From March 28th-31st, 33 Los Al Drama students attended the CA State Thespian Festival at Upland High School. Los Alamitos was honored at every turn, and represented Los Alamitos High School with dignity, professionalism, and grace.
Students competed in Individual Events (IE's), auditions, and took part in a variety of workshops.
2018 CA STATE THESPIAN HONOR TROUPE
After a lengthy application process outlining the work that the Los Al Drama Department, Troupe 7944 has done, which included work for "Trick or Treat so Kids Can Eat", "Houston, We Have a Solution," the growth of our program and troupe, money raised for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, as well as letters of recommendation written by our own administration, Los Al Drama was name 2018 CA State Thespian Honor Troupe, a huge honor that is not even granted every year!
2018 SENIOR HONOR THESPIAN
After an application process and a live interview, Anna Baker was named the 2018 Senior Honor Thespian!
Louie Gallagher and Leah Schiffer (both sophomores) received Undergrad Scholarships after both an application and audition process. These scholarships will help them pay for their trips to the International Thespian Festival this summer at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska.
LOS AL'S VERY FIRST STO
Junior Connor Franzen was elected to the 2018-2019 State Thespian Board as an STO (State Thespian Officer), making him the very FIRST STO from Los Alamitos High School. He will work with the other STO's to organize all of the CA State Thespian Events for the 2018-2019 school year. This includes an officer retreat, the Southern and Northern Leadership Festivals, the CA State Junior Thespian Festival, the Southern, Central, and Northern Play Festivals, and the CA State Thespian Festival.
Senior Anna Baker's play, Exist to Exist, was chosen out of almost 30 original plays to be produced at the CA State Thespian Festival. Junior Melanie Tanaka was then cast in Anna's play. This play was staged in just 24 hours and was performed in front of over 1500 people at one of the All-Festival Events.
LOS AL THEATRE TECHNICIANS
Senior Shelby Marsh and junior Karina Salas were both chosen, after personal interviews and online applications, for the Scenic Art/Paint crew for the Closing Show, a full performance presented in 48 hours.
OPENING AND CLOSING SHOWS
Seniors Trinity Lane and Chloe Lim were chosen in advance, through online audition videos to perform (including a featured duet) in the Opening Show, which included musical numbers from the musical Matilda. They had two rehearsals before they performed in front of the 1600 people festival. Senior Micaela Erickson was chosen in advance, through online audition video, to perform in the Closing Show, a 40 minute song cycle called "The Theory of Relativity" for the entire festival.
Entitled Geese, Junior Connor Franzen and sophomore Louie Gallagher placed THIRD in showcase with the piece that they originally created for their LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts) Exam, which also garnered them high marks.
BROADWAY CARES/EQUITY FIGHTS AIDS
Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is one of the nation's leading industry-based HIV/AIDS fundraising and grant-making organizations. They fund the social service work of The Actors Fund and award grants to AIDS service organizations nationwide.
After Los Al Drama's fundraising efforts (including a garage sale), Troupe 7944 placed FIRST in the amount donated to BC/EFA by school at the State Events!
I.E. EVENT FINALS
Making it to Finals with and IE placed students in the top 5% of all performers. Out of over 2000 IE's that were performed at State, only 100 IE's are called back for Finals.
Our students who made it to finals were:
Connor Franzen/Macy Boren - Duet Musical
Louie Gallager/Micaela Erickson - Duet Acting
Melanie Takana - Monologues
Macy Boren - Monologues
IE EVENT SUPERIORS
Receiving a Superior in your IE is the highest score you can receive. Earning a superior in your event qualifies students to take that same event to the International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, NE this summer.
Earned superiors this year are:
Marshall Davis/Shelby Marsh - Duet Musical
Connor Franzen - Monologues
Macy Boren/Connor Franzen - Duet Musical
Macy Boren - Monologues
Louie Gallagher/Micaela Erickson - Duet Acting
Micaela Erickson - Solo Musical
Melanie Tanaka - Monologues
Karina Salas - Costume Design
Rylee Burchett - Solo Musical
LOS AL DRAMA ROCKS!
Over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, the cast of the fall production of Play On! attended the CETA (CA Educational Theatre Association) Festival at Los Osos High School in Rancho Cucamonga. In addition to taking workshops, and seeing four full-length productions, the cast presented an 8-minute cutting of the show for competition in the SCENEWORKS division.
For Sceneworks, the results were:
Best Supporting Actor: Loue Gallagher
Best Supporting Actress: Leah Schiffer
For the overall productions, Los Al Drama received the following merit awards:
-Faith Lee- sound
-Shelby Marsh- scenic
-Joe Rios- lighting
Receiving the Director's Award:
On Saturday, December 9th, 1/2 of Los Al Advanced Drama attended MET FEST, a one-act festival at Montclair High School. the one act entitled AP THEATRE was performed by the following students:
Los Al competed against ten other schools. At the end of the day, AP Theatre placed 1st overall, won Best Ensemble, Cole Schneider and Christian D'Alessandro received Outstanding Actor recognition, and Connor Franzen took home the award for Best Actor!
Congratulations to Los Al Drama!
"Play On!" played masterfully by Los Alamitos
The whimsical tale of a community theater company and their escapades come to life on the stage of Los Alamitos high school amid remarkable student work, both onstage and offstage.
Melanie Tanaka shines in her role of the theater director "Gerry" Dunbar, lovably and humorously progressing from patiently encouraging her cast to shape up and learn their lines to frantically fretting before opening night at their woeful under preparation to a final resignation at their company's gargantuan yet glorious failure the night of the show.
Connor Franzen takes his character the extra mile, not only fully committing to Saul Watson's rude demeanor and inappropriately timed jokes, but taking his performance even further in his portrayal of Watson when he becomes drunk halfway through their show. Franzen handles this character change responsibly, not overdoing his stupor but playing him appropriately for the character by getting in the other actors' faces and holding up the act even when he wasn't the focus of attention.
The cast in its entirety demonstrated a superior grasp of the workings of a cast, playing their characters so well that they never lost grasp of their original traits and letting their characters' personalities cross into their stage characters'. As almost every actor is playing a character playing a character, it is a very difficult task for them to keep track of each one, a task the cast tackled professionally and consistently.
The set, as designed by Shelby Marsh, was stunningly realistic and accurate to that of a community theater, complete with walls that began the show as incomplete and revealing the "backstage" of the theater to a completed rendition of a victorian era house for the characters' play within a play. Thanks to the diligent research of the set designers the set was not only believable but relatable as well, sporting hand painted "wallpaper" with a stencil created by the students.
The costumes were creatively and cleverly assembled by Grace Coil and Bre Pitts. Each character's personality was accurately reflected in their dress, such as Tanaka's sweater, turtleneck, and simple dress, which embodied the persona of a theater director. In addition to Tanaka, Franzen's costume was worth noting, popping and standing out which reflected Watson's charismatic and larger-than-life character. The costumes only continue to impress as they displayed the reality of everyday people in Act I with simple, everyday t-shirts and jeans, reminding through their appearances in costume for their dress rehearsal and show of the hilariousness of a meta play.
Makeup was done exceptionally by Micaela Erickson, McKenna Brennan, and Zee Castillo, complementing the costumes splendidly and showing the various ages of the characters from the teenage "Smitty" Smith (Macy Boren) to the mature Polly Benish (Micaela Erickson).
An enjoyable and gut-splitting cast, Los Alamitos displays a talented and skillfully managed show full of a wide array of student talent stretching from the characters naturally brought to life to the construction of the very world they perform in.
by Garrett Larson of El Dorado
The show must go on at Los Alamitos High School
"Play On!" tells the story of a theater putting on a local woman's play, Murder Most Foul. In this play within a play, it is three days before opening night of "Murder Most Foul" and the playwright is still making changes, the actors don't know their lines, and all the sound effects have been erased. Will these amateur actors pull it off?
Los Alamitos High School's production of "Play On!" is humorous and exciting. Extraordinary actors and superb tech elements create a hilarious production causing laughter for miles.
Melanie Tanaka as the director Gerry Dunbar is captivating. Tanaka exudes stress as she paces back and forth between the stage and the audience. With that, she shows the progression of rehearsals to performance through her snappy tone during dress rehearsals and motherly pep talks before the show.
Alexiss Lloyd is the lovable Louise Peary who can't seem to do anything right. Playing a techie, Lloyd steals the show with her sarcastic remarks as she nonchalantly meanders around the stage.
Connor Franzen as one of the actors, Saul Watson is the comic relief of this already comedic show. Franzen as drunken Saul exhibits perfect comedic timing. His exaggerated gestures and slurred speech bring truth to his intoxicated character.
Snooty and proper, Micaela Erickson struts around stage capturing the essence of high strung Polly Benish. Erickson portrays the stereotypical "experienced" actor perfectly with her know-it-all attitude and chin
The cast as a whole is able to create distinct personalities between their character and their character's role in "Murder Most Foul". While the crew of "Murder Most Foul" is able to show their ever-growing frustrations with the amateur actors through slight nervous tics.
Light designer Joe Rios and sound designer Faith Lee work well together to create the effect of fast-forwarding through the play. Flickering lights and sped up dialogue made the scene as though someone was clicking the fast-forward button on a remote.
Costume designer Grace Coil enhances the personality and age of each character through their costumes. Coil puts teen actress Marla Smith in leggings and a crop top while she put the older Polly Benish in mom jeans and a loose blouse.
With a captivating cast and terrific tech, "Play On!" at Los Alamitos High School is exhilarating.
by Anika Perera of Aliso Niguel
The show must ï¿½Play On!' At Los Alamitos
Los Alamitos' production of "Play On!" is a comedic story about the difficulties of putting on a show in community theatre. In three hilarious acts, the cast and crew in the community theatre work together to put on a show, ï¿½Murder Most Foul,' by a new playwright, who continuously comes into rehearsal to change the script. With several technical difficulties, many forgotten lines, and a lot of frustration, the cast and crew off ï¿½Murder Most Foul' make the best of what resources they have.
The cast of ï¿½Murder Most Foul' consists of a married couple, Henry (Cole Schnider) and Polly (Micaela Erickson). As the oldest and most experienced in the company, Henry and Polly consistently work hard to get work done. Alongside them is a young couple, Violet (Leah Schiffer) and Billy (Louie Gallagher) who are immature and often distracted from their work. They also work with a high school student, Smitty (Macy Boren), and a charismatic bad boy, Saul (Connor Franzen). Boren displays the youthfulness of her character through the childlike tone in her voice and her posture. Franzen brings comedy to the already hilarious show in the third act, as his character drunkenly stumbles around the stage.
The director of ï¿½Murder Most Foul,' Gerry (Melanie Tanaka) and the stage manager, Aggie (Chloe Lim) work chaotically due to all the stress of the show. Much of their stress comes from Phyllis (Anna Baker), who marches purposefully to rehearsals with changes to the script in her hands. Working hard as the technician, Louise (Alexiss Lloyd) comes onstage with new technical issues every few minutes.
The costumes of "Play On!" were designed by Grace Coil, who showed all of the characters' different personalities by the way they were dressed. The light designer (Joe Rios), the set designer (Shelby Marsh), and the Props Manager (Kaylee "Jaq" McKay) worked hard to show the process of rehearsals over time. The first act, which is a rehearsal of ï¿½Murder Most Foul,' showed an unfinished set, rehearsal props, and bright, rehearsal lighting. In the second act, more set elements and props were added to the stage to show progress, and in the third act, the stage was complete and the lights were set for a play.
With a comical cast and hardworking crew, Los Alamitos tells a wonderful story about making the most of what you have in theatre.
by Annie Chapman of Aliso Niguel
Los Alamitos High School's "Play On!" is absolutely hilarious!
With four days until opening day, a community theatre group struggle to get things done for their play, "Murder Most Foul", while the playwright keeps changing the script.
Melanie Tanaka gives an excellent performance of overwhelmed director, Geraldine "Gerry" Dunbar. Tanaka's facial expressions and body movements react with the players' inability to focus during rehearsal and everything that goes wrong on the technical side. Anna Baker portrays Phyllis Montague, the bubbly and energetic playwright who keeps interrupting rehearsal with new rewrites of her show. Baker soft voice and flows movements show Phyllis' carefree personality.
In the cast, Micaela Erickson and Cole Schneider are the married couple, Polly and Henry Benish. Erickson and Schneider show their maturity through their posture and walk. Louie Gallagher and Leah Schiffer portray Billy Carewe and Violet Imbry, two actors who have "become really close". Billy and Violet try their best to hide their relationship from the others with quick reactions and when together alone, are all over each other.
Macy Boren plays the nervous teenager, Marla "Smitty" Smith who is struggling to balance homework and rehearsals. Boren rushes through her lines on opening day to show Smitty's nervousness of being in front of an audience. Connor Franzen portrays the witty, Saul Watson. Franzen succeeds to be flamboyant and always finds a way to keeps his character occupied.
Chloe Lim and Alexiss Lloyd are on the crew side of "Murder Most Foul". Lim is the pessimistic stage manager, Aggie Manville, who is always running around trying to get things done. Her strong tone of voice show the authority she has as a stage manager. Lloyd is the sarcastic and multitasking crew member, Louise Peary. Lloyd's "whatever"-like voice is hilarious when heard offstage and gives great comedic timing.
Costume design by Grace Coil capture each character's age, and personality. Smitty is put in leggings, a blouse, and some boots to show her young high school age and Phyllis is in bright colored and floral patterned 70's clothes to fit her carefree, bubbly personality.
Joe Rios does an excellent job with lighting as he shows the reality of community theatre from having it bright during rehearsal to dark for a real performance on opening night.
With talented actors and skilled designers, the terribleness of "Murder Most Foul" makes Los Alamitos High School's "Play On!" hilarious and extremely enjoyable.
by Ashley Ramos of Aliso Niguel
The Show Must Go On at Los Al
Los Alamitos's production of Play On! is laugh out loud funny as the actors try to overcome the atrocities that face them when they perform ï¿½Murder Most Foul'; a play within a play.
The progression of costumes and make-up from beginning stages to complete are a wonderfully done creative touch. Costumes (Grace Coil) and make-up (Micaela Erickson) complement each other well as the first act is very contemporary with light make-up and comfortable normal clothes fitting to each character's personality. As Act 2 begins slightly more make-up and in progress costumes immerse the idea of a real show undergoing the process of rehearsal. The end product is fancy Victorian costumes with maroon appearing in each costume giving the sense of sophistication. The addition of tons of blush and eye shadow meet the finished costumes as actors not wanting to be washed out and really showing the essence of a true show.
