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Murder, Treachery, and “All That Jazz”

As opening night approaches for the Loomis Chaffee production of Chicago: Teen Edition, each member of the student cast and crew has an individual perspective on the experience.

For freshman Joy Smith, the show will be her first time in a Loomis Chaffee musical. And then there is someone like senior Lauren Sonnenfeld, who has graced the Norris Ely Orchard (NEO) stage many times.

This will be Lauren’s last musical at Loomis. She plays one of the leads, Roxie Hart.

“For the last few weeks, I’ve realized how time has gone by and just how grateful I am for everyone here. And how valuable it is to play,” Lauren said on Thursday, February 8, as she reflected on what theater has meant to her.

“Outside of here, I don’t think I get the opportunity to do that a lot — to just disregard everything else happening in life and just play, and really find that inner child,” she continued. “I am really grateful to have had the opportunity to do [theater] here, and I hope to continue in the future.”

The original Chicago was directed and choreographed by Bob Fosse and nominated for 10 Tony Awards. The Loomis production of the musical will be performed February 14–16 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, February 17, at 2 p.m. in the NEO Theater.  Tickets are available here.  

Joy, who plays Mama Morton, is no stranger to theatrical productions — she has been performing since she was a small child — but this is her first opportunity to perform in a musical at Loomis. Senior Angela Adu-Boateng, who plays Mary Sunshine, is in her second LC production as an actor.

“It’s kind of crazy to think this is the last one because Loomis is the first place I did any theatrical production. I’d always been a huge fan of musicals as a kid. To have the journey over, it feels good to have been a part of it for four years,” Angela said.

Turning to Joy, Angela went on to say, “But to leave my dear ones ...” She had mixed emotions, for sure.

Joy appreciates the wealth of theatrical experience among her fellow cast members. “They have been here, some for four years, and it is great to have their expertise, all that they know, all their memories, and sharing that with you,” she said.

Angela turned again to Joy. “I will say we learn a lot from the younger ones. ... To watch Joy on stage, see her stage presence, it helps us be more attuned to our characters, so we learn a lot from each other.”

“I think no matter what class you’re in,” Joy responded, “we all connect with each other, just in different ways. It's nice.”

Joy said she has always enjoyed theater. “I just love the creativity that comes with it,” she said. “And it’s not just the stage but everything that goes on behind the scenes, the lighting, the costumes, the music, the live orchestra. All those components mixed together are magical. It's just amazing.”

One of many people making things happen behind the scenes is junior Boden Bubb, who helps with the lighting. He said he appreciates "all the things that come together behind the scenes that no one really gets to see, but there is so much work that goes on there."

chicago prop

Junior Natalie Poole created this prop for the show.

Senior Brigham Cooper, who plays Amos Hart, stepped on the stage for the first time in the winter of his freshman year, and here he is in his last show. He said he will remember many moments during the course of his career but most of all “having a blast with all these people.”

Senior Jonathan Sullivan plays Billy Flynn. “There is going to be a lot of emotion for sure in the last performances,” he said. “I am really excited and have a lot of family coming. I’ve come a long way. I never thought I’d be in a musical ... or have this much singing in a musical. I’m really excited with the singing role, but also it’s sad that this is the last performance.”

For sophomore Sonia Barinskaya, there are more performances to come. She plays Velma Kelly.

“It is a great honor to be Velma, and I want to honor the role, and people love this show and I want to do justice for everyone,” Sofia said.  “Velma is playful, confident, and exciting, and it allows me to be that.”

The smile, the excitement, the anticipation — all that jazz — never left her face as she spoke.

LCPA Theater Luncheon

The annual Loomis Chaffee Parents Association (LCPA) Theater Luncheon is Saturday, February 17, before the matinee performance. The schedule:

11:30 a.m.: Reception and Meet the Cast and Crew

12:30 p.m.: Luncheon

2 p.m.: Performance of Chicago

Tickets are $40 and include the meet-and-greet, lunch, and show. Register here.


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