Drama Club Presenting a Tale of Fame, Fortune, and All That Jazz

Friday, April 19, 2013
Close-up of performer Kendra Moore, who is wearing a headband with a large feather.
Musical Performer: Veteran drama club performer Kendra Moore plays the role of vaudevillian Velma Kelly in the musical Chicago. (Photo by Samantha McGranahan)

Rose-Hulman Drama Club Musical

April 19-20 - 7:30 p.m.
April 21 - 2:30 p.m.
April 25-27 - 7:30 p.m.

Hatfield Hall Theater
Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
5500 Wabash Ave., Terre Haute

Tickets: $18 for adults; $13 for non-RHIT students.

Tickets may be purchased in person at the
Hatfield Hall ticket desk or by calling
812-877-8544. Ticket desk hours are
weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.,
Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m., and two
hours before each event.

Information about Hatfield Hall Theater
shows can be found at www.hatfieldhall.com.

Big musical numbers and fabulous footwork tell a tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz when Rose-Hulman's drama club opens the musical, Chicago, on Friday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Hall Theater.

Set in prohibition-era Chicago, the musical is based on a 1926 play originally written by reporter Maurine Dallas Watkins. The story sprung from her experience covering sensational trials of the time, and both indicts the corrupt criminal justice machine and satirizes the notion of the celebrity criminal.

Chicago tells the story of chorus girl Roxie Hart, accused of murder, who usurps the spotlight from previous media darling murderess, vaudevillian Velma Kelly. She and corrupt jail matron Matron "Mama" Morton are none too happy about losing Velma's celebrity status. Meanwhile, Roxie has also stolen Velma's lawyer, Billy Flynn, who always wins acquittals for his clients by generating sympathy for them in the press.

Once set to music, along with being accompanied by plenty of dancing, the tale loses much of its original darkness. Numbers like "All That Jazz" and "Razzle Dazzle" have made Chicago one of the most popular modern musicals, carrying it from a 1975 debut, to a 1996 Broadway revival that has seen over 6,000 performances and won six Tony Awards.

Emily Yedinak plays Roxie Hart. The senior, a chemistry and chemical engineering major, has been a fan of the musical for years. Roxie, she explains, is immature and fickle.

"A teenage girl is basically what she is," Yedinak observes.

Yedinak, a native of Lake in the Hills, Ill., has been performing in musical productions since high school. This drama club production will be her eighth and last musical at Rose-Hulman.

Roxie Hart is a role she relishes. "There are a couple of things that are hilarious to do because I get to interact with 'the Roxie boys'," she notes. Roxie's boys are her own personal all-male chorus line whose members sing, dance, and finger-snap through the song.

"The stage production is very different from the movie. The movie is a lot darker and the stage production is more vaudeville," Yedinak notes.

Chicago is a large production with a cast of approximately 50 students, many of whom are drama club musical veterans.

"We just have a powerhouse cast," Yedinak adds.

Senior Melissa Montgomery plays Morton, the jailhouse's corrupt overseer and would-be agent to Velma.

"She is a tough cookie who runs a jailhouse of lovely ladies, and she might accept a bribe or two," Montgomery says. "She just likes to have fun and she likes money, and whatever it takes to have fun and get money, she'll do it."

Montgomery, a biomedical and mechanical engineering major, has participated in at least one drama club production each year. Acting is a love she brought with her from her hometown of Alexandria, Ind. "I've been in plays and community theater since second grade. My very first role I was a male pig salesman…I did a bunch of different character things because I could do a bunch of different voices. So that's why I was a guy," she chuckles.

Montgomery says the movie adaptation of Chicago has long been one of her favorite movies. She was excited to learn that Rose Drama Club would be doing the stage production.

Performers on dark stage wearing black costumes
Showcasing Many Talents: The acting, singing, and dancing skills of drama club members will be featured in the musical, Chicago, on the Hatfield Hall Theater stage. (Photo by Samantha McGrahan)

"I was completely jazzed," she says. "And it's such a different turn from the darkness we did in Phantom of the Opera last year."

Rose-Hulman's Director of Student Performing Arts, Bunny Nash, shares Montgomery's enthusiasm.

"This is a really exciting show for us to do because it really highlights our student's dancing talent. And our choreographer, Patti Willey of The Academy of Dance, has done a phenomenal job with this show."

Performances continue on Saturday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, April 21 at 2:30 p.m. Shows are also scheduled on April 25-27 at 7:30 p.m.

This show contains mature themes and may not be suitable for younger audiences.