Melanie Tanaka as Gerry the director gives a convincing performance as she held maturity in her body and words while having large expressions of anguish and stress when things did not go as planned. Her large movements of anger of slamming the stage or dropping her notes when in disbelief bring this character to life.
The actors as a whole are able to bring distinct differences when playing more than one character with bright crisp accents and stiffer more "staged" movements as actors acting. Connor Franzen stands out as Saul with a flamboyant costume and personality that Franzen gives through his sly movements of petting props and obscure accent when portraying Dr. Forbes. Franzen used a slurred speech and broke is British accent and language to create a drunken actor that was amusing to see ruin the show even further.
An exceptional piece of technical work was shown by the creativity of the light designer Joe Rios and sound designer Faith Lee working together with sped up recorded voices and strobe lights flashing to create a fast forward moment. Rios' use of the Gobo to project ï¿½Murder Most Foul' was also an amazing touch to create the sensation of seeing a real performed show.
While the paly within the play had its hardships, the cast and crew of Play On! put on a beautiful show.
by Kayla Slater of Aliso Niguel
Los Alamitos High School causes chaos in "Play On!"
Los Alamitos High School presents "Play On!", the nightmarish rehearsals and performance of a murder mystery show, where everything that can go wrong, does. This homage to the stereotypical community theatre, where shows are produced in low quality "theaters" with no budget, brings non-stop laughter through the anarchy ensuing.
Jerry Dunbar (Melanie Tanaka) is the nervous director of the new murder mystery, "Murder Most Foul", who stresses over the play's lack of progress as opening night approaches. Jerry begins the show feeling somewhat calm during rehearsals as she hopes they can still succeed, and later feels overwhelmed by stress, turning violent and threatening actors in dress rehearsal. Finally, once the show opens, Jerry has given up and realizes that the show's success now relies on how well the actors perform. Aggie Manville (Chloe Lim) is the production's stage manager, and feels overwhelmed by all of the work which is left to do with so little time left. Lim's exasperated behavior is prevalent throughout the show as she paces across the stage and holds back to urge to scream.
The noticeably large actress Polly Benish (Micaela Erickson) carries herself with a sense of superiority over the other actors, behaving in a stuck up fashion. Erickson excellently portrays her maturity, adding to her more high-strung and obnoxious persona. Saul Watson (Connor Franzen), another actor in the murder mystery, struggles with pre-show jitters and turns to drinking in order to calm himself down. Franzen's commitment to being drunk adds to his hilarious behavior as he is oblivious to the actions onstage. Billy Carewe (Louie Gallagher) works well with Saul as they are both drunk together and act playfully with one another. Gallagher appears very dazed, forgetting his lines and stumbling across the stage, slurring his words as he speaks.
Hair and makeup design by Micaela Erickson and costume design by Grace Coil help demonstrate the progression of time throughout the show. The actors have no makeup and realistic everyday outfits while in rehearsal, and later have minimal makeup and parts of their costume on during dress rehearsal, and ending with full stage makeup, such as heavy blush mustaches and wigs, and completed costumes for "Murder Most Foul".
Los Alamitos High Schools offers this hilarious tale of mistakes and mayhem, excellently presenting the messy atmosphere of community theatre.
by Martin Perez of Aliso Niguel
Los Alamitos ï¿½Play On!' is spot on
The classic tale of the play gone wrong gets revamped in Los Alamitos High School's production of "Play On!" The actors and crew of a community theatre production of "A Murder Most Foul" by meddling amateur playwright Phyllis Montague must somehow salvage their crumbling show, on top of the revisions upon revisions to the script that Phyllis insists must be put in. Needless to say, there is pandemonium.
Phyllis, played by Anna Baker, parades with energy and excitement. When forgetting to set a prop during the show, Baker scurries on and off stage. Phyllis' bubbly, naive personality is also demonstrated by Baker's use of an energetic voice and inflections.
Micaela Erickson portrays high-strung and obnoxious Polly. With clear, directed movement and pursed lips, Erickson illustrates Polly's prim and proper nature and arrogance with ease. Polly's archenemy Saul, played by Connor Franzen, throws several off-handed insults about Polly's weight, adding to the chaos of the production. Franzen's sarcastic scoffs and effortless quips establish Saul as the cruel, petty villain of the actors. When Saul is drunk in Act 3, Franzen's slurred, sloppy diction and stumbling gait further demonstrate his intoxication.
Melanie Tanaka and Chloe Lim portray the frustrated management team. Tanaka plays Gerry, the director. Tanaka gestures sharply and paces aggressively, showing Gerry's pure exasperation with the disastrous nature of the play. Lim portrays Aggie Manville, the cynical stage manager. Aggie stomps angrily and stiffly and speaks with an edge in her voice when the play goes wrong, demonstrating her utter frustration.
The technical elements of the show masterfully demonstrate the progression and development of the show. Lights, designed by Joe Rios, progress through the show's arc. The lights are unnoticeable in Act 1, but by Act 3, the lights brightly shine upon the stage and illuminate the actors in their opening night performance.
Hair and makeup design, by Micaela Erickson, also progresses throughout the show. Makeup is softer in the beginning rehearsal of the show and by the end, all of the characters sport harsh blush during their first performance. As a whole, the technical elements of "Play On!" further illustrate the chaotic, hacked-together nature of "A Murder Most Foul".
Los Alamitos offers a charming "Play On!", demonstrating that one truly does perform how one practices.
by Salina Chin of Aliso Niguel
Los Alamitos entertains with "Play On!"
One lucky, unsuccessful community theatre is given the opportunity to perform a show called, "Murder Most Foul", for no charge written by an inexperienced playwright. The director and actors involved in the show soon realize this may have been a mistake when chaos begins to break loose right before opening night.
On this journey, the cast and crew of the production presents the process of putting together a show in community theatre. In charge of the show is director, Gerry (Melanie Tanaka), who shows the progression of stress with her fellow crew members as well as cast members. Tanaka gives life to an anxious director through fluid, purposeful movements and projected voice. Countering her is the struggling playwright of the production, Phyllis (Anna Baker), who continually makes changes to the original script the actors are using. Baker creates a convincing and bubbly author with delicate diction and swift motions.
On the other side of the production are the actors, all of which interact with one another and provide amusement to each scene. Giving satire to every situation is Saul, (Connor Franzen), who is never expected to be very serious about what he says during rehearsals. Franzen has impeccable comedic timing when delivering his lines and fills himself with witty humour and magnificent stage presence. He often pokes fun of Polly, (Micaela Erickson), who gets defensive about the jokes made of herself in light hearted fun. Erickson portrays the diva within the group of actors with poised posture and controllable tone in her voice. Differing from the rest of the adults in the show, Marla, sometimes referred to as Smitty, (Macy Boren), displays a young and innocent teenage actor. Boren constructs the believable stereotype of a young actor through a discouraged tone and fast paced dialogue.
Complementing the progression of the show, were the similar progression of the tech elements. Props (Kaylee McKay) and costumes (Grace Coil) both developed as the acts went on, presenting the reality of how a show is created. Scenic designer, Shelby Marsh, also advances the set as the production moves along with new elements each time the curtain opens.
With stand out characters and proficient technical aspects, "Play On!" at Los Alamitos High School is a hysterical love letter to community theatre.
by Sophie Gunn of Aliso Niguel
Los Al's "Play On!" is on point!
Los Alamitos High School's production of "Play On!" portrayed the true world of a community theater production with natural and comedic ease. With costumes, set, props, and makeup teams that show off each character's individuality extremely well, Los Alamitos pulls off a hilarious take on the antics of play rehearsal.
The players of Los Alamitos take on "Play On!," a story that tells of a theater company performing a play that is constantly going under revision from the playwright Phyllis Montague (Anna Baker). Each actor made a specific choice for their character and stuck with it throughout the process of rehearsal to opening night.
Melanie Tanaka especially shown through her portrayal as Gerry, the stressed director. As the show progressed, she became more and more exasperated and anxious. Her body language and voice fluctuations were very deliberate and well thought out.
Connor Franzen, Saul, also stood out. His performance in the final scene of the play, during which he is drunk and the other actors are trying to get through the train wreck that the show has become, he is over the top yet convincing. When not saying a line he was still acting in the background, the comedic act of caressing the phone for example.
The set of "Play On!" was very impressive, changing dramatically through each act. During act one, it was very obviously a work in progress, with ladders and a brick wall in the background and the actors working with metal chairs. Towards the end of the show the set depicted the Victorian Era period that the play within the play "A Murder Most Foul" needed. From the styling of the sofa to the attention to detail of the wall stencil, it is obvious the research that went into this set.
Through the actors dedicating themselves to a choice and the set design depicting where they should be versus where they actually were by the end, "Play On!" at Los Alamitos is an immersing experience of what happens during a community theater production.
by Ashley Jones of El Dorado
"Play On" is absolute murder on the voice, hardly was there a dull moment where there wasn't a giggle or so emitting around the room. This cast of actors had much thinking to do with this show. Not only did they have to play-well, a cast of actors, or crew, they had to play their actors' characters in a victorian age murder mystery. Written by a scattered, airheaded playwright Phyllis Montague (Anna Baker). To the despair of the actors, Phyllis would continually change the script, the humor in this turned out to be a comedic gem in the show.
Act One began as a seemingly normal rehearsal, where as Act Two was a dress rehearsal, finally ending with Act Three, a crime of an opening night with how much went wrong to our poor actors. To the joy of our students however, their performance in the chaos was professionally executed in ways that left some in stitches.
An unsung wonderfully executed addition to this show was the ever evolving set. As Act One was a general rehearsal the set reflected it in a way that many theater kids could relate to, paint brushes, cans, and hammers being strewn about. A lack of props, as well as tired actors that just wish for nothing more than to go home and be done with a stop and go rehearsal. Act Two, as you'd expect had more added to the stage, the crew during intermission had put up a giant piece of the wall, instead of metal chairs there were time accurate couches. Act Three saw the completion of the set. Upon seeing the finished product, it was like looking into a photo from the victorian era. The attention to research and detail is absolutely remarkable, framed photos hung about the stage, with candle sticks along the doors, each addition complimented each other. This amount of harmony only being achievable due to the students' hardworking research.
To celebrate the show as much as it deserves, the students have to be praised. Each one worked together as one cohesive whole. So much so that it is hard to discern a lead, if there is any, not one character was unimportant. The dynamic and tight knit nature of the show was as potent as the drink, or rather, drinks, Saul (Connor Franzen) had during Act Three. Luckily for us while the show fell apart piece by piece, the Actors' commitment to the piece left an air of admiration to settle, for their fantastic work. While at first many of the cast didn't seem to have a connection what so ever, seemingly uncomfortable with the lack of chemistry. As soon as the curtain rolled up on Act Two all of that changed. What happened between then few will know, yet many thanks to what it was.
Play On was a chaotic beauty, with so many aspects to celebrate that not one or two or three paragraphs could even begin to scratch the surface of the depth to acting, dedication to tech, and overall professionalism to which it was executed. The real crime is the lack of justice words can do, that crime is akin to a murder, most foul.
by Jenna Young of El Dorado
What Couldn't Go Wrong at Los Alamitos' "Play On"
Los Alamitos Drama's "Play On", by Rick Abbot, is nothing but nostalgic flashbacks to bad community theatre mishaps.
"Play On" is the original play within a play. Things go awry when a low budget community theatre company tries to put on "Murder Most Foul", but the writer keeps changing things. But still, the show must go on.
Billy Carewe (Louie Gallagher) is phenomenal. He has fantastic connections with everyone, especially Saul Watson (Connor Franzen) and Violet Imbry (Leah Schiffer). He plays off of everyone really well and isn't too over the top. Gerry Dunbar (Melanie Tanaka) is unbelievable. The progression of her characters so realistic, starting off as a very frantic director, to a laid back and "who cares what happens now" director. She works the best with Phyllis Montague (Anna Baker). The way in which they are polar opposites makes their relationship that much more hilarious. Phyllis is energetic and bubbly, almost giving off a hippie vibe. Her body language, alone, can tell a person exactly who she is.
The set, designed by Shelby Marsh, gives off the perfect stressful rehearsal look. As the show progresses, so does the set. Windows, pictures, walls, and furniture are added between acts just in time for the final performance. The set is very mis-match, giving it that "we can only use what we have" look. The costumes, by Grace Coil and Bre Pits, perfectly reflect the victorian era theme. All the ladies, except for the maid, are dressed in burgundy ball gowns and the men in tuxes with tails and bowties. The costumes are accurate to the time period and reflect the social classes of the characters. Lighting, Joe Rios, is a perfect story conveyer. Joe does a fantastic job of creating a projection of the logo of the show the company is producing and uses strobe lights to make it appear as if the performers were moving faster than reality.
"Play On", a hilarious show within a show by Los Alamitos Drama, deserves a standing ovation.
by Sydney Castiglione of Fullerton Union
Los Alamitos High School's latest theatre production: a "Play On!" a play
Ah, community theatre - a hodgepodge of people, ranging from middle-aged adults to wide-eyed high-schoolers. Throw in an airy playwright and a stressed director, and you got "Play On!"
The latest play of Los Alamitos High School depicts the realistic struggle of community theatre through a comedic lens. With a low budget, looming deadlines, and a script that keeps getting last-minute changes, the fictional cast and crew of the play "A Murder Most Foul" must persist to get the show on the road - or at least, make it through dress rehearsal.
Melanie Tanaka, who plays Gerry Dunbar, portrays the panicked theater director with a realistic energy. With rising tones and exasperated sighs, Tanaka effectively leaves the audience feeling intimidated, yet sympathetic, for the high-strung leader.
Connor Franzen exuded a robust energy as well, in the form of the sassy cast member Saul Watson. Franzen's keen sense of comedic timing peaked in the final act of the play, when his character, having lost all hope, showed up to the opening night performance completely drunk. With a lopsided gait and booming, slurred remarks, Franzen's energy had the audience doubled over in laughter time and time again.
The set design, led by Shelby Marsh, was a true work of art that developed with the play. In the first act, it was a ragged-looking theater set with peeled wallpaper and rackety metal chairs, conveying the atmosphere of a dingy rehearsal room. However, by the final act, on the opening night of "A Murder Most Foul," the Victorian-style paintings, golden candlesticks, and elegant couch truly made it feel as if it was a whole new play. It truly illustrated the progression of a production leading up to opening night through a purely visual aspect.
