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The Student News Site of McCallum High School

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MacTheatre is all over the place these days

With a UIL one-act play advancing to bi-district, a spring musical in rehearsal, a theatre cabaret, a London trip and a class taught by a ‘Wicked’ cast member, the theatre program has been busy lately

With Theater Director Bonnie Brookby and Musical Theatre Director Robert Carasco splitting up to direct the spring play and spring musical concurrently, there hasn’t been a slow day in the FABT, MAC or the newly open DAB during the past month.

The Spring play, She Stoops to Conquer was opened on the FABT on March 1 and ran through March 3. Earlier that week however, the cast performed the show at the zone level of the UIL One Act Play Festival, where they took second place — along with several individual recognitions — allowing them to advance the Bi-district level. She Stoops to Conquer competed successfully again today and will be advancing to Area on April 1.

Meanwhile, the spring musical Seussical has been in full swing of rehearsals, meeting daily to perfect music, blocking and choreography. The show opens in less than a month and will run for two-weekend from April 4-7 and April 11-14.

Beyond MacTheatre’s mainstage performances, students have also taken to organizing new program events. On March 6, students came together to perform the first ever Theatre Cabaret, New Beginnings. The event was organized by junior Royal Court Player representative Eric Judge and showcased student work in the form of monologues, duet scenes and songs.

Outside of school, several student performers joined dance director Natalie Uehara on a trip to London, England to learn more about theater. The trip included a visit to The Globe Theater, which is famous for putting on many of William Shakespeare’s classic plays, and the opportunity to see many professional West End productions.

Most recently, students in the musical theater class were able to attend a masterclass with Marina Lazaretto, a member of the National Broadway Tour of Wicked that is currently in Austin, where students learned choreography to the show’s popular number “Loathing” on Monday.

This Tuesday Top 10 showcases these current MacTheatre endeavors through the perspectives of student performers.

WILLING WILL: Tegan Hahn and Will Bowman perform in the one act play, She Stoops To Conquer during the third of three community performances on Sunday March 3 in the Fine Arts Building Theater. The plays offered a story filled with laughs and love onstage. Offstage, however, there was a little bit of nerves from an understudy, Will Bowman. About a week before opening night, Bowman had to quickly learn the role of Tony Lumpkin. “For the first couple of days it was horribly nerve-racking,” he said. Caption and photo by Katie Hyzak.

Senior Jackson Hensley, junior Sasha Grapko and sophomore Owen Griffin work together during an early rehearsal for the musical Suessical in the field house. Assistant director Marshall Clifton said that his favorite thing about this show so far has been the collaboration between all the different people in all the different departments. “We have dance majors, theater majors, choir majors,” he said. “We have so many different people.” Rehearsals have been fun, busy and educational. The show hits the stage for a live audience in mid April. Caption and photo by Campbell Epperly.

DIRECTOR ON THE SET: Theatre teacher Bonnie Brookby inspects the set during an early rehearsal for She Stoops to Conquer on Feb. 17. Brookby thinks the opportunity to perform the show in front of a live community audience was very helpful for the cast and crew. “It’s as much about sharing kind of our process and the just the uniqueness of this production, as it is the production itself, which is still a lot of fun,” Brookby said. “Plus I’m really grateful for the chance to have some rehearsals in front of an audience because it’s a comedy. Until you really hear the audience laughing and get that energy, it’s not the same.” She Stoops to Conquer took the stage for round two of the One Act Play on Tuesday March 19 at the AISD Preforming Arts Center in Mueller and advanced to round 3: the bi-district competition. The cast won four awards at tonight’s performance. Will Bowman and Joseph Blackwood were named to the all-star cast, and Lucy Sternberg earned honorable mention all-cast. Carson Bragg was named to the honor crew. Caption by Maya Tackett. Photo by Beatrix Lozach.

