Chicago: High School Edition behind the scenes


Photo by Viggo Jabon

Unfortunately, this show has been POSTPONED due to the Coronavirus. Keep all of this great information in mind when you get to see the show later in the year! 

 While many people get to enjoy the finished product, they may not realize the countless hours of preparation that go on behind the scenes. With this in mind, Hi’s Eye decided to talk to some of the people the audience will never see, but are the heart and soul of the show.

Costumes: Gabrielle DeCotiis

When watching the plays or musicals at WHS, it’s impossible to miss the stunning costumes, and while the audience is able to appreciate a costume’s final product, the costume does not just come like that.

Senior Gabrielle DeCotiis is the co-head of the costumes crew. “As a crew, we pull costumes from our closets, order or buy them or make them ourselves,” said DeCotiis. Along with putting together costumes, the crew also does all the alterations.

In her role, DeCotiis has to make a costume plot: an inventory of all the costumes each actor wears in a scene. During the show, members of the crew help with quick changes behind the scenes. “There are full costume changes backstage that are as fast as 20 seconds,” said DeCotiis.

In total, DeCotiis estimates that she puts in about 200 hours over the course of one show. Many of these hours come from the regular meetings that the costume crew has every day after school along with tech week.

Graphic Design & Publicity: Dustin Paden

Senior Dustin Paden is the head of graphic design and publicity. While this job is commonly overlooked, Paden and his crew are the reason why many people attend the musical. Paden produces all original artwork for the posters, program covers, advertisements, t-shirts and other visual components of the production.

Paden said, “I spend countless hours on late nights designing artwork and constructing the stage set.” Despite long hours, Paden believes it has been worth it. “The most rewarding part of my job is being able to use my passion for art to represent our theater department in the community,” said Paden.

Makeup and Hair: Lindsay Sherman 

Senior Lindsay Sherman is the head of makeup and hair for all theatre productions. While gathering makeup and applying it to each character may seem easy, Sherman and her crew have to come up with the perfect way to mimic the looks of the characters they are each playing. Specifically for the show. Sherman and her crew will be mirroring the looks from the original Broadway show by including the brown bobs, red lips and smokey eyes.

Props Designer: Daisy Torralba 

Props are an essential part of all musicals and junior Daisy Torralba, is the prop designer for Chicago: High School Edition. In order to make the props as accurate as possible for the time period, she researched all the props in the show before either buying or making them.

Torralba is especially proud of some of the props she and her crew constructed for the show. “I designed these two cardboard cameras (that actually flash) and we constructed them [ourselves],” said Torralba.

Tech Crew & Production Coordinator: Cas Malak

Senior Cas Malak is the head of tech crew and production coordinator for the show. As head, he coordinates between the heads of lighting, sound and automation about everything that needs to get done for the show. “The hardest part of the job is making sure that everyone is all together and on the same page and making sure that no one has conflicting meeting dates or else one group can’t work while the other one can,” said Malak.

Actors: Kayla Louison

During the show, the audience gets to watch the actors perform the lines they have been practicing for months. However, the actors do a lot more to get into character than just learning their lines. 

The musical Chicago is based on the lives of two murderesses in the Cook County Jail. As a result, the actors have had to explore the inspiration behind their characters in order to accurately play their roles. Sophomore Kayla Louison, who plays June, said, “This year I had to make a character notebook and explore the backstory of my character and the time period of these Chicago murders.”

Additionally, before the show begins, the actors have rituals they do to get rid of their nerves. “We do a ‘shake out’ and some other exercises to get out all the pre-show jitters,” said Louison.