This will be Rebber’s first lead role, having previously been casted in the ensemble. “Im enjoying it a lot. Its a lot of late hours and hard work put into the show but I know that its going to turn out amazingly,” Rebber said.
This will be Rebber’s first lead role, having previously been casted in the ensemble. “I’m enjoying it a lot. It’s a lot of late hours and hard work put into the show but I know that it’s going to turn out amazingly,” Rebber said.
Photo used with permission from Mikki Schaffner Photography

Chicago

Over the course of this school year, the theatre department has chosen to produce multiple shows that intend to prompt discussion, such as “The Laramie Project,” which discusses LQBTQ+ discrimination. Their newest show “Chicago,” premiering on Feb. 15, will do the same by posing questions regarding the American legal system and media neutrality.

The production centers on two criminals with parallel stories, Roxie Hart and Velma Kelly, who use the media to portray themselves in a positive light. 

“‘Chicago’ is about 1920s America, specifically Chicago, Illinois and about this character Roxie, [who] murders her lover,” Lizzy Rebber, ‘24, who plays Roxie, said. 

The other strong female lead is Velma, who murders her husband after finding him cheating on her with her sister.

“But Roxy comes in and steals [Velma’s] spotlight and becomes the new star, the new ‘it girl,’ and then gets Billy Flynn as her lawyer: he’s the star of the courtroom,” Rebber said. “But in the end, Roxy and Velma join forces realizing that America is a little messy and not really the greatest. Especially the justice system.”

Outside of putting on amazing shows, the theater program has also fostered new skills and hobbies for students. “I picked up lighting last May and I totally fell in love with it, I’m going to college for a BFA in lighting design,” Peerless said.
(Photo used with permission of Walnut Hills theater department.)

“Chicago” attempts to present these heavy questions about crime and media in a light and carefree manner. The use of elaborate dancing and singing numbers helps to accomplish this and also works to draw the audience in. However, these strategies were challenging for the cast and crew to execute.

“It’s very technical,” Izzy Lachey, ‘24, who plays Velma, said. “Dance-wise, a lot of the people in the show [don’t have] years and years of dance training. So [for] a lot of them, this is their first time dancing on [a] stage.”

The crew has also faced multiple lighting challenges that added to the complexity of the production process. 

“This was my first time designing in our auditorium,” Ryan Peerless, ‘24, a lighting designer, said.  “So I had to learn about the space. I’m renting intelligent fixtures, which are lights that you can program to move wherever you want them to. I’m the first person to ever put those in our space here, so I had to figure out a lot about trying to make it work.”

Due to the fact that “Chicago” contains such mature themes, some parts of the show had to be adapted for younger audiences. 

“There have been some line changes that had to happen,” Rebber said. “But our director, Sherm [Michael Sherman], thinks it is very important to keep a lot of the original material because there was a reason that it was written in there. Unfortunately, some great songs [needed to be] taken out.”

One song that was fortunately spared from the chopping block was “Cell Block Tango,” a favorite of both Lachey and Peerless, which tells the story of six women in prison who were all convicted of killing their partners.

“I love doing ‘Cell Block Tango’ because it is really cool,” Lachey said. “[It’s about] girls killing boys.”

Aside from being co-stars, Lachey and Rebber are also good friends and are delighted to be able to star in “Chicago” together.

“Our parents have been friends since high school. They went to the same high school together [but] we both were born in different states,” Rebber said. “Then we both ended up moving back to Ohio when we were younger, [and] we have this random photo of us playing soccer together. [There were] so many coincidences that somehow led to us ending up in SENIOR year of high school playing leads together.”

“Chicago” is far from Rebber’s first jaunt onto the WHHS stage. Prior to this, she has been in 22 shows. However, because she is a SENIOR, this will be her last show.

“[It’s] very bittersweet,” Rebber said. “I’m happy that [I’m] going out with a bang, but it is definitely sad to know that I will be leaving these people, and most of them [I] might not see again. So it is very sad in that way but [I’m] also happy that I do get to have one final show with them.”

For Rebber’s final show, she hopes that the audience leaves with a feeling of excitement. 

There’s a certain excitement that I feel after I go to a show where I’m like, ‘Wow, that was so full of energy,’” Rebber said. “But also, I would like the [audience] to really question and think a little bit about what they did just see.”

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Elena Brown
Elena Brown, Managing Editor of Student Life
In her second year as a Chatterbox staff member, Elena Brown, ‘27 is looking forward to working as a Managing Editor this year. She hopes to become more confident and to become a better writer this year. Brown also plays soccer outside of school. She enjoys hiking and being outside. Brown also loves to read and plays the guitar. While Brown does not have one specific college in mind, she hopes to study environmental science and to eventually have a career that will make an impact.
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