistant?‘ He said, ‘I think that’ll work,’ and the rest is history.”

 

They have worked on two productions together, and have hosted some Cabarets as a fundraiser for the Drama Club, but haven’t attempted anything like this.

 

“The story is such an epic, tragic story that just is really interesting to a lot of people, so that should be at the big draw for us, which is good,” Zimmerman said.

 

The students have put in nearly as many hours a week as sports teams in the school.

 

“We get nine hours of practice a week, which is crazy for something like this,” Zimmerman said. “But I think a lot of prep work goes in on students behalf outside of rehearsal too. Clearly, people work on lines and songs, not in here, or else it would not work. So it’s important that people are prepared before they come in.”

 

The dedication needed for the cast and crew is what makes the show come together.

 

“It’s definitely an undertaking for three nights, and then it’s just over,” Zimmerman said.

 

Not only are emotions high for the ending of the performance, but remembering the tragedy they are performing is another dismal feature.

 

“Once you remember that these were real people, and that this really happened to these people, that’s like a whole other aspect of it to me,” Zimmerman said. “So it’s neat to act through something that’s real, which is new for us.”

 

The Titanic sets sail March 16, 17, and 18 at James Buchanan High School, with Williams, Zimmerman, and the rest of the cast and crew.

MisCabaret

On Friday, Nov. 17, the James Buchanan Drama Club members switched places in their Miscast Cabaret.

Her+dress+sparkling+under+the+stage+lights%2C+Olivia+Harmon+%2811%29+performs+%E2%80%9CStars%E2%80%9D+from+Les+Miserables.
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MisCabaret

Her dress sparkling under the stage lights, Olivia Harmon (11) performs “Stars” from Les Miserables.

Her dress sparkling under the stage lights, Olivia Harmon (11) performs “Stars” from Les Miserables.

Sydney Jones

Her dress sparkling under the stage lights, Olivia Harmon (11) performs “Stars” from Les Miserables.

Sydney Jones

Sydney Jones

Her dress sparkling under the stage lights, Olivia Harmon (11) performs “Stars” from Les Miserables.

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Cabaret is a tradition started by Mr. Luke Spurgeon (Staff) and Mrs. Kristin Zimmerman (Faculty), where the Drama Club performs different pieces from musicals and plays.

 

“The first Cabaret was this time of year, in November 2015. It was the same year as Jekyll and Hyde,” Spurgeon said.

 

Their theme this year was Miscast, which is where the boys are to sing songs originally performed by girls, and vice versa.

 

“There’s a whole bunch of awesome songs that are written for girls on Broadway that guys never get to sing and a whole bunch of awesome songs that are written for guys on Broadway that girls never get to sing, so, we’re switching them,” Spurgeon said.

 

Opening the show was Kierstyn Martin (12) and Sean Martin (12) as the hosts who performed “Anything You Can Dofrom Annie Get Your Gun.

 

“Cabaret is kind of like old-fashioned karaoke,” explained drama director Mr. Luke Spurgeon, “It’s just a night of informal singing songs that you like.”

 

With this thought in mind, Cabaret was born, and gave some students the performance of their high school career.  

 

“Cabaret is a chance to give some students who don’t get a lot of solo time on stage the opportunity to get in front of a crowd and sing a solo, to perform, to get used to being on stage before they have to jump into the musical or a play or something,” Spurgeon commented. “It’s kind of like the training ground for performing.”

 

Those who participate enjoy the freedom involved with Cabaret.

 

“You can basically perform whatever song you want and have fun with it,” said Korina Williams (12). “You get to dress up, and it’s all about you.”

 

There were sixteen students and 2 faculty members that performed on Friday, and about fifty people attended the show. Songs from Les Miserables, Oliver!, Dear Evan Hanson, and many more were showcased. Williams was supposed to sing “Music of the Night” from the classic Phantom of the Opera, but was unable to sing due to sickness.

 

Though some were under the weather, the show must go on! The performance was brought to a close by Emily Palmerchuck (11) singing “Cabaret” from the musical Cabaret. It helped conclude the show by sticking with its theme of switching things up.  

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