Overall, the production was a well-crafted work of comedy that captured the intricacies of not just community theatre, but any theatre production. The resounding nature of the work is one that any audience member can empathize with, as they witnessed first-hand the griefs and the joys that make theatre production such a chaotic, lovable entity.
by Calista Choi of Northwood
Los Alamitos' "Play On!" plays on plays
Paintings fall, props break, actors stumble, and the director sobs. These are the vignettes of the throes and woes of community theatre in "Play On!", a comedy where everything in a production of a continually changing murder mystery goes horribly wrong. Through the melodramatic reactions of the cast and unique stage elements, Los Alamitos magnifies the terror and hilarity intrinsic in the blunders of bad theatre.
Connor Franzen delights as the sarcastic male diva Saul Watson, strutting across stage with a cocked head and furrowed eyebrows to deliver snarky quips to the pompous Polly Benish, played by Micaela Erickson. She snarls before flinging a chair at him and storming off with an upturned chin and a puffed chest. Franzen returns as the drunk Dr. Rex Forbes, slurring phrases in an exaggerated, posh British accent while staggering into furniture. The bumbling persona either fondly caresses nearby paintings or interacts with the equally drunk Stephen Sellers (Louie Gallagher), playfully slapping each other as the other irritated actors try to deliver their lines over their incessant giggling.
Louie Gallagher also plays Billy Carewe, a staunch actor who is madly in love with the scatterbrained Violet Imbry, played by Leah Schiffer. While rehearsing, the two stare lovingly at each other with wide grins, but when they are alone on a sofa, they pounce on each other, aggressively smooching while flailing their arms and legs over each other and slowly sliding onto the floor.
Directing the crazy characters is Gerry Dunbar, played by Melanie Tanaka, whose constant eye rolls, craned neck, and shaking of her clenched fists illustrate her exasperation with the poor performance's progress. Countering her is the carefree technician Louise Peary (Alexiss Lloyd), who casually saunters to Tanaka to nonchalantly report something missing with a sigh. The pair is constantly frustrated by the whimsical actions of the playwright Phyllis Montague, played by Anna Baker. Baker loiters during scenes with a twirl of her dress, gazing at the actors' infuriated faces with sparkling eyes and a beaming smile, blissfully unaware of the intense glares surrounding her.
The costume design by Grace Coil enhances the progression from rehearsals to opening night. The cast begins wearing leggings, loose t-shirts, and worn sneakers before changing into suit pants, crimson ballgowns, and shiny black dress shoes.
Los Alamitos blends hysterical acting with impressive technical design to deliver a truly stand-out performance.
by Andrew Senkowski of Santa Margarita Catholic
Los Alamitos delightfully decides to "Play On!"
An unfinished backdrop with golden stencils on overlapping evergreen wallpaper conveys a community theater atmosphere Los Alamitos excels in reproducing.
"Play On!" follows the hilarious train wreck of a play, "Murder Most Foul," whose kooky playwright sporadically rewrites the script days before opening night. With a disgruntled cast who barely remembers the original lines and a strained director vainly attempting to divert the disaster, the rehearsals and the final show progress from bad to worse in an uplifting, comedic way.
As the "Murder Most Foul" set and costumes gradually are finalized, they illustrate the inevitable motion towards opening night. From hard, metal chairs to a Victorian couch, the devoted attention to historical accuracy and intentional imperfection transform the production into a stressful, failing community theater show.
When the hilarious disaster of opening night occurs, some parts are sped up with the actors' quick, jerky movements and hastened voice recordings. The frantic fast forwarding of opening night enhances the show's hectic nature.
Grace Coil's costumes perfectly reflect not only the personality of the characters but also the normal evolution of a show through its major rehearsals to opening night. Saul Watson begins in darker clothing to portray his callousness, but as he plays Dr. Rex Forbes, he dons a flamboyant pink shirt with his suit, conspicuously protruding with costume and behavior.
The cast of "Murder Most Foul" seamlessly transitions from their characters to the actors themselves, dropping accents when confused or irritated. They excellently exaggerate mistakes from their colleagues, with widened, staring eyes at the hurried, disjointed gestures, stuttering, and furrowed brows of the bemused bungler.
Perfectly executing comedic moments, Connor Franzen's Saul Watson remains loyal to his extravagant personality that exemplifies the production's comedy, through poignant remarks, and when drunk, amplified flailing and even petting a telephone.
With an uplifted chin and pursed lips, Micaela Erickson becomes the snooty Polly Benish exasperated at the struggling rehearsals when she herself can hardly keep up.
Melanie Tanaka as tense Gerry Dunbar embodies her role as director with sharp, taut marches before the stage and piercing, frustrated shouts as she desperately attempts to smooth the edges of her coarse, jagged show.
Los Alamitos' production of "Play On!" celebrates the process of theater, with its thrills of joy and fear, and through thick and thin. As the saying goes: the show must go on!
by Caitlin Relvas of Santa Margarita Catholic
Playful Production in Los Alamitos's ï¿½Play On!'
With silly quips, sassy remarks, and a dysfunctional group of characters, Los Alamitos's ï¿½Play On!' tells the hilarious story of a community theater as they develop their production in a rather haphazard fashion. Faced with the obstacle of an ambitious playwright, the group must navigate the production timeline as they desperately try to finish developing the production on time.
Louise (Alexiss Lloyd) brings a playful comedic presence as she saunters about the stage in a sassy manner, coolly telling Gerry that she needs to work backstage while the actors rehearse. Running around backstage, Louise hammers, knocks, and builds as she openly and sarcastically distracts the rehearsing cast.
Gerry (Melanie Tanaka) presents a believably middle-aged director as she decreases her vocal resonance, and navigates around with a slightly hunched back. Tanaka's impressive voice acting complements Gerry's frazzled state as flaps her arms exasperatedly, and frantically paces back and forth, desperately trying to set the disorganized company back on track.
Violet (Leah Schiffer) and Billy (Louie Gallagher) create an endearing duo as the two nervously wander around each other onstage, bashfully avoiding their feelings for one another. They quickly find an opportunity to act on their feelings as the duo excitedly performs a kissing scene between their characters while the director and the rest of the cast are away. Red as tomatoes, both jump when Louise finds them, and desperately plead for her to keep quiet on the matter.
The scenic design by Shelby Marsh offers a genuine ï¿½community theater' experience and connects the audience with the development of the theater's murder mystery production. Using partially finished set pieces and backgrounds, Marsh's design encapsulates the timeline of the production as the pieces become gradually finished, moving from act one to act three.
The sound design by Faith Lee marries the lighting design of Joe Rios as both designs work cohesively to illustrate the ï¿½fast-forward' function creatively used in ï¿½Play On!'. Using strobe lights combined with a sped-up voice over of the actors' lines, the designs work with the actors as they perform their blocking in a quick manner onstage. The result is a clever fast-forward function which invigorates movement and artistically develops the play's storyline.
Complete with fabulous technical design and an immersive stage experience, Los Alamitos's ï¿½Play On!' is sure to excite.
by Chloe Grubb of Santa Margarita Catholic
Los Alamitos' Play On! proves a play must go on
Every theatre rehearsal brings mountains of anxiety and frustration. The play Play On! demonstrates these obstacles within another play called Murder Most Foul: each of the three acts resembles the progression of a real rehearsal and show week. The cast of Los Alamitos express the struggles of show week through their mishaps of forgetting lines and losing props within the disastrous play of Murder Most Foul.
The constant wave of comedy among the cast is sprung by Connor Franzen, who plays Saul. Franzen's creativity of facial expressions aids the sassy and stuck up character of Saul. In Act Three, Franzen plays drunk and loosely drags his body across the stage mumbling on lines. Franzen's attitude within his comment about Polly's weight left no remorse, proving his impudent character. He applies extravagant and flamboyant arms to his reactions which serves as a source of entertainment and amusement.
Vibes of innocence and positivity sweep the stage through Leah Schiffer as Violet. Schiffer's light-hearted tone of voice and exaggerated smiles express diversity between the consistent frustration among the others. Schiffer shows her character's immaturity through confusion with her furrowed eyebrows and helpless eyes. During Act Three, Saul accidently drops a necklace in Violet's shirt. This originates laughter because of his goofy gestures which contrasts Schiffer's trembling hands and expressions of anguish.
The development of costumes, lighting, and makeup is parallel to the advancement of the rehearsals. In Act One, the lighting is spread brightly throughout the stage designed appropriately by Joe Rios for a typical rehearsal. It slowly progresses in Act Two to be centered on stage with brighter and dimmer light subjects as it reaches towards to the actual show during Act Three. The props by Kaylee McKay and the costumes by Grace Coil were chosen to be incomplete until Act Three which aids to the reality of a final and complete show. The Victorian Era is present within each costume and wigs on selected characters. Micaela Erickson, chief of makeup crew, designs the mature and sophisticated character of Phyllis Montague's makeup with wrinkles on the forehead. Just like Phyllis, Saul's mustache creates an allusion on stage for age and maturity.
Although rehearsals produce immense affliction and complication, the cast of Los Alamitos executes their masterpiece using comedic gestures enabling a connection for a real cast of performers.
by Elizabeth Scannell of Santa Margarita Catholic
Los Alamitos' play produces plenty of laughs
A frantic director scurries through the aisles in front of the stage, barking orders at the stage director in front of her. The cast assembles on stage for practice, and it all goes downhill from there.
Los Alamitos High School produces lots of laughs with their hilarious production of "Play On!", which tells the story of a community theater group that experiences every worst-case scenario while trying to perform "A Murder Most Foul". Each cast member is skilled in the arts of comedic timing, and still manages to let the key aspects of their character flow into the character that their character is playing.
Some of the scenes that produce the greatest comedic effect involve an ingenious decision by the lighting designer and the actors to "fast forward". In the "love scene" where Violet (Leah Schiffer) and Billy (Louie Gallagher) kiss, the fast-forward effect becomes hilariously funny as the dialogue and actions are sped up.
The character Gerry, played by Melanie Tanaka, is a perfect embodiment of a stressed-out director before opening night. Her character also makes it feel as if the audience is watching an actual rehearsal as she rushes through the aisles giving orders to the actors and the crew.
On "opening night", Connor Franzen's character Saul Watson stands out from the rest and generates lots of laughter from the audience. Throughout the show, even when the comedic action is not centered around him he can be found maintaining his character's personality by mocking Polly (Micaela Erickson) and even stroking a telephone while "drunk".
Each of the actors do a phenomenal job of portraying characters that are accurate representations of theater stereotypes. Polly (Micaela Erickson) and Henry (Cole Schneider) are the bickering couple, and the chemistry between the two adds to every scene's comedic effect. The couples dialogue flows naturally throughout the show.
The theater department at Los Alamitos truly perfected the portrayal of a play gone wrong.
by Emily Freeborn of Santa Margarita Catholic
Los Alamitos' Silly Play On!
The Los Alamitos production of Play On! excites the audience as they authentically depict the intensive process of putting together a community theatre play. The cast of Play On! displays complex characters which resonate through the relationships of the show as well as the play within a play characters. The cast members Violet (Leah Schiffer) and Billy (Louie Gallagher) innocently flirt throughout the rehearsal process. Billy (Louie) approaches Violet (Leah) nervously and asks to rehearsal their risquï¿½ scene. As they rehearse, their voices extent to one another and interlock with their eyes. In an instant, the rehearsal scene takes control. Reaching for one another, eyes yearning for each other, and vocal acceleration which draws up a greater tension of what is to come next. With the scene full of tension, Billy and Violet create confusion between the reality of show and the scene being rehearsed. The emotional release of the innocent, yet aggressive kiss confirms genuine
love which surpasses the scene.
Melanie Tanaka beautifully encompasses the directorial role through her character, Geraldine. Short tempered and frantic, Geraldine attempts to bring together a consistently changing play. Waving her hands, stomping, and quickly passing she reaches to her forehead- trying to come up with a way to bring the mess of a play together. When Geraldine exits the stage for the first time, her cast seamlessly brings together a once jumbled scene for the first time. Clenching her coffee and gazing, with the slightest smile, Geraldine embraces the crazy-wonderful thing called theatre. Melanie depicts this character in such a true way, and embodies the roller coaster of emotions which directors face throughout the rehearsal process.
The production, Play On!, chronologically goes through the last stretch of a community theatre production. The costumes, make-up, and set all expressed the genuine progression of the process. The missing wigs on dress rehearsal night, which appeared on opening night provided a realistic interpretation of the theatre process. Missing holes in the set represented the holes within the rehearsal process, but as they were filled, the show began to become a production.
Los Alamitos provides much laughter as they goofily express the reality of the lives of theatre people. The crazy process of putting on a production comes with many laughs and lots of love, which was clearly present among the cast of Play On!.
by Kennedy Kemmerer of Santa Margarita Catholic
A disastrous dress rehearsal, a cast of actors who spend as much time slighting each other as they do rehearsing, and a director at her witt's end. This is the opening scene of "Play On!".
Los Alamitos High school's "Play On!" captures the story of a theatre company stumbling and bumbling their way through performing the show "A Murder Most Foul", but with a meddlesome play-write adding last minute changes, hilarious disasters befalling the cast, they struggle to perfect the show before opening night.
The set for act one captures the reality of being in a show that is not quite finished, With exposed brick walls in the background and foldable metal chairs as stand-ins for furniture. The costumes also portray a realistic dress rehearsal, with actors in street wear instead of costumes. The set gets more complicated as the show progresses. The Victorian-era stenciling on the walls, added paintings, and actors in period costumes all help bring the play within the play to life.
Leah Schiffer gives an uproarious performance as Violet, effortlessly capturing not only the character of Violet, but the character Violet portrays in the show. Violet also has an on-stage romance with Billy, played by Louie Gallagher. Gallagher executes the comedic elements of the role seamlessly; his physicality makes every joke hilariously entertaining. The two have great chemistry, playing off each other's energy and making their scenes together that much more engaging.
Melanie Tanaka shows maturity beyond her years in the role of Gerry, perfectly embodying a stressed-out director. You can see the tension that her character is under in everything from her facial expressions to her posture. Chloe Lim as Aggie is also incredibly rooted in her character. Her unaffected attitude and sarcastic remarks bring this character to life. Connor Franzen's bold choices and movement added to the comedic value of the show. He captures his character with his hysterically exaggerated movements across the stage in the third act. Alexiss Lloyd's dry Witt brought life to her performance as Louise.
Overall, the Los Alamitos production of "Play On" is engaging and sprinkled with humor. For a Highschool production, the cast and crew executed this play within a play very well.
by Olivia Pannell of Santa Margarita Catholic
The show must go on at Los Alamitos
Los Alamitos performs "play on!" the play within the play. Play on exaggerates the last minute details of a productions company approaches opening day while facing minor inconveniences such as: the actors not knowing the third act, set being incomplete, the playwright rewriting the script, and the sound being erased.
