ITPA’s Chicago: High School Edition Rocks Independence


Independence Theatre and Performing Arts (ITPA) has “razzle-dazzled” audiences through the course of six shows. Their rendition of Chicago: High School Edition by Bob Fosse hit the stage on Friday, May 7, for a sold-out opening night. Led by Director David Noland, the cast and crew continued their review-raving run through Saturday’s matinee and evening shows, and repeated the three-show pattern the following weekend.

Despite major challenges posed by the pandemic, Chicago was a resounding success, selling out completely for five of the six shows. Performers and audiences alike were ecstatic to watch ITPA’s stage lights go up, live and in-person, for the first time in over a year.

“It was fantastic to actually experience theatre for the first time in well over a year, and to see some amazingly talented kids in one of my favorite shows was just awesome. The characters were very well played, the voices were phenomenal, and the dancing was also on point. All in all, just an amazing experience,” applauded Independence science teacher, Mr. Josh Mosser. 

Chicago has been in the works since September by one of ITPA’s two Musical Theatre classes. The production was a class show, meaning the bulk of the production’s development was completed in the constraints of Musical Theatre’s 90-minute class block, which was all virtual for much of the school year. 

Junior stage manager, Charlotte Waxvik, described how the challenges of distance and hybrid learning affected the undertaking of the show. “The pandemic has definitely changed the stage managing process. If we were in person and we were doing a show, we would start to learn our blocking, or where we are onstage, at the beginning of the year. Unfortunately, because we couldn’t come into the building until March, we had to learn all our blocking in March,” explained Waxvik.

Additionally, in pursuance of following all COVID protocols, performers were required to wear masks during performances, and audience capacities were capped at 100 members per show. Seats were assigned upon arrival to ensure social distancing was maintained between parties.

Junior performer Chrissy Martin portrayed the Hungarian murderess Katalin Hunyak in all evening shows, and starred as Roxie Hart in the featured understudy, matinee performances. Martin reflected on the 9-month experience of constructing the show.

“It was really refreshing to move from all virtual rehearsals to being back in person, in front of a real audience. I loved everything about this show and I’m so proud of how far we’ve come as a company. I think Chicago was really the perfect show for ITPA’s return to the stage,” she said. 

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