WAKE UP: MacTheatre premiered it’s first cabaret on March 6 in the FABT. Cabaret was a showcase of various scenes and songs performed by MacTheatre students. One of these performers was Freshman Paityn Jones, who sung the song “Wake Up” from Julie and the Phantoms. Jones said that she chose the song because it resonated with the theme and with herself. “The song is about moving on with life because there’s so much for you to do in the world.” Jones said. “Although there is bad that you go through, you really end up with the good if you just wake up.” Overall, Jones says that cabaret could not have gone better and was an incredible experience for everyone involved. “It had such a powerful message, the people in it were amazing, the direction was great, and the audience seemed to really love it.” Caption and photo by Katie Martin.

ACCENTS AND A LOT OF ACTION: Tegan Hahn stars as Mrs. Hardcastle in the one act play, She Stoops To Conquer. The cast and crew held their last performance on Sunday in the Fine Arts Building Theater. It lasted just under 40 minutes. During that time, the actors had to fulfill many duties. However, one of the most important ones was getting the British accent right. For Hahn, it was all about the character. “I stepped into my character and characterized my accent which helped when I got on stage,” she says. Caption and photo by Katie Hyzak.

OPENING ANTICIPATION: During the 11-minute bus ride to the Austin ISD Performing Arts Center on Feb. 27, freshman Tegan Hahn waits patiently for showtime to arrive in the zone competition, the first round of the UIL One-Act Play Competition.

“I was more excited than I was nervous, which surprised me, but I also felt confident in our cast’s abilities,” said Hahn, who plays the role of Mrs. Hardcastle in MacTheatre’s production of “She Stoops to Conquer.” “Getting on the bus was a fun experience; there was a lot of general excitement. We were all buzzing with emotions.”

Caption and photo by Elli Grace Hodges.

IN THE JUNGLE: Junior Katelyn Gerrie, freshmen Franny Scott, Campbell Epperly, Elora Clarke, and Brooke Zarnikau perform “Amazing Mayzie” in rehearsal for Seussical. Scott says that being in the ensemble is fun because of all of the numbers they get to participate in. “In the “jungle ensemble,” we do a lot of dancing.” Scott said. “They’ve been really challenging but also really rewarding.” Scott reports that the cast is doing really well and has learned almost all of the show. “I’m really excited for the shows” Scott said. “I think because of all the work we’ve put in, they will be really rewarding.” Caption and photo by Katie Martin.

SHOWSTOPPER: Leaning into the mic, Chim Becker sings “The Song About the Midway” by Joni Mitchell at Mac Theatre’s cabaret show on Wednesday March 6. Becker admitted to being nervous for their big moment. “By the time I started singing I felt like all my worries went away,” Becker said. “People seemed to really like the song.” Caption by Vivian Moore. Photo by Katie Martin.

CONQUERING THE ACCENT: Israel Causey and Lucy Sternberg carry out a phenomenal performance of the one act play, She Stoops To Conquer. It was held on Sunday in the Fine Arts Building Theater. The audience was brought with laughter and enjoyment throughout the whole play. However, to execute these attributes, the cast had to learn many skills. One of the harder ones was the British accent. According to Causey, one thing that helped to master the skill was “looking at different medias and sources.” Caption and photo by Katie Hyzak.

SOMETHING “WICKED” IN DANCE STUDIO 1: As fourth-period musical theatre students–Austin Pain, Sasha Grapko, Astrid Peters, Brooke Zamikau and Zalie Mann–surround her playing their parts as students of Shiz University, guest instructor and “Wicked” traveling cast member Marina Lazaretto plays the role of Glenda the Witch during a Monday dance workshop in the newly opened Dance Arts Building. While on campus Monday afternoon, Lazaretto who is in Austin to perform “Wicked” at UT’s Bass Concert Hall throughout the month of March, taught students the dance number to “What is this Feeling?” and then answered questions. Freshman Astrid Peters said that the workshop was very informative for the aspiring actors in the class. “I loved learning new things and working with someone who’s been a professional in the theatre industry,” Peters said. “I feel like I learned a lot about the technique and the things you need to [do] to succeed in a theatrical setting.” In addition to her current role in the “Wicked” cast, Lazaretto has multiple Broadway, film and TV credits. She has known dance director Natalie Uehara for more than 20 years. Uehara said she met Lazaretto when she began her first professional job on the cruise line on which Uehara worked as an install director. Photo by Katie Martin.

