Around F.C.

Local High Schools Prepare for Upcoming Shows & Musicals

For both local high school theatre students and students in general, the upcoming 2022/23 season should be an exciting one. Whether it be the variety of shows/musicals being performed or the return to normalcy due to the pandemic, this season’s high school shows and musicals are ones to be on the lookout for!

Meridian High School
On November 17th through the 19th, Meridian High School is performing “Pippin,” based on the book by Roger O. Hirson and music by Stephen Schwartz. “Pippin” is the story of Prince Pippin as he tries to figure out how to make his life “fulfilling.” The story is a “play-within-a-play” in which a band of players present Pippin’s story and “promise the greatest finale ever seen on stage.”

In the spring, Moliere’s “The Love Doctor” will be performed by Meridian’s theater company on March 24th through March 26th. The show is based on a French farce about young lovers and a mistaken identity. Since Moliere’s farces are short, the theater company will be combining four of his farces into one: “The Flying Doctor,” “The Doctor In Spite of Himself,” “The Love Doctor” and “The Love Tiff.”

Shawn Northrip is the director of Meridian High School’s theater company, as well as a theater and film studies teacher for the school. He shared what he is most excited for each show being performed.

For “Pippin,” he said the “heart” of the show is “the story of light,” which features sunsets, sunrises, fires and more. Northrip said the theater company is going to try to present “Pippin” in a “mostly illuminated” UV light setting while cast members will be wearing “phosphorescent” clothing and makeup and playing on a set painted with phosphorescent paint. For “The Love Doctor,” Northrip said the show is a “high energy play with quick-witted characters running about in a seemingly endless supply of doctor’s coats.”

As for what the student cast members are feeling about the upcoming shows, Northrip simply stated they are enthusiastic about “the world feeling normal.”

Falls Church High School
Falls Church High School is taking an age-appropriate spin on the hit Broadway show “Chicago.” Showing from December 1st to the 3rd at 7:00 p.m. and December 4th at 3:00 p.m., the show is a “teen edition” rated PG-13, a vast difference from the more mature and scandalous musical most people are familiar with. In April, the spring show will be “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” based on the children’s fantasy novel by C.S. Lewis.

Beth De Marco, the theater arts director at Falls Church High School, said she is excited to see her students excited about both shows and “the concepts that we have around them.” De Marco stated the teen edition of “Chicago” is a “surprise” as it is a “unique take” on the musical and something she said to her knowledge “has never been done.” For the showing of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” De Marco said students have already looked up videos on how to create “cosplay costumes” to be worn throughout the show.

As for pandemic precautions, De Marco said students can wear masks if they prefer to while practicing and performing either show.

Marshall High School
Marshall High School’s Statesmen Theatre company is featuring three productions throughout the school year. This season will be the first for Marshall High School since the pandemic that will feature live performances and non-mask wearing during the shows.

To start off the season, Jessica Swale’s “Blue Stockings” will be showing at Marshall High School from November 10th through November 12th. First produced at the Globe Theatre in London, the show is about a group of female students and their teachers in 1896 going against the strict patriarchy and strict gender roles at Girton College, one of the first women’s colleges at Cambridge University.

Bernie DeLeo, the theater director for Marshall High School, said he searches for plays that “highlight” the female population in the theater company. The choice of having “Blue Stockings” as the fall production is a way to “empower women” by having most of the main roles be occupied by women and have the men “take the back seat.” DeLeo also stated this is “the most excited” he’s been about a play than anything he has done, as well as saying his female students are excited to take part of it as well.

Marshall High school’s theater company will be performing Jessica Swale’s “Blue Stockings” to kick off their 2022/23 season. (Photo: Rhea Newhana)

In the winter, the theater company will be presenting its 2nd Annual One-Act Festival of Student Produced Works — an event highlighting works written, directed, acted and produced by students. The plays are yet to be announced, but they will be performed on February 2nd to February 4th.

Lastly, the spring musical will be “Xanadu,” which was supposed to be performed in the spring of 2020 until the rise of the pandemic shelved the show. Based on the 1980s pop musical movie featuring the recently-deceased Olivia Newton John, DeLeo said the production will be “zany” and “wacky” compared to the more serious fall play, but also features many female roles. Dates for the show will be from May 4th to May 6th.

Mclean High School
For the 2022/2023 season, Mclean High School is featuring three shows throughout the year: “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Claudio Quest” and “Mamma Mia.”

“Much Ado About Nothing” is based on the comedy by William Shakespeare. The story is about a group of soldiers coming home from war in the 1920s, where old connections and new connections are formed.

“Claudio Quest” is a “brand-new” show with music and lyrics by Drew Fornarola and Marshall Pailet. The musical tells the story of Claudio and his younger brother Luis, two video game characters from the Eggplant Kingdom and their quest to rescue Princess Poinsettia from Bruiser, an evil platypus, with the help of Poinsettia’s sister Princess Fish. Dates are to be announced.

“Mamma Mia” is a jukebox musical based on the discography of Swedish group ABBA. The musical is about a young woman on a Greek island and her search for truth about who her possible father is that uphends both her and her mother’s life.

Arielle Elise is the student head of publicity for Mclean High School’s theater company. She said she is most excited to work on all “these vastly different shows” as well as showcase the “Mclean edge we bring to each one of our productions.” Elise stated that from “Shakepeare, to a video game, to a jukebox musical, the range is all encompassing and engaging as both an actor and crew member.”
She said the theater students are most excited about putting “these visions into fruition and coming together as an ensemble.”

Following the “Covid-19 era,” Elise said the Mclean theater department could not be more thrilled to fully immerse themselves onstage and tell a story to its entirety for audiences and more.

Justice High School
Justice High School’s theater company will be performing “Pippin” in the fall from November 10th through November 12th.

The spring show will be “Shakespeare on Stage,” which will be showing from April 27th through April 29th.