BWW Review: CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION at Red Curtain Theatre RAZZLE DAZZLE THE AUDIENCE
The Red Curtain's production of CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION "Razzle Dazzled" the audience as they shimmied across the stage at Staples Auditorium at Hendrix College in Conway Friday, Oct. 11. An abbreviated version of the actual musical with only teenagers 18 years old and younger, this show was a highlight of the songs with heavy dance numbers, and the kids impressed with what they learned at Red Curtain.
If unaware of the actual story of CHICAGO, you may come out with questions about the plot line, but it does not interfere with the showmanship of the performers of this production. CHICAGO follows the story of murderess on death row trying to gain their freedom. Vaudeville star Velma Kelly (Ruby Reeves) and wanna-be star Roxie Hart (Elisabeth Bartholomew) are the focal leads of the musical, but there are an array of characters that capture your attention throughout the show.
Directed by Kristen Sherman with help from Choreographer Olivia Stephens and Music Director Kent Britton, the hard work from the cast and crew did not go unnoticed. The dancing from the ensemble was fabulous! Reeves and Bartholomew blended very nicely with their singing and dancing in songs like "I Can't Do it Alone" and "My Own Best Friend." Brice Horn, playing the sought after lawyer Billy Flynn, charmed his way into the hearts of the teenage girls I brought with me. Jackson Karl did an excellent job as Fred Casely, but it was his dancing that really caught my eye. Karl's performance skills get better and better every time I see him. My character commitment award goes to Belle Overstreet as Matron "Mama" Morton, who really owned her song "When You're Good to Mama," and Emmarie Wilson's Mary Sunshine really sounded like the Mary Sunshine in the movie. But the one who really had the audience going "aaaaawwwwww" was Hayden Lybarger as Amos Hart. The underdog of the show, he really brought a lot of soul to the unassuming Amos.
Going on season five, the Red Curtain has built their company from one show in 2014 to nine shows in 2019. They have added dance classes to their studio for adults and children, and the work is really showing in each production they do. Coming up this weekend, The Red Curtain presents Annie Kids Friday through Sunday, Oct. 25-27. This show is Directed by Amber Welch, Music Direction by Breanna Bucko-Koscenski, and Choreography by Rosalyn Williams. Tickets for adults are $12 and seniors/students/military are $7. Tickets are available online at redcurtaintheatre.com and at the door.