The Student News Site of Saratoga High School

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

Drama department to put on unique spring musical

The drama department will be showcasing the musical “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” on April 24, 25 and 26 as well as May 1 and 2. Unlike most shows, the audience will get to choose the ending.

“The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” a musical based on the unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, was written by Rupert Holmes and was the first Broadway musical with multiple endings.

“I knew that we were never going to be able to find a title as popular as ‘Les Mis,’  drama teacher Sarah Thermond said. “So I decided not to try, and to instead pick a show that audiences could get excited about for a totally different reason: the fact that anything could happen, and that it depends on them.”

The actual musical is a show within a show about the actors in the musical “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” Junior Nina Nelson plays the female impersonator who plays Drood in the musical. Drood is the heir to his family’s fortune and engaged to Rosa Bud, played by senior Natalie Miller.

However, Drood’s uncle John Jasper, played by senior Danny Kawadri, as well as many other characters, resent Drood for being so wealthy and successful. When Drood goes missing, there are many different characters who may have been responsible for his disappearance.

At the end of the show, the audience will get to vote on who they think killed Drood by evaluating the motives of each character, and the cast will perform accordingly. The Orchestra will also be rehearsing nine different pieces to accompany each of the nine possible endings of the musical.

Although the ending requires some improvisation on the cast’s part, Rupert Holmes wrote a script for the nine possible  endings because Dickens died before he could write the ending of his novel.

As a result of the heavy audience participation, the cast will need to work extra hours just to prepare the last 20 to 30 minutes of the musical.

“For me, the challenge is to figure out how to train my cast to be ready to improvise and get comfortable interacting so much with the audience,” Thermond said. “It’s not like training them to memorize exact lines and staging; I also need to train them to be confident and creative in the high-pressure situation of a huge performance.”

Thermond has already devised a plan on how to better prepare her cast for the improvisation. For the last few weeks of rehearsal, Thermond said she will choose a different ending every night so the cast can practice the constant changes they will face during the show.

Currently the cast practices every day for two hours. Every practice, except Tuesday and Thursday are vocal rehearsals.

In addition, Thermond has included something called the “Audience Ensemble,” which enables students who cannot commit as much time to the show. The ensemble has many roles since their performance is supposed to adapt to the murder the audience chooses. It will also be performing a few of the songs in the musical as well.

For example, sophomore Naman Sajwan decided to join the Audience Ensemble because he took drama this year, enjoyed it, but could not invest as much time into the musical since he also had soccer and academics to take care of.
Sajwan also felt that the audition process was a great experience.

“[Thermond] and her crew are just extremely comfortable to be around and so I did not feel any pressure going into it,” Sajwan said.

The musical this year will also include more high-energy dance numbers and songs, similar to “Thoroughly Modern Millie” in 2013. The cast is excited to bring that positive energy back to the McAfee Center after last year’s more serious show, “Les Mis.”

“[The show has] got a great mix of humor and suspense, and watching the actors, crew and orchestra work to make your choices come to life is the kind of thing you don’t usually get to see at high school theatre,” Thermond said.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

All The Saratoga Falcon Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *