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Chadwick School - 26800 S Academy Drive, Palos Verdes Peninsula, CA - (310) 377-1543


Volume 65 Number 4

Another first for Chadwick: Theater students fired up for Zorro

by David Ding - 2015-02-19


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After its November performance of Animal Farm, the Chadwick theater department has been busily preparing to become the first high school ever to perform the iconic Spanish musical Zorro.

The California Educational Theatre Assn. (CETA) hosts a yearly theater competition that includes Chadwick as a participant. Hundreds of schools traveled to Fullerton in January to present their productions in front of judges and large audiences.

After performing Animal Farm in an extremely condensed 15-minute version, Chadwick’s cast won awards for best ensemble, and Elijah DeVaughn won the award for best supporting actor. It was the third time that Chadwick has won best ensemble.

“We had an amazing response. The audience loved it. They gave us two spontaneous applauses throughout the show. Students worked incredibly hard; we rehearsed Friday and Saturday night until 1 in the morning,” said Director Nigel Williams, Head of the Chadwick Theater Department.

Chadwick was selected to perform Zorro, an original musical from Spain. The show was created for a 20-man cast. Chadwick faces creating additional parts for its 40-person crew. The cast itself also faces multiple challenges, such as some of the text being in Spanish, and adapting Spanish accents.

These challenges become harder because there are no other performances to reference. Chadwick is the first high school to perform Zorro, so the production will serve as a blueprint for high schools in the future.

“We feel that we have a responsibility to create a lasting work that can be a consummate example for future audiences for what is possible with this amazing show,” said assistant director David Bloom.

The cast isn’t the whole part of the production; the stage crew has always been behind the scenes working on every show.

The stage crew makes sure that the lighting is correct, but on top of the basics, they make sure the stage is presentable. Alex Dean, a production stage manager, works hard on making sure everyone is always in the right place.

“On show nights, we make it clear exactly how each member of the team is key to the process and what they’ll be doing at any given moment,” Dean said.

Like the cast, the stage crew also faces many challenges.

“The bigger challenge we face is that the magnitude and level of coordination is beyond anything we’ve attempted before,” Dean said.

“Also, we’ve added projections intended to help tell the story of Zorro, which is something we’ve never done before.”

Zorro tickets were sold out on the first day tickets went on sale, with more than 500 put on a waiting list. Williams had to add an extra showing next Wednesday and Saturday, Feb. 25.

The continued success of the theater department has not, however, changed the way Williams feels about theater.

“I think we’ve been acknowledged as a department that is doing really high-quality work,” Williams said. “Theater for me, though, has never been and will never be a competition. I think any school doing theater, in my book, is a winner.”



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Article Keywords:

chadwick, zorro, theater, department, school, cast, show, williams, crew, production, stage, challenge, face

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