Auditions and “All That Jazz”


Photo by Tina Zhang.

(Above) There were various actors on the audition site. With all that greeting, hugging, and chatting, an audition can also be a kind of reunion. Expe- rienced actors that participated in shows before were coming back for another year, while novices who tried to hide their nervousness with excite- ment were trying out for the first time. “I’m hoping that everybody does really well, and gets what they want, ”Avery Johnson, grade 12, a returning actor, wished the actors good luck. “This is defi- nitely not my first time doing this. There’s lots of people who are though. So I’m hoping nobody is too nervous,” she said with a gentle smile. Photo by Tina Zhang.

Tina Zhang, Staff

On Wednesday, August 17, the vast Black Box Theater was unusually crowded and busy. When the minute hand passed 2:45 P.M., the check-in of the audition for the classic musical Chicago: Teen Edition officially began. Auditions season this year was in full swing, with the goal of finishing auditions for all the shows in one week. The workload grew exponentially for the Drama Department, but the increased efficiency and productivity bring shows to the next level. Chicago is one of the most renowned Broadway musicals, for it depicts the best interpretation of hedonism and the fragileness of the American dream in the 1920s. As a musical, Chicago has an unassailable importance in restoring the “Jazz Age” from the 1920s onwards. It is not only a work of jazz song and dance, but also a reflection of the controversial age of art, money, and cynicism. Chicago: Teen Edition, the new edition that the Drama Department is presenting keeps the original vibe, but with more youthfully exuberance. Ms. Holly Harris, the Main Director of the show, along with other coaches will work with these energetic actors to perform this musical. The first audition was on Wednesday, and the following callback was on Friday in the same week.

(Above) As an official audition in the show industry, the first thing that candidates need to do after stepping through the door is sign in at the front desk, and then stick an issued number tag on their front. This audition attracted up to 36 actors from different grade levels 9-12. No previous drama requirement was stated. Inspired by Bob Fosse, Chicago: Teen Edition will involve grand ensemble dance sequences. “Cell Block Tango”was one of the representative dances in Chicago involved more than a dozen actors to create spectacular effects. All the elected hard working actors will have a chance to shine on stage. Photo by Tina Zhang. (Photo by Tina Zhang. )
(Above) The Drama Department provided Latin dance heels for candidates on site. The Jazz Age was dominated by a combination of jazz music and dance acrobatics. Jazz dance is all about pleasant, lively and vigorous steps.
Hip rocking and waist twisting, dancers sway across the stage with heels gyrating on the floor and clashing with the ground resoundingly. Chicago: Teen Edition adapts the immortal opener “All That Jazz,” a romantic, sultry jazz dance, as well as the introduction of a leading character in the show. On the audition day, the candidates will learn about the choreography and song from selected scenes, and “All That Jazz,” as being one of them, is determined on who gets the main role. Show opens March 29-April 1. Photo by Tina Zhang. (Photo by Tina Zhang.)
(Above) Actors are required to wear heels for audition.
Ms. Renee Korte, the choreographer of “All That Jazz,”
will lecture the dance movements of the song in the
audition. Instuction during the audition funtions as a
measurement to evaluate the dancer’s learning ability,
to see how fast they can pick up a choreography. Photo by Tina Zhang. (Photo by Tina Zhang.)
(Above) Before the warm up, Director Harris briefly introduced themes in the play for the year, practice plan for the season, and her expectation for every actor. What awaits the actors is a story of 1920s life in all its forms. It’s a challenge, as well as a chance to grow together. Theater in highschool provides a space for talented performers to showcase themselves, as well as to bond. Through years of training and stage experiences, the cast is able to create more genuine friendships. Stages are not only a place for young actors to make dreams come true, it is also a place for them to work together with
people who are pursuing the same dream. Photo by Tina Zhang. (Photo by Tina Zhang.)
(Above) Vocal warm up consisted of preparation for the audition that would last until 5:30 P.M. The songs for today’s assessment are “Razzle Dazzle,”“Both Reached for the Gun,”and “All That Jazz.” Photo by Tina Zhang. (Photo by Tina Zhang.)