Arts and Entertainment

Bothell High performers are in tune with 'A Grand Night for Singing'

'A Grand Night for Singing'
— image credit: Courtesy graphic

“A Grand Night for Singing,” Bothell High's spring musical this year, promises to be just that. A combination of songs and medleys from some of Broadway’s most loved musicals, the show will run at 7:30 p.m. on April 6, 7, 13 and 14 with 2 p.m. matinees on April 7 and 14 at the Northshore Preforming Arts Center (NPAC).

Unlike previous years, the musical is not traditional in the sense of roles and plot. Instead, the musical is a revue of 31 Rodgers and Hammerstein love songs in two acts.

“I chose ('A Grand Night for Singing') because we had the shortest rehearsal time ever,” says drama director James Wilson. Due to the rotation of time slots for the high schools’ shows at the NPAC, the cast only had six weeks to rehearse.

However, some students felt that the revue-style musical was more difficult to put on than a traditional musical.

“It’s harder because there is more content in dancing and singing. Also, it makes it more difficult to perform since there are no roles; we have no inclination as to what to act as,” says sophomore Leela Trumbo in response to her first drama experience at Bothell.

Junior Riley Siewert shares similar views. “Since (the musical) isn’t traditional and there are no speaking parts, I think it’s harder. It’s more difficult to learn all the lyrics and choreography, and we have to switch the mics with all the singing.”

Wilson also comments on the challenges the musical poses.

“The most challenging aspect is the five-part harmonies,” he says. The cast has also put in longer rehearsals to stay on time. “We have had four-hour rehearsals every day, as compared to the musical last year when we put in two hours a day.”

Despite the challenges, Wilson is confident the show will be a success.

“The cast is vey good about stepping up the challenge because the show is so unique,” he comments.

Some students are excited about the revue-style musical.

Senior Ashley Tohlen says, “They’re a different type of cast, very different from ‘The Wiz’ (the spring musical last year). It has a more close-knit feel like the Broadway Musical Revue.”

Siewert also feels similarly. “Since there are no parts or leads, there is not as much rivalry or bitterness between the cast.”

The musical is similar to the Broadway Musical Revue (BMR) Bothell puts on in early September. However, there are a few differences.

“BMR is just a group of any songs,” explains Wilson. “The musical is a revue of all Rodgers and Hammerstein songs. However, all of their music has been re-orchestrated for different parts. It will be like Shakespeare of musical theatre.”

Similar to BMR, the revue does not strictly follow a storyline.

“All the songs deal with different forms of love; puppy love, first love, mature love, parental love. It’s a lot about love,” says Wilson.

The cast’s initial reaction to the revue-style musical was not love at first sight.

"The cast was mostly surprised because nobody was familiar with it,” comments Wilson. “But now they are all sold on it.”

The obscurity of this year’s musical worries some of the cast members about the turnout.

“It is difficult to predict the audience reaction,” says Wilson. “But I think it will be very successful for people who appreciate music.” The songs are from popular and classic musicals such as “Oklahoma,” “South Pacific” and “The King and I.”

“I think it does have potential to draw an audience because it is great music,” comments Trumbo.  “Most people would like it because it is classic musical songs with a fresh approach,” says Wilson.

*Ticketing: $8 for students with ID, $12 for seniors and military and $14 for adults. Tickets can be purchased in advance at www.bothelldrama.org.

Alexandra Graff is a Bothell High senior.

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