Lighting has a simplistic outtake but used cleverly when the play mimics a dvd that is fast forwarding. Despite some minor inconveniences with props, the actors improvise and continue without a hitch.
The set construction was done cleverly by adding finishing touches to the set like wall timings and portraits as the company within the play gets closer to opening day .
Costumes contrasted characters as Dunbar wears flannels and t-shirts with muter colors and
Montague wears brightly colored flowing dresses. Costumes also mimicked crew as Louise, set designer and sound technician in the show wears paint splattered overalls as she begrudgingly makes brands for the director and finished construction.
Melanie Tanaka as Geraldine Dunbar the director of the play within the play frantically runs around the stage frantically fixing props and running rehearsal with actors. Phyllis Montague (Anna Baker) acts as a foil to Dunbar as she dashes across stage with a shrill voice and informs the actors of the rewrites in the script.
Connor Franzen who portrays Saul Watson exudes great comedic timing as his character mocks Polly Benish, played by Michaela Erikson. Erikson retaliates furiously and commands the stage with her snarky comebacks.
Chloe Lim portrays the fiery stage manager, Aggie Manville, as she feds lines to actors and sasses back with threats and runs around doing too many jobs at once.
Play On! does a great job recreating all the last minute anxieties and frustrations during the last minutes of a production with great acting and clever set design, lighting, costumes, and props.
by Anais Lino of Sunny Hills
Los Alamitos invites us to a night of chaos in their production of ï¿½Play Onï¿½, the play within a play.
The stage is a place to feel free and deliver the best performance you have ever given. But what happens before that? Melanie Tanaka shows us that in her portrayal of Geraldine, the stressed out director. Tanaka does well in showing us the emotions a director goes through, over the course of time we see how she deals with a frantic cast and crazy playwright only to blow up in the end. Anna Baker, plays the crazy playwright and takes us on a comedic journey due to the fact she keeps rewriting her show. She does an excellent job in using the tone in ger voice to get what she wants as well as her peppy walk.
The comedic gentlemen of the show did well in using all their energy in whatever they were doing. Franzen and Gallagher were very hilarious in their actions and physicality. From play fighting to being drunk these boys knew how to put on a performance.
Schiffer, Macy, and Erickson all brought different personalities to the stage. The teen who intends to strive in school, the lady in love, and the women who won't take no as an answer. They all do well in adding to the show.
Chloe Lim and Alexiss Lloyd brought humor to the stage as they showed us what it was like to work behind the scenes of a production. The blunt stage manager and sarcastic sound and light operator gave us the feeling of what it's like when everything goes wrong in a show, only fix it later on.
The technical elements of the show portrayed the process of a show. The set went from a non finished blank wall to a beautifully decorated house with furniture that fit the time period. The costumes and makeup started simple and casual as if showing us the actors normal clothes to very extravagant dresses, suits, and stage makeup.
The lights had a range of options. They were beautifully designed from having some on in the house to having the final piece done for the show. Strobe was incorporated to signify the passing of time and used as a fast forward effect.
The ensemble worked well together maintaining accents when performing their play and using each others energy to deliver a comedic show.
by Priscilla Canadas of Sunny Hills
The Play Must Go On At Los Alamitos
"Play On" is a play within a play over the series of time in which is well known as "Hell Week". Hell week is the week before the show. A time of stress, suffering, blood, and tears. For the theatre company of "A Murder Most Foul", things go a lot worse than anyone would have expected.
Melanie Tanaka steps into the shoes of a director and perfectly embodies one as Geraldine "Gerry" Dunbar. Tanaka perfectly executes the character as we visually see and feel her stress level as the show begins to slowly creep closer and closer. Through large hand gestures and a furrowed brow, one may feel empathy towards her as we watch her internal struggle. Tanaka creates an extremely loveable and relatable character as she dashes through the audience and tries her very best to make it a "show" that no one will ever forget.
From the moment Anna Baker prances on stage as Phyllis Montague one envisions the entire atmosphere change on stage. While you see a variety of laid back and stressed actors on stage, when Baked pops onto the stage, you see annoyance on all of the actors faces as the writer of the play (Montague) pleads to change the script four days before the show. When denied, Montague dramatically sobs to try and get pity from the actors on stage. With a shrill voice and quick movements, Baker perfectly embodies the role of the exasperating Phyllis Montague.
Leah Schiffer as Violet and Louie Gallagher as Billy immediately come on stage with remarkable chemistry. When they got time alone, we really got to see how much chemistry they truly had. Although they were absolutely fantastic together, individually they prospered as well. Gallagher had a sort of slouched over posture with incredible facial movement embodying a goofy, yet loveable character, whereas Schiffer was far more uptight and proper and very well pronounced.
by Sammie Cano of Sunny Hills
Lo Sals Community Theater was out of the Frying Pan
into the Fire.
When Phyllis Montague, explains yet another change in her crazy and complicated play, behind her, the cast and crew, moving all towards her in different movements and directions, become filled with anger and annoyance, as if they had become balloons and the exhaustion and rage was the helium. Fore they know with more changes, meant more hectic rehearsing for all of them, which clearly was limited, due to the show opening being extremely soon. Lo Sal's, Play on, truly captures the stress and craziness putting on a show can cause.
The actor's makeup and costumes throughout the play stays accurate to how people going through the rehearsal process would be. For example, during act one in the first rehearsal we see, all the actors in casual and comfortable clothes and really simple basic makeup to create the everyday look, opposed to stage costumes and heavy stage makeup. Along with the makeup and costumes, the set design throughout the show seemed to progressively expand and become of higher quality making it truly feel like a real production in which rehearsal pieces eventually do get replaced with actual set pieces for the real performance.
An exceptionally clever aspect used within the show was when the lighting and sound manipulates the scene into looking as if someone had hit the fast-forward button on the T.V. This special little detail helps move the show along in parts that the audience has already seen.
Although in some parts of the play, the actors accents within the play "Murder Most Foul", are hard to understand, the overall projection from the players is well executed and clear. All the actors do a nice job of being able to go from their "in show" parts to their "off show'' roles and within the show it truly never feels forced. One example of an actress doing this really well is Michaela Erickson playing the role of Polly Benish. The way she was able to fluctuate her voice and facial expression between rehearsing the show and criticizing the rest of the cast, helped many moments in the play flow really nicely.
Play On does a fantastic job of creating an extremely accurate and relatable story of directing and putting on a show in community theater and is definitely one that can hit close to home for many.
by MaddyYoung of Yorba Linda
Los Alamitos' Play On!- The Comedy Within The Tragedy
Drama! Tension! Murder! All elements of the dramatic murder mystery, ensuring an evening of bloody confessions and contorted facial expressions. All elements of which Los Alamitos' Play On! has absolutely none. Drama is a fine choice, but this comedy within a drama brings it home with a fabulous, belly-laughter hit!
The storyline surrounds a small cast of mediocre actors attempting to put on a play, "Murder Most Foul", under the guidance of a stress-induced director. As she, the cast, and the tech crew frantically try to pull a show together in a hysterical four days, the playwright frequently interrupts the rehearsal with her massive script revisions. What could possibly go wrong? The only mystery in this show-stopper was if anyone would survive opening night!
Pulling everything together is Geraldine "Gerry" Dunbar (Melanie Tanaka), the director, pacing about the audience shouting comical interjections to the actors.
Meanwhile, the mousy "Yoo-hoo!" of the hippie playwright, Phyllis Montague (played by Anna Baker), had every actor and crew member groaning at her irritating arrivals to rehearsals. Her "go with the flow" attitude complemented the stressful atmosphere among her cast.
Connor Franzen (playing Saul Watson) steals the show with his incredible comedic timing as he shoots witty jabs at the leading lady's unfortunate weight (Micaela Erickson), who gruffs haughtily at each joke with an impressive blush. Later in Act Three, opening night, Saul makes the dreadful mistake of drinking between acts. He mills intoxicatedly about the stage in an uproarious fashion with only half a villainous black moustache glued to his face.
Much credit for the show's success should also go to the set construction team. Student-built, painted, and furnished, a lot is to be said for the impressive visual and functionality of the set. The team keeps in mind that in the beginning of the rehearsal process, shows are messy. Iron chairs and paint-splattered ladders dominate the bare stage in Act One. By Act Three, books line the shelves, faded yellow curtains adorn the windows, and decorative oil paintings fill the green Victorian walls. Each new transition ran smoothly with the help of stage managers Emily Mankey, Owen Marubayashi, and Chloe Taylor.
In an evening of chaos, unimaginable mishaps, and a heaping helping of Murphy's Law, Los Alamitos High School gives none other than raw, utter heart in it's fantastic comedy Play On!
by Maya Valenciano of Yorba Linda
A Play Within Play On! at Los Alamitos
The jubilant comedy, Play On!, written by Rick Abbot, tells the story of a a group of actors putting on a community production of Murder Most Foul. Act one depicts the actors preparing for the show in their dreadful last rehearsals. Act two takes them to their final dress rehearsal and act three is opening night, where if anything can go wrong, it does. Through the entirety of the show, this production deals with constant changes being made by the overbearing, amateur writer of the play. One aspect of this performance that makes the story so realistic was the changing set pieces from one act to another. In the first act, the set resembles a play during the rehearsal process and has very few set pieces. Instead, just like in a real rehearsal process, they substituted pieces in the set for everyday items including metal folding chairs for a couch. Then, in the second and third act, closer to the opening, more pieces, including pictures and furniture, are brought onto the set.
Another strong choice Los Alamitos makes involves each character's costumes. During the first act, all the actors wear normal street clothes that matches each of their character's personalities well. For instance, the character Marla "Smitty" Smith, played by Macy Boren, wears a leather jacket with leggings and combat boots in the first act to resemble a teenage high school girl and later, in the second and third acts, she wears a maid's uniform to represent her character, Dorris, in their show.
A strong element to this show is each of the actor's character portal and commitment their characters and choices. With the play being a community production, the characters are a wide variety of ages and personalities. The director, Geraldine "Gerry" Dunbar, played by Melanie Tanaka, is a prime example due to her convincing attitude and craziness a director would have during the rehearsal process of a show and this carried with her in all aspects of the show. Another actor who is committed to the portrayal of her character is Polly Benish, played by Micaela Erickson, who plays a middle aged theater lover. Her thrive to achieve greatness and want to make everything go well thoroughly resembles a high maintenance actress in the industry and she seamlessly connected to the character.
The show must go on, or, Play On!
by Will Fixa of Yorba Linda
Over the past two weeks, Los Al Drama has been attending the awards results of the adjudications that have occurred for both the Fall Play, Anatomy of Gray, and the Spring Musical, Guys and Dolls.
On Saturday, May 20th, the Guys and Dolls cast attended the JRAY's (John Raitt Awards for Youth). They were asked to perform a medley from Guys and Dolls, and received the following accolades (out of the 28 schools being adjudicated)
Best Sound/Audio- Korey Jentes, Faith Lee, Kira Petersen, Lauren Scott
Best Ensemble- Guys and Dolls
Featured Actor- Christian D'Alessandro
Supporting Actress- Rylee Burchett
Student Choreography- Summer Jennings
Showstopper- Crapshooters Ballet
On Sunday, May 21st, Los Al Drama attended the OC Cappies (a student critics program that reviews over 60+ Orange County High School theatre productions)
They received the following nominations, putting them in the top 5 in Orange County:
Marketing and Publicity in a Play- Kaitlyn "Sugi" Sugihara
Marketing and Publicity in a Musical- Kaitlyn "Sugi" Sugihara
Choreography in a Musical- Summer Jennings
Stage Management in a Play- Angelica Alvarez
Lighting Design for a Play- Joe Rios
Featured Actress in a Play- Cambryelle Getter
Supporting Actress in a Musical- Rylee Burchett
Song- Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat
Cappies Commendations for outstanding theatrical work:
On Sunday, May 28th, the cast of Guys and Dolls attended the MACY Awards (Music and Arts Commendation for Youth) at the Segerstrom Center for the Performing Arts. Over 30 schools had 57 shows adjudicated. Los Al was asked, for the first time, to perform a medley from Guys and Dolls, an honor bestowed on only 23 out of 57 productions. The following awards were won:
Special Recognition: Cambryelle Getter, Cole Schneider, Kaitlyn "Sugi" Sugihara, Owen Marubayashi
Achievement in a Musical: Kayhan Bakian, Louis Cogan
Outstanding Achievement in a Musical: Christian D'Alessandro, Connor Franzen, Danny Bird, Melanie Tanaka, Micaela Erickson
Highest Achievement in a Musical: Rylee Burchett
The Cappies Nominations have been announced!
Cappies Nominees and Commendees will be honored on May 16th at St. Margaret's Episcopal School.
The Cappies Gala is on Sunday, May 21st at the Grove in Anaheim. Tickets may be purchased here (click link):
And, the nominees are...
Marketing and Publicity in a Play- Sugi
Marketing and Publicity in a Musical- Sugi
Lighting Design for a Play- Joe Rios
Choreography in a Musical- Summer Jennings
Stage Management for a Play- Angelica Alvarez
Featured Actress in a Play- Cambryelle Getter
Supporting Actress in a Musical- Rylee Burchett
Best Song: Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat
Place your bets at Los Alamitos "Guys and Dolls"
Los Alamitos thrills with "Guys and Dolls" the classic story of Nathan Detroit, who runs an illegal gambling game, bets with gambler, Sky Masterson, to take Sarah Brown, the conservative missionary, to Havana for a night, all while Nathan tries to keep the crap games a secret from his finance of 14 years Miss Adelaide, who desperately wants to marry Nathan.
Rylee Burchett, charms with her quirky character, Miss Adelaide, by keeping a consistent and impressive shrill New York accent. Burchett captivates while delivering her heartwarming, yet playful songs and adding deeper inflections providing the show with more funny moments.
Kayhan Bakian, as Nicely-Nicely Johnson, stands out by displaying his impressive vocals while singing in one of the plays iconic numbers and delivering his lines with ease adding comedy into scenes, while his scene partner Nathan Detroit (played by Connor Franzen) portrays his character as cautious and confident, creating a fun contrast.
Micaela Erickson as Sarah Brown, adds sophistication to her character, but displays her comic side when Sarah gets into an amusing predicament, by playing Sarah as less uptight and a bit clumsy. While Louis Cogan portrays Sky Masterson with suave, but showing Sky's softer side during more emotional songs by singing with a sense of sensitivity.
