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RHHS takes to the stage Thursday
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Richmond Hill High School students and cast members of the musical Chicago rehearse recently in preparation for this weeks performances. (Suzy Lane)

Ever wanted to travel back in time to a Prohibition-era big city rife with corruption and celebrity criminals? Well, Richmond Hill High School will be offering just that with its production of the musical “Chicago” at 7 p.m. Thursday and Friday at the Pre-K Center auditorium, 120 Constitution Way.

“I always struggle choosing a musical every year,” said Jamie Hillen, the chorus director at RHHS who puts together the school’s annual musical. “I try to match the students I have to shows they might like … (‘Chicago’) is a great show – it’s very recent and I knew I could get a lot of participation for it.”

And participation he got. From auditions in January that were open to the entire school came a cast of 22. Behind the scenes are more than a dozen students taking care of lighting, sound, make up and more. And another 12 students will be providing tunes as the school band will serve as the live pit band for the show.

Hillen said there is even a parent who will be playing the saxophone. And with so much dancing, he said the show has required two choreographers, Rachael Anderson, an RHHS student who is heading to Savannah Arts Academy, and Amanda Murphy, a 2004 RHHS graduate who now substitute teaches at the school.

Based on a 1926 play by Chicago Tribune reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins, “Chicago” tells the story of Roxie Hart, a chorus girl who murders her boyfriend, then manages not only to avoid prison with the help of razzle-dazzle lawyer Billy Flynn, but uses the trial to propel herself to showbiz stardom along with another murderous chorus girl, Velma Kelly. A dark parable of American justice, “Chicago” is a musical extravaganza that includes several show-stopping numbers such as “All That Jazz,” “Razzle Dazzle” and “Class.”

“Some of the themes are a little adult … and we’ve made some changes,” Hillen said. “But I think it will be funny and entertaining, and I think everyone will love it.”

For  more, pick up a copy of the April 2 edition of the News.

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