Students are memorizing lines, rehearsing songs, and choreographing dances as Tyler Junior College has begun rehearsals for the musical “Chicago”.
“Chicago” is a musical set in the roaring twenties about the trials of two murderesses named Roxie and Velma.
The theatre, dance, and music departments have come together for this rather large production.
“This is a big year for celebrating the music department, and also the history of the campus and so we were looking for something that was a barn burner, something that would really excite the audience, and excite the kids and arouse interest and bring people in to the school to take a look at the show,” said Dr. David Crawford, lead director and theater professor.
With such a demanding collaboration by multiple departments and all different types of performers, the rehearsals are relentless.
“We have to have singers who can act and dance, dancers who can act and sing, and actors that can sing and dance, so the overall challenge is to bring it all together to fruition,” said Dr. Crawford.
“We start at 7 p.m. every night and we work on the weekends dancing, singing, and then working on stage, so it takes forever, but we get a lot done,” said Samantha Fields, assistant director and stage manager.
Working every night except Sundays the cast keeps a positive mood flowing during rehearsals and, despite all the hard work, a sense of fun remains.
“It’s hard work, but every night I sleep like a baby,” said cast member Corey Finzel, a sophomore from Fort Worth.
A lot of excitement surrounds this very large production that so many people have wanted to be apart of; especially after the Academy Award-, Golden Globe-, and Grammy Award-winning movie in 2002 stared Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger as the two murderesses. Included in the musical are big numbers such as “Roxie,” “Cell Block Tango,” and “The Razzle Dazzle.”
“It’s a very popular name. Once the students realized what it was, they really got behind it, supported it, and really got excited about it to the point where I had 84 people audition originally for a cast of 23,” said Dr. Crawford.
Chicago will debut at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 22-25 in Wise Auditorium. Tickets will be sold at the Tyler Junior College box office across the hall from the Jean Browne Theatre for $5 and TJC student and faculty get in free with their IDs.