Joe Rios' colorful lighting gives the play spirit and light-heartedness, especially during upbeat numbers. Rios creatively adds haze and darker lighting during scenes in the nightclub, adding a mood reminiscent of the era. The spotlights used highlighted performers all while keeping other character in light.
Set Designer Shelby Marsh's cleverly constructed set with detailed hand painted landscapes, quickly shifts from busy New York City to exotic Havana, alternates quickly in between scenes.
Grace Coil and Alexis Turner also give the musical a 1950s feel with their vintage looking outfits, from the long plaid skirts to the gambler's authentic looking pinned-striped suits. Costumes also helped establish characters personalities as Miss Adelaide tones bright dressed while conservative Sarah wore her missionary uniform throughout the play.
Overall, Los Alamitos does justice to the Broadway classic 'Guys and Dolls'.
by Anais Lino of Sunny Hills High School
Los Alamitos hits the jackpot with "Guys & Dolls"
Los Alamitos High School excites in their production of "Guys and Dolls", which focuses on two couples as they try to overcome their struggles together. When two gamblers make a bet to see if one of them can get any doll he wants, he never would have expected to find love with a missionary.
Sky Masterson (Louis Cogan) continuously persuades Sarah Brown (Micaela Erickson), leader of the Save-a-Soul Mission, to go out with him in hopes of winning a bet. Cogan struts across the stage, exuding confidence as he tries to flirt with Sarah, and gradually becomes more affectionate and desperate for love as he gets to know Sarah better and falls in love with her. Erickson moves stiffly and with a purpose and she adheres to her religious values, stubbornly ignoring Sky's attempts to flirt with her. However, as the story progresses, she reveals a more caring and loving side as she begins to fall in love with Sky in return.
Gambling crapshooter, Nathan Detroit (Connor Franzen) feels conflict between doing what he loves, playing craps and gambling, and being with his love, Miss Adelaide (Rylee Burchett), as she feels unloved and miserable. Franzen excellently portrays his different personalities, appearing more masculine and tough with his fellow crapshooters and being softer and more affectionate around his girlfriend. Burchett commands the stage, using large and extremely feminine motions to add to her diva personality. Burchett's comedic accent remains consistent throughout the whole show, and blends well with her excellent vocal skills, such as in "Adelaide's Lament".
Costume design by Grace Coil and Alexis Turner help add to the mid-1900s time period, using different styles of clothing to depict various characters. Bright, sparkly dresses for the Hot Box Girls vary greatly from the modest, red capes and gowns the missionaries wear.
The creativity of set design by Shelby Marsh allow for quick, smooth set changes. Use of periaktois, or three-sided set pieces, help to create various locations for the set from the missionary, Havana, Cuba, and a sewer where the crapshooters gamble. Attention to detail and depth in the set backgrounds make the set come to life and appear more realistic.
Los Alamitos High School's lively and energetic actors and creative and unique technical elements allow for their production of "Guys and Dolls" to truly shine.
by Martin Perez of Aliso Niguel High School
Los Alamitos enchants with "Guys and Dolls"
Dancing gamblers and talented ladies come together in the city of New York to create unlikely couples and Los Alamitos' captivating production of "Guys and Dolls."
Micaela Erikson, playing Sarah Brown, struts on stage with impeccable posture, showing the stiffness of her character, a missionary. However, Erikson was able to show a large contrast when her character was drunk with looser movements and imperfect posture. She sang beautifully with her high soprano voice. Her love interest, Sky Masterson, is played by Louis Cogan, who brings humor to the stage. His transformation throughout the show is evident in his change in stance and attitude. His exceptional voice is displayed in his songs, such as "Luck be a Lady."
Rylee Burchett commands the stage with her large movements and hilarious accent while playing Miss Adelaide. Her powerful belt sounds wonderful in both "Adelaide's Lament" and "Marry the Man Today," her duet with Sarah. Nathan Detroit, Adelaide's fiancï¿½, is brilliantly played by Connor Franzen. His humorous personality evidently softens when speaking with Miss Adelaide. His vocals are showcased delightfully in his duet with Miss Adelaide, "Sue Me."
Nicely-Nicely Johnson, played by Kayhan Bakian, sounded great in his show stopping number "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat."
The sharp, amusing choreography was done by Summer Jennings. She ensured that it tied in well with the music and challenged the actors. Her captivating choreography added to the show's excitement.
The set, designed by Shelby Marsh not only allows for quick scene changes, but is stunning. The completely hand painted periaktos show both depth and extreme detail.
The captivating lighting was designed by Joe Rios. By using a white cyclorama for day scenes and a black cyclorama for night scenes, Rios adds realism to the show. During high energy songs, such as the title song "Guys and Dolls," Rios includes entertaining, color changing lights.
With a hardworking crew and extremely talented cast, Los Alamitos did a splendid job in their production of "Guys and Dolls."
by Annie Chapman of Aliso Niguel High School
Los Alamitos High School is Rockin' the Boat
Los Alamitos High School is sweeping people back to time of glamour and even mischief in their spirited production of Guys and Dolls.
Set in a rather sinful New York City, the show follows gambler Nathan Detroit who, in trying to find money for his crapshoot, sets up gambler Sky Masterson and missionary Sarah Brown, while simultaneously drifting further away from his own love and long-time fiancï¿½, Adelaide. As the two love stories progress and the musical numbers get more flashy, Guys and Dolls raises the question of what love truly is and if people are really willing to change for it.
Louis Cogan, who plays the infamous yet incredibly charming gambler, Sky Masterson, not only commanded the stage through his constant high energy but through his visible change in character after falling in love with an unlikely woman. The equally talented, Micaela Erickson, portrays the uptight missionary determined to end gambling altogether especially well through her rigid physicality and alluring soprano voice. Together the two create a moving love story that displays that love truly can change people.
In contrast with the more serious couple, the stories' other leading lovers, Miss Adelaide and Nathan Detroit help to bring a more comedic aspect to the show but spearhead it nonetheless with their strong presences and character development. Connor Franzen, who plays the wannabe tough gangster, delivers a strong performance through consistently strong character and visible chemistry, yes chemistry, with his leading lady, Adelaide. Adelaide was portrayed by the extremely lively Rylee Burchett, whose commitment to her character, especially through her accent, allowed her to embody her with both shades of comedy and sincerity.
If strong acting wasn't enough, then the tech side of the production most certainly was. Through vibrant lighting cues set to the different music, hand-painted sets, radiant costumes and makeup and lively student choreography, the show came together in a fun and captivating way.
Overall, Los Alamitos' production of Guys and Dolls was both hilarious, heartfelt altogether captivating due to a strong cast and an equally strong crew.
by Kassidy Ordish of Aliso Niguel High School
Guys and Dolls Rolls a Win at Los Alamitos High School
In history, the 1950's started the "Golden Age" area in musical theatre. During this time New York was filled with chaotic activity. Between hotbox ladies dancing in their clubs, missionaries searching for sinners, and gamblers shooting crap and finding love, this city made one captivating story. Taken back to this time, Los Alamitos High School's production of Guys and Dolls is like winning a dice roll; there was consistently an adrenaline rush!
Both set and props added flavor to the show that was jaw dropping. The set crews ability to completely create various backdrops without taking or adding anything from the stage was extremely impressive. One of the most memorable moments of the show amongst all of the chaos, was when water was thrown into the face of a party attendee. The splash from this prop reaching the audience created a reality that joined the viewers to feel apart of the show. Although there would be the occasional microphone malfunction, each actor would make up for it by emphasizing their actions and projecting. Lastly, the tech crew's sharp scene changes maintained a fast speed that did not distract from the story.
Nathan Detroit's love interest, Miss Adelaide played by Rylee Burchett, possessed qualities that were overall amazing. Miss Adelaide's character is known to have an annoying high-pitched New York accent that Burchett held consistent throughout the entire show. Additionally, Burchett's voice was absolutely astounding. On top of the high-pitched screech she maintained in her singing, she adds this growl to her vocals that highlights the scandalous side of her character.
Guys and Dolls is an ensemble-heavy production that is centralized around four main characters and a few supporting roles. The exceptionally comedic supporting role Nicely-Nicely Johnson played by Kayhan Bakian was not only jocular, but owned a breathtaking vocal range. Furthermore, his stage presence indicated there was a humorous scene approaching.
Taken back to the Golden Age with Los Alamitos High School's engaging production of Guys and Dolls was certainly not a gamble.
by Savina Nasiri of Aliso Niguel High School
Bet on Los Al's Guys and Dolls
What is love? Is it fourteen years of engagement that makes one come down with a cold? Is it the attraction of two opposites that can only be intimated after a night under the Havana moon? In New York, it's a gamble-- the risk of love and loss between a guy and a doll.
Los Alamitos' production of Guys and Dolls chronicles the story of two big-time gamblers and their struggle to be as secure in their relationships as they are in their bets. The student-run production dazzles as a jazzy orchestra, impressive technical elements, and talented actors coincide.
Nathan Detroit (Connor Franzen) is the head of the longest-lasting underground crapshooting game around. Franzen adds humor to the worrisome gambler with his New York accent as he pleads with fiancï¿½e Adelaide (Rylee Burchett). Burchett is spunky with a squeaking voice which carries through songs, punctuated by raspy, growling notes adding to hilarity of her diva character.
Sky Masterson's (Louis Cogan) cool gambler's swagger develops with his voice of a charming jazz singer. Sarah Brown's (Micaela Erickson) organic soprano voice reveals her modest missionary character. Erickson strides unwaveringly away from Sky's gaze, making their eventual love all the more surprising.
Duo Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Kayhan Bakian) and Benny Southstreet (Christian D'Alessandro) give life to the crapshooters with exciting energy found in an angelic voice and consistent accent, respectively.
Dancers flood the stage, leaping and bounding with grace and exhilaration in the mesmerizing Crapshooters' Ballet, choreographed by Summer Jennings. Cambryelle Getter stands out in this number with sharp changes of facial expression. Throughout dances, hair and makeup by Micaela Erickson and Anna Baker, along with hats and accessories by costume designers Alexis Turner and Grace Coil remain pristine.
The incredibly detailed set, designed by Shelby Marsh and Ashley Tuliau rotates to reveal new scenery, and lights by Joe Rios fill the stage with glimmering colors. An exemplary collaboration lies in Havana, with the beautiful chaos of music, dancing, exotic sets, lighting, all reaching their zenith in the surprising smash of a prop glass over an actor's head--props to Jaq McKay and Sarah Berg.
Los Al's Guys and Dolls is an example of student work that portrays a story's every facet, presenting the beauty of love and chaos found in the tumultuous life of a New York gambler.
by Kaella Cummings of Fountain Valley
Los Alamitos rocks the boat with ï¿½Guys and Dolls'
In Los Alamitos' performance of "Guys and Dolls", Nathan Detroit desperately needs one thousand dollars to ensure a location for his craps game. Detroit bets gambler Sky Masterson a thousand dollars that he can't get missionary Sarah Brown to go to Havana with him. With the bet in place, Sky and Nathan are sent on a wild ride with the hopes of a happy ending.
Louis Cogan portrays Sky Masterson with a confident smile and unwavering determination. Cogan effectively shows Sky's transformation from viewing Sarah as another bet to a person he truly cares about, his swagger melting into honesty and a heart-warming tenderness.
Micaela Erickson plays the straight and stiff Sarah Brown, her tight and proper voice giving her an air of sophistication that is very different from the rest of the town. Contrasting her is Rylee Burchett in her portrayal of Miss Adelaide. Burchett's obnoxious voice and overdramatic personality is consistent, adding nicely to the diva character she has created.
Connor Franzen is the rough and tough Nathan Detroit. Franzen is also able to bring out the sweet and caring side of Nathan as he interacts with Adelaide, especially in the song "Sue Me", where his emotional struggle is depicted clearly in his voice.
Kayhan Bakian embodies the loud and comedic Nicely-Nicely Johnson. His big reactions and consistency in bringing food onstage keeps the audience in tears, and his rendition of "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" leaves them on the edge of their seats.
The set design by Shelby Marsh and Ashley Tuliau is captivating. With virtually no wing space, they created triangular flats that rotate and unfold so that changes are quick and fluid. The set is not entirely flat either, and Marsh and Tuliau are able to add depth to the backgrounds, effectively transporting the audience to the New York underworld.
Prop team Jaq McKay and Sarah Berg had a difficult task working with a prop heavy show. Despite the challenge, they were very successful. The hard work put into collecting stacks of newspaper and money, as well as many small bibles, adds immensely to the truth of the show. From spot-on accents to captivating sets, the cast and crew of "Guys and Dolls" bring to life a spectacular tale of risky bets and true love.
by Mackenzie Kohanek of Fountain Valley
Los Al's ravishing performance of ï¿½Guys and Dolls'
With gambling highly illegal, a gambler Nathan Detroit struggles to find a place that will host his nightly games. On top of that he has to hide them from his long term fiancee, Adelaide. However, there's one person who might be able to help, Sky Masterson.
Los Al does an impeccable job with the classic show, "Guys and Dolls". Working with several other performing arts groups, the theater program works hard and transports us to New York City in the 1950's.
Leading the show is Nathan Detroit (Connor Franzen) with his consistent new york accent and wonderful vocals. Franzen has a very strong character, as a part of that he shows a major contrast between when Nathan is with his friends versus when he is with his fiancee. Franzens voice is showcased throughout the show but has an empowering moment in "Sue Me" which he sings with Adelaide.
Miss Adelaide (Rylee Burchett), Nathan's fiancee, commands the stage with her fun and dynamic character. Burchett uses a nasally voice on top of her accent that she is able to keep consistent, even while singing beautifully. Burchett and Franzen work well together on stage to portray the stereotypical 1950's couple.
Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Kayhan Bakian) and Benny Southstreet (Christian D'Alessandro) are another fun duo that dominate the stage. With plenty of comedic moments and strong vocals they were Nathan's right hand men. Bakian has a shining moment in "Sit Down, You're Rocking the Boat", his vocals are impeccable and his bold character choices really stand out. The ensemble make the song even more incredible with their in sync dancing and backup vocals.
Nearly all technical elements of the show are impressively student done. The shining element of the show is the lighting, designed by Joe Rios. Rios adds depth and intensity to each scene.Their use of the spotlight was wondrous as Makaila Ocampo steadily isolates the character the audience should be focusing on. The lighting was especially great in "Havana", the lights and music hit beats simultaneously which creates a very dynamic scene.
