The Rocket Flame

She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not

She+Loves+Me%2C+She+Loves+Me+Not

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.

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