Roseville High School senior Seth Foresi practices his lines as Amos Hart for the school’s upcoming production of the Broadway musical “Chicago.”

Roseville High School senior Seth Foresi practices his lines as Amos Hart for the school’s upcoming production of the Broadway musical “Chicago.”

Photo provided by Kristina Collins

Roseville High School musical highlights crime, lies and ‘all that jazz’

By: Brendan Losinski | Roseville - Eastpointe Eastsider | Published January 18, 2019


ROSEVILLE — Roseville High School is taking audiences on a music-filled trip back to the 1920s with its upcoming production of “Chicago.”

The popular Broadway musical tells the story of two women accused of murder and their finding themselves as celebrities for their crimes as they work to twist the justice system to their advantage.

“The students were the ones who picked ‘Chicago’ for the musical this year,” said director and Roseville High School choir teacher Kristina Collins. “The choir and some other students went on a trip to New York last year, and we usually see a big musical, and they picked ‘Chicago’ to go see. Since the high school version came out this year, they were excited to put on their own performance.”

Performances will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, and Friday, Feb. 22, at Roseville Middle School, 16250 Martin Road. Tickets will cost $10 for all seats — it is open seating — and people can call (586) 445-5540 for ticket information.

Collins said the students are performing a new version of the play specifically made for high school productions.

“We are doing the high school version, so we cannot use the same colors or exact logos, and some of the seedier parts, such as profanity, have been removed, but it is the same play produced by the same people,” she explained. “This is the first year that high school edition has been released, so we are one of the first high schools to perform it.”

Instead of the high school, the students are hosting their performances at Roseville Middle School because of its better facilities.

“It has a state-of-the-art stage,” said Collins. “There is a restaurant in the building that is used by our culinary arts program. It’s being converted into a speakeasy where people can order food and mocktails. People can go in before the show and there will be a staged raid by police. … There also will be a pre-show of Roseville Community Schools elementary students performing a song and dance performance prior to both shows.”

Collins said these additional attractions at the performances are made possible by the work of many other students and staff in the district beyond the drama program.

“We have so many interesting programs going on in our school district,” she added. “We have had the marketing class doing a project to advertise the performances. The restaurant class is helping prepare and serve the food at the speakeasy.”

Senior Cody Quiroz, who plays Billy Flynn in the production, said the musical was one that appealed to many of the students in the school’s drama program and made them want to bring it to life themselves.

“I’ve been in the musicals all four years, including ‘Once on This Island,’ ‘Grease,’ and ‘High School Musical.’ I also was on the choir trip to New York when we saw the professional production of ‘Chicago.’ We were all fans of the movie. We did one of the songs in show choir. We liked the musical. The music was so good, the production was fantastic and the storyline was so intriguing, we wanted to put it on ourselves.”

Quiroz said he believes “Chicago” is an even more apt story than ever with its skewering of celebrity mania and the abuse of the justice system.

“I think there are a lot of parallels in the show with what’s going on in America today,” he said. “The whole thing is about injustice and is a satire with the characters saying how great America is because they could literally get away with murder. It’s very extravagant and a lot of big musical numbers and funny jokes and an intriguing storyline.”

Many of the student actors said they were pleased to get to do a musical that is less common and more distinct than most other high school shows.

“It’s very intriguing and how everything goes down and how everything works, especially when you compare it to real life,” said Riley Joyner, who plays Velma Kelly. “I think a lot of schools stick to a few specific musicals, and this is a very different production than you usually see. I think a lot of schools wouldn’t want to do it because of some of the more mature parts of it, but art is supposed to be controversial.”

Both the cast and crew think the jazz-inspired musical numbers, satirically humorous story and flashy dance numbers will mean a great show for audiences.

“It opens with the lines ‘You’re about to see a story of murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, cheating and treachery; all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts,’ and it’s a great way to poke fun at the roaring ’20s time period, and it’s got great music and great dance numbers,” Collins said. “It’s got so much going on and a lot for audiences to enjoy.”