The run crew ( Sam Mellgoza, Seth Mellgoza, Zoe Castillo, Will Schneider, Christina Morris) do an impeccable job of smoothly transforming the stage in complex and creative ways.
With captivating acting, powerful vocals, and prominent tech elements Los Al presents a very lively show.
by Madison Arne of Fountain Valley
Los Alamitos takes a gamble on "Guys and Dolls"
The Roar of the 1920's was certainly due to the endless bickering between moral missionaries and sinful gamblers searching for a good time. On the old streets of Broadway, Nathan Detroit and Sky Masterson make a bet on Lt. Sarah Brown, the epitome of holy. Los Alamitos steps up to the plate and brings us "Guys and Dolls," a show full of wonderful comedy and woeful romance.
Rocking the boat is Kayham Bakian playing Nicely-Nicely Johnson, the humorous cohort of Nathan Detroit. Bakian kicks off the show with his powerful character voice and thick accent. He makes an amazing first impression with his partner in crime, Christian D'Alessandro as Benny Southstreet. The energetic pair gives you a taste of life as a gambler and introduce the social standards of the time. As they belt in harmony, time flies backwards towards the diverse jazz music of the 20's.
Rylee Burchett, with her rosy complexion and sweet Big Apple accent, is an adorable Miss Adelaide. Her goal to get from Hot-Box showgirl to housewife is evident as her birdlike voice shines in "Adelaide's Lament," using her showgirl experience to keep the sad song upbeat and entertaining.
Connor Franzen is one with his character Nathan Detroit. As Adelaide's husband-to-be, he's torn between settling down and running his Floating Craps game. He grows from a sleazy slouching criminal and goes straight in both his spine and reputation.
Orchestrating the mood of this toe tapping show we have Stage Manager Angelica Alvarez who keeps everyone on their feet. The bright detailed sets require much attention and communication amongst the stage crew as they navigate their elaborate Periaktoi background, an interchangeable triangular prism with multiple backgrounds on it at once. The costumes, designed by Grace Coil and Alexis Turner, give flare and add spontaneity to "Guys and Dolls," matching emerald green ties to salmone button ups and pinstriped suits. On the contrary, there is nothing wild or out of the blue for the missionaries, in fact it's quite red. The Crapshooters get colorful, quirky get-ups, the "Save a Soul" missionaries march about in a uniform red and black, with capes on top to match their scarlet coats.
From the fascinating work on the crew's behalf to the fast pace performance the cast gave, Los Alamitos rolls a ten on their romantic comedy "Guys and Dolls."
by Anna Valencia of Laguna Hills High School
Los Al's Guys and Dolls is No Gamble
Chasing love can be a gamble, especially for the cast of Guys and Dolls at Los Alamitos High School. Taking place in 1950s New York some of the most prevalent underground crapshooters of the streets start to place their bets on some dolls. Stuck in sewers and stuck in prayer meetings, these guys and dolls are working hard for their hearts.
Nathan Detroit played by Connor Franzen drives the show as the not so reliable owner of the constantly moving underground crap game of New York. He is both daring and nervous with his quirky antics. His nasally New York accent is very fitting for the time and the story as well as a good laugh. Franzen also really captures the emotional struggle Detroit feels between his mutual dedication to his work and his fiancï¿½, especially as his soft side shines through as he sings the song "Sue Me" with Adelaide. Rylee Burchett as Miss Adelaide demands attention the second she struts on stage. Her popping hips and charming yet slightly annoying high pitched accent fill the stage. Burchett exudes confidence in her big and bold movement but also her sensitivity as she furrows her brows and laments her love for Nathan. From growls to sneezes Burchett is lovable in her entirety as Adelaide. In contrast is the stiff and fussy Sarah Brown played by Micaela Erickson. The very controlled woman m
arches with a mission as she sings in a light soprano tone. The two actresses differences come together beautifully in their duet "Marry the Man Today".
The ensemble as a whole is energetic throughout the performance. Each with very distinct characters and stories, every inch of the stage is enticing. An especially upbeat number accentuating the cast is "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" sung by Nicely Nicely Johnson (Kayhan Bakian).
The technical attributes of the show are very deserving of praise. The simple yet effective set designed by Shelby Marsh and Ashley Tuliau is both clever and impressive being hand painted transforming triangular blocks. Also standing out is the lighting designed by Joe Rios which uses color and intensity to enhance mood and imply emotion.
Los Alamitos's proves that their production is made of more than luck.
by Jessy Nelson of Laguna Hills High School
Los Alamitos Rocks the Boat in "Guys and Dolls"
As the hustle and bustle of the New York City streets began, the energetic ensemble filled the hand painted and student designed set. The comedic duo Benny Southstreet, played by Christian D'Alessandro, and Nicely-Nicely Johnson, played by Kayhan Bakian, lit up the stage with their jazzy voices and hilarious personalities. The two played off of each other throughout the show and committed to every scene, especially as they sang the title song, "Guys and Dolls." Another fellow crapshooter Nathan Detroit, played by Connor Franzen, frantically ran around the stage for the majority of show trying to please fellow gangsters and his longtime girlfriend Miss Adelaide, played by Rylee Burchett. Showstoppers like, "Sue Me" sung by Miss Adelaide and Nathan Detroit showed their lovable banter making their relationship unique. Burchett's sultry voice was mesmerizing as she commanded the stage for every number. Her consistent Jersey accent and flirty personality made her a standout perfo
Nathan Detroit runs into cool guy Sky Masterson, played by Louis Cogan, and bets him the bet of a lifetime. Masterson had an effective transformation throughout the show as he fell in love for the first time with an unlikely doll, Sarah Brown, played by Micaela Erickson. Erickson's voice wowed in every number and though she had a feisty energy she also showed a softer side. Throughout the show the two went back and forth on their feelings for one another but everything changed in their heartwarming duet "I've Never Been in Love Before."
Each lighting cue, set change, and costume changes were always on point thanks to stage manger, Angelica Alvarez with the help of her fabulous crew. Not only did the magic happen on stage, but behind the scenes, this student run production left a personal feel for everyone involved.
Every song was accentuated by the lovely student orchestra. Each cue was hit in "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" as a dozen genuine sinners filed the mission. Bakian's takes the lead on this song, his soulful voice brought the sinners to their feet as everyone joined in. The orchestra had an overwhelming vibrant engird that added to this show.
Cast and crew alike pulled through to create a heartwarming show. Los Alamitos had "The Happy Ending" to this fun chaotic show.
by Alexis Sawyer of Orange Lutheran High School
Place All Your Bets on Los Alamitos' Guys and Dolls
Audiences are filled with nostalgia as they hear timeless songs that compel them to hum along to in Los Alamitos' production of Guys and Dolls.
This classic musical follows the lives of extreme gamblers who are all depending on Nathan Detroit to find a location for their infamous crap game. In the midst of this, Sky Masterson is in town looking for some action and he gets mixed up in a bet where he has to take Miss Sarah Brown, the city missionary, to Havana and in doing so, he falls head over heels in love with her.
There are many standout performances within this musical that truly convey the time period and age of gangsters and showgirls. Louis Cogan, who portrayed Sky Masterson, has an effective tumultuous journey throughout the show. He first starts off as a slick gambler whose suave movements and smirks make him the epitome of cool, yet when he falls for Sarah Brown he becomes lovestruck and his entire demeanor changes by his ever present smile and his quick and energetic movements. Rylee Burchett as Miss Adelaide commands the stage whenever she struts across and her cabaret songs are a highlight within the production. She maintains a high and nasally accent throughout the duration of the show, including her songs, and this really conveys her character and adds an extreme contrast to Micaela Erickson's subdued and simple character of Sarah Brown. Even though Kayhan Bakian was not the lead actor, he absolutely stole the show in his 11 o'clock number, "Sit Down Your Rocking the Boat,
" as Nicely-Nicely Johnson. His soaring vocals and physical humor make it so that there is never a dull moment whenever he graces the stage.
Surprisingly, the technical elements of this show are entirely all student done, from the large orchestra to the intricate set. The student composed orchestra brings mounds of energy to the entire cast and the choreography is perfectly set to the strong beats within the brass section. The costumes are also exceptionally made with peculiar details that really add layers to each vibrant character. They are very effective in the song, "Take Back Your Mink," where the hot box dancers rip off their long, elegant black dresses to reveal short and scandalous show girl outfits that come as a surprise to everyone. The lighting vibrantly silhouettes each character in a subtle way and moves the audience to realize what they should be feeling. Colorful warm tones light up the stage whenever it is the day time, and then move to darker and subtler tones at night scenes where mischievous events take place.
Los Alamitos' production of Guys and Dolls is a standout and will definitely make anyone want to get up out of their chairs and sing and dance along to the high energy of the cast and crew.
by Anysa Wilson of Orange Lutheran High School
Los Alamitos High School brings to life the charming story of gamblers, show-girls, and missionaries finding unlikely love in the Big City.
"Guys and Dolls" is an adventure through New York that entails intertwining plots between two couples, one of them being con-man Nathan Detroit (Connor Franzen) and his long-time girlfriend, Miss Adelaide (Rylee Burchett), a showgirl. Franzen and Burchett confidently command the stage with their strong characters. Franzen's accent is very consistent throughout the show, and through his acting he clearly demonstrates his character's internal struggle to make both his girlfriend and his crap-shooting friends happy. Burchett plays a great opposite to Franzen. She is a dynamic actress, as she can be seen acting completely over-the-top dramatic like in her song "Adelaide's Lament," or a little bit softer and more genuine in other scenes.
A perfect contrast to this couple is Sky Masterson, the gambler, and Sarah Brown, the missionary, played by Louis Cogan and Micaela Erickson respectively. Cogan portrays Sky as a confident man about town who becomes frustrated and confused as his character falls in love. Erickson well contrasts Miss Adelaide, as she plays a prim and reserved evangelist who slowly changes as she falls in love with Sky. The contrast between the two female leads is highlighted in their duet, "Marry the Man Today."
Scenic designers Shelby Marsh and Ashley Tuliau created a set that was both efficient for scene changes, and visually appealing for creating each different location. They used a periaktos set that flawlessly rotated as the stage quickly transformed from the streets of New York to the inside of a mission building.
Tying the whole show together was a strong orchestra, which really added another layer of extravagance to this show. The actors fed off of the energy of the orchestra really well, and the choreography was well synced to the powerful hits in the music, thanks to student choreographer Summer Jennings.
Los Alamitos' production of "Guys and Dolls" was a ï¿½bushel and a peck' of fun.
by Brayden Martino of Orange Lutheran High School
Los Al's Guys and Dolls Dazzles
From the bustle of Times Square to the dance clubs of Havana to the Sewers of New York City, the cast of Los Alamitos's Guys and Dolls presents a straightforward and accurate portrayal of the romantic comedy.
The show centers on Nathan Detroit (Connor Franzen), who attempts to balance his lives as a conman, attempting to find a place to host his notorious crap game, and a fiancï¿½ to Miss Adelaide (Rylee Burchett), trying his best not to have to get married quite yet. Both Burchett and Franzen maintain an incredible energy throughout the entire show; Burchett's strong voice and command of the stage are matched perfectly by Franzen's facial expressions and physical comedy in reaction to her over-the-top performance. The duo especially shines in creating a believable dynamic in their song, "Sue Me." Enough cannot be said about Burchett's performance in particular: Her multiple laments were perfected to a tee and each line she spoke was delivered with purpose and care, all while consistently making neurosis the pinnacle of comedic venture.
Sky Masterson (Louis Cogan), a high-rolling gambler, and Sarah Brown (Micaela Erickson), a puritanical missionary, share a similarly strong dynamic. Cogan displays sincerity in his transformation from tough city-slicker to lovelorn convert, while Erickson shows her character's true feelings subtly throughout the show.
Another character that can't be missed is Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Kayhan Bakian) who serves as an incredible comic relief throughout the show. Bakian is committed to his role, taking advantage of every opportunity to get a laugh, whether that is in the fore or background of a scene. He is especially well spotlighted in his song, "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat."
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this performance was the work of the technical crew. This show was entirely student produced, but in a professional manner. The scenic art (Ashley Tuliau) transports the audience back in time and smooth transitions between settings by the Set Crew allowed them to stay in focus throughout.
The music was also keyed in. The student orchestra never missed a beat and provided a stunning backdrop for the performance.
by Matt Hutnyan of Orange Lutheran High School
Guys and Dolls at Los Alamitos High School
As the quaint ministry life of Sarah Brown collides with the late night shenanigans of Sky Masterson in his trip to a craps game, hilarity and romance are to ensue.
Los Alamitos' production of Guys and Dolls is shaped very well by the stern foundation of a purposeful ensemble. Keeping accents and voice fluctuation steady through the entire show, the ensemble maintained a high energy and showed each developing character with purpose and intent.
Sky Masterson, portrayed by one Louis Cogan, showed strong intent and character growth as he smoothly commanded the stage with his suave movements and crooner's voice. His cool accent was resent through the whole show and he maintained attention with each scene.
Carefully opposite of Sky, Sarah Brown, played by Micaela Erickson, was a nice opposer. Her pure tone in voice was present as she gracefully hit notes out of this world. The maturity shown through her actions and voice were a good pair to Cogan.
Bringing gusty laughs to the stage, Miss Adelaide played by Rylee Burchett and Nathan Detroit played by Connor Franzen showed strong intent as they brought the house down with each line they spoke. Burchett, possibly having the most difficult accent due to her pitch and tone stayed confident and steady through and through and quite possibly stole the show.
The tech in this show was higher than most due to the fact that all was done by students. From the masterful stage that captured each location, to the marketing and publicity that featured its own cast on their posters as opposed to one done online. The orchestra, although sometimes overpowering the voices of the actors was fantastically operated and done.
Through and through, this cast did a marvelous job of producing a well done show through its powerful leads, supported by an equally strong ensemble of talented kids. Guys and Dolls truly gave The Happy Ending to each and every person involved.
by Samantha Hood of Orange Lutheran High School
Los Alamitos' ï¿½Guys and Dolls' is sinfully enjoyable
Amid the wonder of New York City, Nathan Detroit makes a bet with Sky Masterson, eventually leading some crapshooting sinners to attend a virtuous mission's prayer meeting. Los Alamitos High School's "Guys and Dolls" reminds us that deep down sinners and saints are not all that different, and love can come from anywhere.
Louis Cogan portrays Sky Masterson with a jazzy voice, initially demonstrating his arrogance with his proud swagger and confident demeanor. Micaela Erickson as Sarah Brown contrasts Cogan's swagger with her uptight nature, standing tall with shoulders back and a serious faï¿½ade. The duo share a transitioning moment together in "I've Never Been in Love Before," making their unexpected emotions for each other clear with intense high notes beautifully coinciding.