 AWAITING THE STAGE: Hahn, Anna Fuller, Genevieve Appl and Samantha Panzer make their finishing touches to their characters’ looks prior to taking the stage at the Austin ISD PAC on Feb. 27.

About an hour before competition, the actors and crew of “She Stoops to Conquer” began preparing for the zone competition. Hahn said the final costume check afforded the actors a chance to “connect with each other and get into character.”

In addition to receiving critiques, the cast and crew of SSTC ended their day by receiving nine awards. Sophomore Elli Grace Hodges won for All-Star Technician; senior Devin Gramling, sophomore Sam Nelson and Hahn received Honorable Mention All-Star cast. Freshman Israel Causey, sophomore William Bowman and Panzer won All-Star cast, while sophomores Lucy Sternberg and Joseph Blackwood took home awards for Outstanding Performer.

Caption and photo by Elli Grace Hodges.

CLOSING THE CURTAIN ON CABARET: Accompanied by roaring applause, the students in Mac Theatre’s Cabaret take a final bow on Wednesday March 6. Ever since auditions, they’ve been working hard to put on a good show together. “It really felt like we were one big family,” said Delilah Grad, who performed two songs in the show. Caption and photos by Vivian Moore.

BIRD GIRLS: Freshman Elodie Bollich and Berit Ellwanger perform as the “Bird Girls” in “Horton hears a Who” from “Seussical.” Bollich says that she is happy with the way the show is progressing. “We’re definitely in a good spot right now.” Bollich said.
“You can really see the production coming together.” Bollich says that being a bird girl has helped her create new friendships and grow her talents. “I have enjoyed getting closer with the other bird girls in rehearsal.” Bollich said. “I think the most beneficial has been the dancing that the role requires. It has helped me become a stronger dancer. Caption and photo by Katie Martin.

WICKEDLY TALENTED: Delilah Grad and Fiona Kirsch perform “For Good” from “Wicked” during Mac Theatre’s cabaret show on Wednesday March 6. The two girls already had solo acts, but wanted to perform together as soon as they learned that you could do multiple numbers. “Me and Delilah looked at each other and immediately said ‘For Good!’” said Kirsch, “Performing with her was effortless and I felt super comfortable.” Caption by Vivian Moore. Photo by Katie Martin.

TROTTING AROUND TRAFALGAR: On the first day of their spring break trip to London, England, MacTheatre students pose in front of

the lion statue in Trafalgar Square. For sophomore Owen Griffin, this trip was an opportunity to learn more about another part of the world.

“I wanted to go on this trip because before I had never actually been outside the country,” Owen Griffin said. “I’ve always wanted to see more of the world and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to do so. To be honest, I was very nervous at first with the thought of being somewhere so different, but I’m very glad I went through with it.”

Griffin specifically enjoyed getting to visit different locations across the city.

“My favorite part of the trip was probably when we went to the Borough Market, where we got to try the world’s famous chocolate-covered strawberries,” Griffin said. “Right after that we got to go on the London Eye which allowed us to see this whole city, including the clock tower Big Ben. That day along with seeing shows were definitely the highlights of the trip.”

There were also several structured activities geared toward learning more about the theatre scene in London.

“Throughout the trip, we not only got to explore the city, but we were able to shop in markets and even got to see one of the first theater even created in London. Theater-wise especially, this trip was incredible as we got to see professional shows such as “The Play That Goes Wrong” and “Guys and Dolls”, where a stage would quite literally rise from the ground. London although being an adjustment from Austin was still such an amazing experience that I am so grateful to have had.”

Reporting by Alice Scott. Photo courtesy of Natalie Uehara.

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