Chadwick School to Pilot First-Ever School Production of ZORRO THE MUSICAL This Week

Chadwick School to Pilot First-Ever School Production of ZORRO THE MUSICAL This Week

LA-based Chadwick School has been selected to pilot the first-ever American school production of Zorro the Musical.

In announcing Chadwick's selection, President and CEO of Zorro Productions, Inc. John Gertz stated, "This invitation is in recognition of Chadwick School's theater program, and is an acknowledgment that its productions of the musicals Blood Brothers (2013), Hairspray (2014) and Cats (2014) were outstanding school productions. Zorro, Inc. is proud to entrust the privilege of production of the first school performance of this musical to Chadwick School."

"Being selected by John Gertz and Zorro Productions to premiere the musical is an honor and an amazing and unforgettable opportunity for the students," said Chadwick's director of drama and theater, Nigel Williams. "I feel very passionately that theater for young people should be totally engaging, mostly enjoyable, often times challenging and, at its best, life-changing. This is the mantra with which I have approached my work here at Chadwick."

Chadwick is known for its 80-year tradition of academic excellence and exemplary character development, as well its commitment to fine and performing arts and global citizenship.

"Theater offers the opportunity to look at important, relevant and difficult issues through empathic role play in a safe environment where students are encouraged to take risks, work creatively and collaboratively, and understand through reflection that there is no failure in the work, only exploration," added Williams. "This is particularly true when staging a new work like Zorro the Musical."

Zorro's legendary story of good versus evil has been a source of enduring fascination and has been the subject of a best-selling novel by producer Isabel Allende and several major motion pictures. This new musical production retells the dramatic tale of a romantic hero with spectacular sword fighting and incredible magic - all set to the famous red-hot Gipsy King beat brought to the stage with the authentic colors of traditional flamenco.

At a time when the arts have been cut back at many schools, Chadwick has made a significant commitment to furthering arts education through expanding course offerings and productions, premiering new works such as Zorro the Musical, building a state-of- the-art performing arts complex, and offering an extensive summer arts program for youth ages 9-14.

"We are delighted that our students will be the first to bring Zorro the Musical to the stage here, and again at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August," said Chadwick Headmaster Ted Hill. "Sending our student actors abroad to gain international experience and exposure at this worldwide arts festival can only increase their awareness of other cultures and theatrical traditions."

"As a school, we're committed to developing students' abilities to think critically and creatively, communicate, collaborate, innovate, and understand the lives and viewpoints of others," continued Hill, "and the performing arts help to expand and express all of these life skills."

The Chadwick Performing Arts program is led by Department Chair Nigel Williams, who most recently was the director of drama at Gordonstoun School in northeast Scotland. Williams has directed numerous award-winning productions, from epic musicals such as Les Miserables to physical work such as Frankenstein and A Clockwork Orange. His productions, including several original plays, have been performed at the Royal National Theatre in London and at theater festivals all over the world. Among his former students, Williams counts comedian and actor John Oliver, and English actors Oona Chaplin and Neil Jackson.

Chadwick's performances of Zorro the Musical will kick off starting Wednesday, February 25 and will run until Saturday, February 28. The Chadwick cast and crew will travel to Edinburgh and perform at the Fringe Festival from August 7-14. For information on Chadwick's theater and arts programs, visit www.chadwicktheater.blogspot.com.

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