Nathan Detroit, played by Connor Franzen, possesses a consistently thick, nasally New York accent. Even with his deceitful hobbies, he expresses a genuine love and adoration for Miss Adelaide (Rylee Burchett), which his voice reflects as it becomes more calm and soothing around her, compared to his typical frazzled words and frantic gesticulations. Burchett becomes a comic star with contrasts of squeaky, mousey moments and deep, growling sounds, allowing the rise and fall of her voice to manipulate words with emphasis. This voice additionally creates an extensively impressive vocal range, especially in her personal expression of "Adelaide's Lament."
Nicely-Nicely Johnson (Kayhan Bakian) shines in "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" with talented vocals, active gesticulations, and a united "wave" movement, revealing the unconventional nature of crapshooters at a mission.
Costumes by Grace Coil and Alexis Turner include the popping, bright red of the saintly missionaries' clothing, which explodes on stage among timely suits of the sinful crapshooters and portrays a clear contrast between the two ensembles. Adelaide's wedding gown is extravagant and clearly symbolizes her joyful yet gaudy personality.
The impressive periaktoi set design (by Shelby Marsh) allows for clean executions of set changes with jaw-dropping, detailed backgrounds. Particularly, the linear perspective of the streets of New York and tunnel in the sewer create a wondrous use of depth and space with converging lines.
The orchestra is phenomenal with consistent, precise timing and prominent notes aligning with the actors' actions, emphasizing their movements. This orchestra proves especially exceptional.
Los Alamitos High School remarkably depicts the story of "Guys and Dolls," one of love, individualism, and right versus wrong, essentially exhibiting there is shared common ground among all of us.
by Kendra Shreve of San Juan Hills High School
The Boat's Rockin' At Los Alamitos
Take a trip back in time to New York and witness a period of gambling, show tunes, and comedy at Los Alamitos performance of "Guys and Dolls" based off the book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows. This musicals follows the lives of Nathan Detroit, portrayed by Connor Franzen, Miss Adelaide, portrayed by Rylee Burchett and Sarah Brown, portrayed by Micaela Erickson. Life is going on as usual until Sky Masterson, portrayed by Louis Cogan, rolls into town. After making a $1000 bet with Nathan, Sky must get Sarah Brown, a missionary sergeant, to fall for him in the hilarious tale that is "Guys and Dolls"
The ensemble as a whole had excellent chemistry between one another, especially the crapshooters, their physical comedy and charisma was evident throughout the show with whatever they did, whether it was a small comment or just their body language, the crapshooters kept an entertaining facade throughout the musical.
The vocal quality of the ensemble is ever present throughout the performance, but Kayhan Bakian, playing Nicely-Nicely Johnson shined in his solo. Not only was the ensemble's voice heard, they were able to maintain their New Yorker accents as well, even Miss Adelaide, who had a nasally tone that was heard even in her songs.
The set was very uniquely made, with several different pieces taking you from the city to havana or even the sewers! All the set pieces were hand painted and you could definitely see that they paid very close attention to the details of each setting, even accompanying each location with different lights to immerse the audience in the performance.
As a whole, "Guys and Dolls" was the bee's knees! It captured the essence of the 1900's era and brought together a musical spectacular that truly was a blast from the past! From every aspect the show was amazing and I would watch it again if I could!
by Jake Cirrito of Sunny Hills High School
Los Alamitos Puts on a Wild Show
The streets of New York are full of action and excitement in this production of "Guys and Dolls". Connor Franzen delivers a clever performance as Nathan Detroit, the owner of a floating crapshoot game. Nathan Detroit is joined onstage by his lover Miss Adelaide, a frilly showgirl played by Rylee Burchett. Burchett bursts onto the stage with larger than life vocals and consistent commitment to her voice and her wild character.
This production is a huge technical creative collaboration, Los Alamitos made use of the different art departments at their school to create an entirely student run show. One example is the scenic paint, designed by Ashley Tuliau, which quickly transported us from the streets of New York to a bar in Havana. Surprisingly, the show was accompanied by a live orchestra which gave the show a lively energy and invigorated the actors.
Louis Cogan gives a subtle and intricate performance as Sky Masterson, the slick gambler. Nathan Detroit bets Sky that he couldn't take a particular prudish mission worker with him to Havana so Sky begins to pursue her. That prudish mission worker is Sarah Brown played by Micaela Erickson. As the show progresses we see Erickson's character make a transition from modest to wild as she falls in love with Sky. Erickson displays her vocal ability If I were a Bell where she professes her joy in love.
Another instance of student-run technical aspects was the crapshooter's ballet which featured choreography created by students. The choreography was crisp, diverse, and exciting including leaps and huge ensemble numbers. Costumes set the time period perfectly, whether it's the bright red of the mission worker's uniforms or the undressed suits of the crapshooters. Makeup also helped add to the character's, Miss Adelaide had bright and shiny makeup while Sarah had more subtle stage makeup just to bring out the natural features of her face.
The story culminates to climax and we are treated to the showstopping number "Sit Down, You're Rockin' the Boat" where Nicely-Nicely Johnson regales the mission workers with the tale of a dream he had. Guys and Dolls at Los Alamitos puts a fresh modern spin on a classic story that will leave you happier than a mission worker in Havana.
by Joseph Hanson of Sunny Hills High School
Los Alamitos bets big with Guys and Dolls
Imagine yourself amidst the glitz and glamour of the Roaring Twenties. That's how life was for Sky Masterson and Nathan Detroit, two gamblers who had one mindset, winning! Los Alamitos High School's production of Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser shows us what it's like to be gambling man who falls in love.
This show is set sometime between the roaring twenties and thirties in New York. This story follows two main male characters, Sky Masterson (Louis Cogan) and Nathan Detroit (Connor Franzen). Both Cogan and Franzen played their characters very well and were consistent throughout the whole show.
The characters of Miss Adelaide (Rylee Burchett) and Sarah Brown (Micaela Erickson) both played their characters in a good way. Burchett played the role of Miss Adelaide in a very loud and whiney sort of way. Erickson played the role of Sarah Brown in a very straight and up tight manner. The way the actors differed their characters helped contrast them. Especially in the song Marry the Man Today. This song was funny because it really showed how the two characters clashed.
During the show almost every character had a New York type accent. Every actor was able to keep their accent throughout and was very consistent with it. The accents added a lot to the characters.
The set during this show was very well done. The way the set was able to fold and rotate helped make the scene changes very quick and easy. The set changes were very smooth and fast as well. The stage manager (Angelica Alvarez) made sure every actor and tech knew what they were doing and what to move, which helped make the scene changes quick. The set was also hand painted which was a very nice touch.
The choreography of the show was very good. Everyone seemed to be in sync and didn't have a problem dancing. Mrs. Allison Armstrong did a very good job with it. The crapshooters choreography was student done by Summer Jennings. Jennings did a wonderful job with the crapshooters dance.
The ensemble of this show helped tie it all together. The crapshooters were very good singers as a group. During The Crapshooters' Dance, every crapshooter was in character and managed to stay in character throughout the whole show.
by Josh Acosta of Sunny Hills High School
Los Alamitos' ï¿½Guys and Dolls' scores big
Los Alamitos' production of ï¿½Guys and Dolls' shows how a gamblers life can change when love enters their world.
In a bet, Sky Masterson, played by Louis Cogan, must take the religious, virtuous Sarah Brown, portrayed by Micaela Erickson, on a date. Meanwhile, Nathan Detroit, portrayed by Connor Franzen, must find a place to hold his gambling session without his girlfriend Miss Adelaide, played by Rylee Burchett, finding out or upsetting his gambling buddies.
Costumes designed by Grace Coil and Alexis Turner beautifully matched the characters personalities and time period. For Sarah Brown, the stiffer, religious character, a conservative red button up and skirt match her personality well. Where as for Miss Adelaide, the more outgoing character, a flashy dress works well. From nice suits for the gamblers to flashy outfits for the hotbox dancers, each characters costume made sense.
Michaela Erickson beautifully executes the uptight personality of Sara Brown. Erickson's sophisticated posture and strict tone of voice adds to the nature of the character. In contrast, Rylee Burchett commands the stage with big movements in her many songs as Miss Adelaide. Burchett's consistent nasally voice increases the comedic aspect of the character and kept the loud, flamboyant energy alive.
The ensemble works well together to create a life-like atmosphere around them. From crisp, sharp dance numbers to just sitting at a table eating dinner, all characters paid attention to and engaged in each scene, even if they had no lines. Which brought the whole show together well.
The live orchestra makes the performance very authentic. They work well with the actors to create perfect timing. As the orchestra plays, the technicians work nicely together to change the set to the appropriate scene. With set changes no longer than 20 seconds, the crew moves swiftly and quickly to arrange the set perfectly. This moves the show along nicely to the next scene.
All together, the cast, crew and orchestra work well together to create a fun, jazzy, up beat show!
by Maddy Githens of Sunny Hills High School
Make a Bet on Los Alamitos High
Los Alamitos puts on the outstanding production of "Guys and Dolls" and shine their light and told the story of a time of gambling. As they moved around the stage, they brought immense energy into what is normally a blank stage.
There is a saying that goes "there are no small role, only small actors". The outstanding ensemble proved that every time they stepped on stage with their gigantic smiles and clean and crisp dance moves, they helped move the story along and were completely dedicated the entire time.
As the cast was all amazing, there was one person who definitely stood out and that was Rylee Burchett as Miss Adelaide. From the moment she steps on stage, she fills the room with an absolute brightness. Her shrill voice is extremely high enough, but not high enough to have her fiancï¿½ Nathan Detroit (played by Connor Franzen) abandon her.
She does an impeccable job and brights absolutely ALL the character the entire time.
Louis Cogan struts on stage with complete confidence as Sky Masterson. Cogan shows the perfect example of a dynamic character, when we see in the beginning, a tough gambler with not a care in the world, until he meets the uptight Sarah Brown (played by Micaela Erickson), and we watch as he falls deeper and deeper in love. We really have the opportunity to see his internal conflicts with himself come out. It was a journey within himself.
Connor Franzen as Nathan Detroit, sombers on stage revealing his gruff personality around his friends, but when he is around his fiancï¿½, Miss Adelaide, showing the absolute smallest bit of his soft side just enough to have a perfect execution of the character.
Grace Coil and Alexis Turner did a remarkable job on the costumes which perfectly depicted the time era. With bright color and pizazz to show of each character's individuality, each costume had its own unique factor to it. Not only that, but there were many costume changes throughout the play, showing a wide range in talent from this incredible women who added their own creativity.
Michaela Erickson (Sarah Brown) depicts a stern character in the production adding a comedic desperation to save the sinners. With perfect posture and long strides, she give a complete and beautiful truthfulness to the character
by Sammie Cano of Sunny Hills High School
Los Alamitos' "Guys and Dolls" is romantic and delightful
A gambler and a missionary fall in love. A showgirl develops a cold over her stagnating engagement. Twelve criminals attend church. Nathan Detroit seeks a venue for his craps game and ends up an unwilling attendant at his own bachelor party. Anything can happen in 1950s New York!
Los Alamitos High School's production of "Guys and Dolls" is energetic and heartwarming as it follows the paths of four unlikely lovers through a web of mishaps and misdemeanors. Detailed technical elements and dedicated actors combine to create a delightful production.
Rylee Burchett is effervescent as Miss Adelaide, a simple-minded showgirl with a nasally New York accent. Burchett impressively maintains the accent through her song "A Bushel and A Peck," complete with squeaks, growls, and dramatic motionsï¿½ every bit the diva. Connor Franzen complements Burchett as Nathan Detroit, beleaguered New York gangster. Franzen shows his character's soft side in "Sue Me," as he admits his love for Adelaide.
Micaela Erickson stands in sharp contrast to Burchett as Sarah Brown, a reserved missionary. Erickson remains stiff and dignified, whether rebuffing the advances of an man or attempting to proselytize to the crowds. Erickson lets loose in "Havana," however, stumbling tipsily as she drinks, dances, and even participates in a bar fight.
Opposite Erickson is Louis Cogan as Sky Masterson, a chronic gambler. Cogan begins with a smirk and a swagger. However, as he meets Sarah, falls in love, and gets slappedï¿½ in rapid successionï¿½ Cogan becomes frustrated. His confidence returns in the showstopper "Luck Be A Lady," as he assuredly tosses dice across stage in a craps game to save the day and win the girl.
Sarah Berg and Jaq McKay add to the show with intricate props. Props range from stacks of dozens of newspapers to glowing cigarettes. One of their most impressive feats is an alcohol bottle that is smashed against a man's head and shatters in the air.
Costumes, designed by Grace Coil and Alexis Turner, add to each character's personality. The crapshooters wear clothing suitable to their classï¿½ Nathan Detroit wears a tacky plaid suit. Meanwhile, Chicago gangster Big Jule (Owen Marubayashi) sports a formidable trench coat that adds to his menace.
Featuring intricate technical elements and a cast of colorful characters, Los Alamitos' "Guys and Dolls" is refreshing and spirited as it explores the unlikeliness of love.
by Audrey Mitchell of University High School
In November, students in the Los Al Drama Department participated in a school Shakespeare competition, presenting a 20-line monologue and a Shakespeare sonnet, judged by Mr. Bone, Mr. Hooper, Mrs. Franzen, and Mrs. Armstrong.
The results of the competition were:
1st place: Melamie Tanaka
2nd place: Chloe Lim
3rd place: Jaq McKay
All three placers performed their pieces as part of "Evening with the Bard" in November on the Mainstage.
On Saturday, February 25th, Melanie Tanaka represented Los Al in the CA semi-finals of the English-Speaking Union National Shakespeare Festival in Los Angeles.
Melanie presented a monologue from A Midsummer Night's Dream, and a sonnet, and did a fantastic job.
Truly heartfelt, Los Al explores the wondrously wild "Animal Farm"
With a red barn housing entire flocks and herds of farm animals as the primary centerpiece of the main stage, Los Alamitos High School brings to life the classic tale of "Animal Farm" by George Orwell, a depiction of the supreme reign of tyranny among the animals after the overthrow of Farmer Jones, the primary cause for their subjection to slavery. Creating a universe where animals can talk, think, and to an extent, govern themselves, Los Alamitos's adaptation of a well-renowned novel dazzles and stuns with a plethora of well-choreographed dance sequences to tell an unforgettable story of betrayal, rebellion, and fear.
