After the COVID-19 pandemic forced Upper Arlington’s vocal music department to present their 2021 winter musical via film, the band returns to performing live in front of audiences when they present “42nd Street.” February 24-27.
Excitement is building for the 107 students at Upper Arlington High School as they prepare to perform.
Not only will UA Vocal Music return to its tradition of live performances, but the production will mark the official christening of the Performing Arts Center at the new UAHS, which opened its doors last fall.
The theater seats 1,550, has updated and improved lighting from the old auditorium, and features a full-deck orchestra pit.
“I’m so thrilled to be in the new Performing Arts Center,” said Grant Overmyer, a senior who will portray up-and-coming Broadway actor Billy Lawlor in the production. “The acoustics are amazing.
“The stage ceiling is incredibly high, so we can store our sets above the stage with backdrops and other curtains. I love that the orchestra pit is below the stage for control the sound. I’m really excited to hear the orchestra for this show.
Alana Sayat, a junior who plays Lorraine Flemming and serves as the production’s dance captain, added that she feels lucky to have the opportunity to perform in a state-of-the-art venue, and she expects this to contribute to the experience for those in the audience.
“I think audiences will be able to truly appreciate the grandeur and spectacle of ’42nd Street’ in our new theater, as the space allows for greater complexity in set and lighting design,” Sayat said. “There’s also an added thrill for the entire cast, crew, and pit to be part of the first-ever musical at the new Performing Arts Center.”
Performances are at 7:30 p.m. February 24-26 and 2:30 p.m. February 27.
Tickets range from $10 to $20 and can be purchased in advance at uavocalmusic.org/.
According to Brandon Moss, UA Vocal Music program director and “42nd Street” producer, the musical will feature 60 cast members and 40 students in crew positions.
Additionally, there will be a 14-member orchestra made up of seven UAHS students and seven professional musicians.
“We chose ’42nd Street’ because it’s a big, splashy show with a great cast and lots of showy dance numbers, and we thought it was a great way to both break into the all-new Performing Arts Center and to celebrate the return of live musical theater to UAHS,” said Moss. “Returning to live musical theater performances is an exciting feeling and I know our students are looking forward to it.
“We plan to be as careful as possible, but the live performance, with its back and forth between what’s happening on stage and the audience, is irreplaceable, and I’m so grateful we can. To do.”
“42nd Street” is a 1980 musical with book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble, lyrics by Al Dubin and Johnny Mercer, and music by Harry Warren.
Based on the 1932 novel by Bradford Ropes and the 1933 Hollywood film adaptation, the musical focuses on the efforts of famed dictatorial director Great White Way Julian Marsh to mount a successful stage production of a musical extravaganza at the height of the great Depression.
As well as holding one of the lead roles, Sayat is a featured dancer in the show, which she described as “a small part of the whole tapestry that gives the show splendor and grandeur”.
“’42nd Street’ is the perfect show for audiences to return to the live theater and witness the hours of dedication and attention that every member of the cast, crew and pit put into the production,” she said. “Audiences should come to the show to enjoy a nostalgic classic filled with catchy melodies, dazzling choreography and larger-than-life ensemble numbers.”
Overmyer added that he was looking forward to introducing his playful persona to the public.
“He’s quite arrogant, and it’s fun to play a character who is obnoxiously arrogant,” he said. “I’m excited to play with what Billy can be.”
Overmyer added that “42nd Street” is a show for everyone.
“It’s a fun, easygoing show,” he said. “There’s a ton of dancing and singing, and I think it’s going to appeal to people of all ages.”
Likewise, Moss said he was eager to introduce his students to the community, especially given how hard the cast and crew worked to prepare for production.
Those efforts included building “a beautiful set and setting up professional sets that we rented from a musical theater company in Wichita,” Moss said.
“There will be tons of gorgeous costumes, and the cast will be mostly wigs, which is unlike most shows that have been done in the past,” he said. “I’m also very excited to show off all the dance work our students have done learning from our expert choreographer and dance director Jackie Comisar.
“I’m very excited to introduce our students to the very first musical theater production staged at our new performing arts center. They’ve worked so hard that I’m not entirely sure many of them will still touched that they are making history. I also think it will be a great chance for the community to experience the new space, as I imagine many have yet to see it.”