At the center of the chaos and disorder is Napoleon (Milica Vrzic), an abusive, power-hungry pig, bent on wreaking terror amongst the docile animals residing in the former Manor Farm, and her sidekick, Squealer (Melanie Tanaka). Together, this dynamic duo expel the alleged "weak links" of the animal species, the first of which is Snowball (Evan Cusato), their former collaborator. Cusato's portrayal of the sincerely nurturing Snowball delightfully contrasts with Vrzic's portrayal of the corrupt Napoleon; their competition for power is evident from the very beginning, as they incessantly quarrel over their plans for the future of Animal Farm.
Caught in the middle of this "power war," Melanie Tanaka depicts Squealer as a character with a multi-faceted personality: clever, manipulative, and distinctly sympathetic. After the merciless executions of those who support Snowball's cause, Tanaka as Squealer retreats to a corner of the barn with wringing hands and a slight grimace after taking part in the murders, an undeniable implication of reluctance to participate in such gruesome activity.
A rebel within the cause for reform, Clover (Kaitlin Buxton) is a naïve and timid outcast of the current residents of Animal Farm, as she trots about the stage while maintaining an innocent, deer-caught-in-the-headlights expression.
Powerfully and effectively dramatic, the lighting design (Miles Austin) is absolutely marvelous, as the red and yellow hues during the battle scenes provide an ominous, suspenseful setting that pairs well with the ensemble's lithe movements as they emphasize the severity of the situation through a skillfully elaborate dance.
With a fantastic narration by Denise Chacanaca, Los Alamitos's production of "Animal Farm" tells a beautifully heart-wrenching and emotional story of daring, bravery, and the courage to project one's voice in an unforgiving society.
by Sharon Chen of Fountain Valley
There's No Horsing Around at Los Alamito's "Animal Farm"
George Orwell's classic satirical novel, Animal Farm, is well known for its depiction of the rise of the Soviet Union through symbolic animals. It details the beginnings of Stalin and his regime, cleverly representing him and other political figures as "pigs", and other appropriate animals for all parts of society. Now, Los Alamitos High School presents their interpretation of this story in their production of "Animal Farm."
Heading the show as the fearsome pig Napoleon is Milica Vrzic, who gives a strong and commanding performance. Vrzic's presence on stage remains intimidating throughout the whole show; as her position as a dictator slowly cements itself, she transforms into a crazier, and more sinister force. As well, Vrzic's natural Serbian accent feels appropriate for her character and serves as a nice distinguishing characteristic for Napoleon. As her second in command, Squealer, Melanie Tanaka is a sniveling lackey, who regularly serves as the voice of Napoleon. Tanaka's high, squealing voice, coupled with a leering physicality, garner a sort of disgust and anger from the audience, especially during her announcements of the oppressive laws ordered by Napoleon.
Representing the different personalities of the general public in the USSR are the two horses Clover and Boxer, played by Kayla Wiggs and Simon Martin respectively. Boxer blindly follows Napoleon's orders, while Clover remains quiet about the doubts she has of her leader's ability. Clover's close relationship with the naive Boxer is clearly displayed by Wiggs, and her emotion during Boxer's crippling injury, and simultaneous departure, is heartbreaking.
The lighting design by Miles Austin works well, as a simplistic representation of both the farm itself, and its transformation into a totalitarian nation. The rural color scheme of reds and yellows subtly hint at the colors of the USSR, which helps project the symbolism of the show without being too blatant. As well, the fog that pours out of the barn whenever the pigs open the main doors creates an ominous feel, and creepily represents the corruption of the farm's governing body.
The combination of these elements, and more, come together to create an interesting and thought provoking show. Los Alamitos' "Animal Farm" not only gives great performances, but a satirical look into the corruption of a nation.
by Devin Ricklef of Fullerton Union
Los Alamitos' Animal Farm is a "squeal"
Los Alamitos High School performs George Orwell's Animal Farm, adapted by Ian Wooldridge, taking on the roles as animals for a spectacular hayride of oinks and moos. This small cast of actors become animals, overthrowing humans and starting a democracy. Eventually, power goes to the pigs, and the once liberal government is now a full-blown dictatorship.
Napoleon, played by Milica Vrzic, inserts power into the farm. Vrzic develops a strong posture and booming voice to create leadership over other characters. This ultimate strength doesn't go unnoticed in the expulsion of Snowball, when Napoleon is not placed center stage, but still is seen as an authoritative figure.
Boxer (Simon Martin) along with Clover (Kaitlin Buxton) are the dynamic duo. Both actors create a naive atmosphere whenever onstage. Their characters work together to embody an innocent towns-person feel. When Boxer is dragged away to die, Clover runs to save him, but Benjamin (Nick Jurado) catches her in his arms. While actress Buxton is kicking and screaming, Jurado's character plays the wiser of the group, trying to calm her down.
Squealer (Melanie Tanaka), being Napoleon's side kick, constantly looks for approval. Particularly when the animals build the windmill, Squealer has a moment of searching for acceptance and appears worried until Napoleon pats her on the head. Tanaka fully embodies the feel of a squealing pig, having a high-pitched yelp every time she speaks, as well as an awkward squat when walking. She puts many dimensions into her character, as seen shivering on the sidelines- the hesitation she shows during the massacre of traitors.
Lighting designer Miles Austin takes the communism feel literally, having shades of red and oranges when the pigs appear onstage. Even when emerging from the barn, coming out from a heaven-like white color, they step out of fog, demonstrating their corruption of power.
Publicity designer Kaitlyn Sugihara creates posters of Napoleon and Snowball, mirroring those of leaders during the branches of communism and Bolshevik war in the Soviet Union. Sugihara also makes sure student support fills the audience. Getting teachers on her side, many students of Los Alamitos fill the house to enjoy the show and get a little extra credit.
Los Alamitos High School's band of farm animals tells the story of world history, teaching spectators the dangers of power while embodying the feel of en-capturing everyone on a not-so-ordinary farm.
by Elizabeth Gimple of Fullerton Union
A stand against humans in Los Alamitos' Animal Farm
When you let too much power get to your head, the outcome may not be what you anticipate.
Shadowing events leading up to the Russian Revolution of 1917 and into the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union, Animal Farm tells the story of an animal revolution. When Jones forgets to feed the animals they team up against him and a revolution occurs, driving Jones and his men off the farm. The animals rename the farm from Manor Farm to Animal Farm and paint the Seven Commandments of Animalism on the top of the barn. When three pigs - Snowball, Squealer, and Napoleon - take control, everything changes on Animal Farm.
With a condescending attitude, Squealer (Melanie Tanaka) creeps around stage with an exquisite physicality which shadows her sneaky, manipulate personality. Though Tanaka gives another dimension to her one-sided character when she shows how difficult it is for her to kill the other animals upon Napoleon commanding her to, reflecting how she has a heart just like everyone else.
Tanaka becomes submissive when she begins seeking approval from Napoleon (Milica Vrzic). Vrzics authority is seen in her stiff stance and closed off attitude towards the other animals. She gets a crazed look in her eyes when becoming more human than ever, changing the farm's name back to Manor Farm.
Trotting across stage, Clover (Kaitlin Buxton) uses her timid attitude to convey her naive, child-like personality. Her dependence on others is shown in her fear in how she could not speak for herself, seen when a human begins petting her head, the first time she is found alone onstage.
As an ensemble, there is an overall commitment which helped in the togetherness of animal noises and movements. This cohesive ensemble intensifies the conflict between characters.
The rural reds, yellows, and oranges in the lighting design (Miles Austin) brings the historical context into the show, and reflects back to communism. The bold and powerful choices, such as a lightning flash to start act two or the fog inside the barn to show the corruption of the pigs every time they entered, provides a more ominous and dramatic overtone.
When the pigs take over the control of the farm, a power struggle entails and an apparent shift from animalism to humanism occurs in Los Alamitos' Animal Farm.
by Lindsey Biggy of Fullerton Union
Los Alamitos Dictates How Animal Farm Should be Done
Power is one of the most tempting things for people to desire, this is no different when it comes to animals especially when it comes to Manor Farm better known as Animal Farm. This story is about the rise and fall of power and how it is so easy to manipulate others when you are placed in a position of power. Los Alamitos production of "Animal Farm" reiterates that a struggle for power in any environment leads to an overwhelming problem.
At the heart of this classic Orwellian story, based on the Soviet Union, is the desire for the animals to rule themselves and the trouble the authoritarian pig Napoleon goes through in order to get this. As the crave for power gets strong Napoleon's grip on the farm does as well until we see he is no better than the human's who ran the farm in the first place
Milica Vrzic as Napoleon demands power from the moment she steps on stage. Her militaristic walk and tough voice, enhanced by her natural accent, draw all attention whenever she is on stage. Vrzic's unwavering commitment is seen in her stiff posture and crazed yet bold dictatorial character choices. Melanie Tanaka plays Squealer and presents a submissive contrast to Virzic's character. Tanaka's meek voice and feeble stance around Napoleon show her obedience and loyalty. However when Tanaka's is the only one in charge of the animals her true manipulative character comes out in her sneaky hunched stance and her loud demeaning voice. Together the pair embodies the communist dictator role.
Tara Virgil as Old Major delivers a prophetic opening monologue, in tribute to Karl Marx, that sets the tone of the play. Evan Cusato plays Snowball, the opposite to Napoleon. While Cusato is also seeking power he does so in a more welcoming way, only heightening the cruelty Vrzic demonstrates as Napoleon.
All of the technical elements provide strong symbols of communism. The animal costumes designed by Eligia Gonzalez and Sofia Galicia-Canto provide a simple uniformed style that is quite different than the vibrant complex costumes of the humans. The lighting designer,Miles Austin makes strong choices by using a color palette of reds, oranges, and yellows that double as the communist colors and the colors a dull midwestern farm would have. All designers seemed to have a good working knowledge of the characteristics of a communist state.
In a strictly successful production. Los Al's cast delights with a curious charm.
by McKenna Vargas of Fullerton Union
Los Al's Animal Farm will make you squeal with delight
Animal Farm, originally a novel written by George Orwell, is an allegory to the spread of Communism in Russia; his main characters, Napoleon and Snowball, represent Stalin and Lenin respectively. Los Alamitos High School puts on an amazing production, with creative character choices, dedication to their characters, and overall an astounding performance.
From the beginning, the show opens with the dynamic Denise Chacanaca, as Moses, the narrator of the show. Through her storytelling, Chacanaca uses bold, full-body movements to not only symbolize her bird-like role, but to add energy and give the show a strong start. Tara Vigil, as Old Major, delivers a passionate speech toward her ensemble or animals, with a raspy voice to typify her age, and in response receives several unanimous snorts and grunts from her cast, which solidifies them as animal characters. Each animal, or actor, in the show is found wearing a knitted hat, specifically designed to their type of animal; i.e. Pigs wore pink, with pointed, and somewhat floppy extensions to serve as ears.
Next introduced are the rivals, the dictator Napoleon, portrayed by Milica Vrzic, and the level-headed Snowball, Evan Cusato. At first believed to be a character choice, the Serbian actress' accent accentuates her character, and only enhances her convicting performance. Speaks with an impassioned tone, and serves as a great contrast to Vrzic. An honorable mention is given to Melanie Tanaka, who is Squealer in this production. Tanaka embodies her submissive and clever character, with a grounded stance, 'bow' legs, and soft steps. Keeping her arms curled up at her hips only adds to the 'oddness' of her character, and embellishes the contrast between all three characters.
Other supporting actors such as Simon Martin, NIck Jurado, and Kaitlin Buxton enhanced the emotional element of the show, and even served as comic relief here and there. Martin with his consistent Southern accent, and Jurado with his strong head movements to typify his manner as a horse, and Buxton with a slightly raised vocal inflection to establish a worriedly air. One truly emotional moment in the show is when Martin exits stage left and Buxton is lifted by Jurado struggling with all her might, and Jurado's strength keeps her back - truly a moving sight.
Along with creative lighting choices, a simple yet well-designed set, and so much more, Los Alamitos High School puts on a moving production of Animal Farm.
by Bekka Galperin of Pacifica
From Farm-to-Fable the revolution lives on at Los Alamitos High School in 'Animal Farm'
Los Alamitos High School presents the allegorical tale of the classic 1945 novella by George Orwell in an interesting and contemporary light. After revolting against the reign of their negligent human master, the former livestock of Manor Farm-renamed to Animal Farm-create their own ideal society in which all animals are equal but it is soon discovered that some animals are more equal than others.
A large and multilayered set designed by Kieralyn Logan takes up the entire stage, consistently keeping engagement by directing attention around the full space. While characters have a conversation by the barn at center stage, the pigs are having a drink inside the house on the left-breaking one of the 7 commandments of the new animal law. The functionality of the set isn't the only highlight either, it has a very attractive design by balancing a professional look with the rugged aesthetic of a farm.
On top of this, creative and interesting lighting envelops the stage in dull rustic colors like red and yellow which not only adds to the look of a small farm but also doubles as subtle symbolism for the Stalinist era of the Soviet Union this story criticizes.
Napoleon, the common farm pig turned tyrannical "President" of Animal Farm, is portrayed powerfully by Milicia Vrzic. She moves through the stage like a knife through butter and whenever she stands still she occupies the highest point of the stage attracting the most attention. Napoleon is a pig of few words but whenever she speaks it is loud, direct and terrifying. At times she addresses the audience directly like they too are animals under her command which only makes her more intimidating. Melanie Tanaka plays Squealer, Napoleon's right hand man and spreader of her propaganda. Whenever the other animals question the decisions or authority of Napoleon, Squealer is there to quell the public. Her small hunched back posture and high pitched near squealing voice made her an extremely engaging character
Boxer, played by Simon Martin, is a hardworking but ignorant horse who loyally follows whoever runs the farm. He distinguishes himself with a simple charm and accent which accentuates his caring and naive nature. He uses his body to a great effect, acting like he is a large and muscular horse while he moves around and works on the windmill.
Eligia Gonzalez coordinates the costumes of the show with a wonderful attention to detail. The animals all wear the exact same costume-a white shirt with pants, boots and maybe suspenders-excluding a hat that symbolized their animal; which signifies their subservience to the humans who wore regular clothing that varied between characters. This also serves to highlight the significance of the pigs wearing clothing later on in the story-breaking another commandment of animal law.
Los Alamitos High School's adaption combines interesting visuals, skilled actors and thematic elements into a genuinely unique theatre experience that is both entertaining and contemplative.
by Christopher Burwell of Pacifica
Los Al Drama Director