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
This past weekend, 30 students from Los Al’s Drama Department competed in the CA State Thespian Festival. Thespians is the student theatre honor society that is part of EdTA, the Educational Theatre Association, and is an internationally recognized organization.
At the Thespian Festival, 62 schools were in attendance, and over 700 Individual Events (I.E.’s) were performed.
As always, our students represented Los Alamitos incredibly well.
The Improv Team, who placed 1st last year, was made up of returning member Ellie Sims, and joined by Hasti Bakian, Kristi Gundhus, Shelby Marsh, and Tara Virgil. For the time time in know festival history, our Los Al Improv team placed 1st in the State of CA…AGAIN!
Our Group Acting team of Stephen Geller, Tara Virgil, and Kayla Wiggs not only received a superior for their scene, Poor Shem, but they placed 2nd in the state for Group Acting.
Macy Boren received a $350 scholarship to study musical theatre this summer at South Coast Repertory.
Denise Chacanaca received the Ellis Jordan Scholarship, which pays for half of the cost for her to attend the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska this summer.
Eight of out students, including Cameron Alvarez, Michael Hietala, Nick Jurado, Cole Schneider, Kristi Gundhus, Ellie Sims, Alison Parsons, and Ashley Wallrich were chosen to participate in CA Playwrights, performing the works of playwright Jonathan Rand, who was in residence to work with the students during their rehearsal process.
Four of our theatre technicians were chosen to work on the All-State Show, a full production put on in 36 hours. Joe Rios (Spotlight Operator), Erin Henkhaus (Scenic/Paint Crew), Angelica Alvarez (Assistant Stage Manager) and Olivia (Rose) Elvidge (Assistant Stage Manager) were on the All-State tech crew, and Joe, Erin, and Angelica received special commendation for their work.
Out of over 700 IE’s, Los Alamitos received 13 Superior Rankings, enabling those events to be performed at the International Thespian Festival in Nebraska in June, where our students will perform, audition for over 60 college programs, and see 9-12 full length shows.
Ellie Sims, Kristi Gundhus, Shelby Marsh, Hasti Bakian, Tara Virgil- Improv
Miles Austin- Lighting Design
Kendallyn Beltran- Lighting Design
Angelica Alvarez/Brooke Harris- Duet Acting
Kaitlin Buxton/Michael Moseray- Duet Acting
Ellie Sims/Jessie Winslow- Duet Acting
Ahmad Ishqair- Stage Management
Alison Parsons- Monologues
Kaitlin Buxton- Monologues
Stephen Geller/Tara Virgil/Kayla Wiggs- Group Acting
Anna Baker/Macy Boren/Shelby Marsh- Group Acting
Hasti Bakian- Solo Musical
Tara Virgil- DVD Film
Last week, 22 Los Al Thespians headed to Lincoln, Nebraska for the International Thespian Festival, along with 3700 other theater students, teachers, and teaching artists from all over the world.
We had an AMAZING week!
We had students who had never been on an airplane, students who have never been away from their families for this long, and students who had never performed at this level.
In addition to the amazing things that Los Al accomplished last week, we saw mainstage shows from schools all over the country, and were able to participate in a huge number of workshops that ranged from dance, to writing, directing, to improv, design to navigating the college world, all while staying in a dorm, eating in a college cafeteria, and meeting new people.
On Tuesday, the Griffin Puppet Players performed Pyramus and Thisbe as the CA Chapter Select at 9pm in the Howell Theater. Not only did we have an amazingly receptive audience, and received a standing ovation, but in attendance were the Puppetry Teaching Artist, Aretta Baumgartner, the representative from LAMDA, the owner of Musical Theater Songs, and a number of other teaching artists. They all waited after the performance to congratulate the cast on an INCREDIBLE performance.
Also, on Tuesday and Wednesday, a number of our students presented the Individual Events that received a Superior ranking at the State Festival in March. Critiqued at a higher level, our students did Los Al proud, bringing home three Superiors for Monologues (Miles Gutierrez-Riley) and Duet Musical (Bridget DeMaria and Sydney DeMaria). Receiving a Superior at Nationals is incredibly difficult, and we are so proud that all of our performers received VERY high marks.
Throughout the week, many of our students auditioned for over 40 colleges all over the U.S., many programs considered to be the top schools in theatre. Our students received 65 callbacks for 38 different colleges and universities. Below is the breakdown of schools and how many of our students were called back for each one:
Texas Christian University- 2
Loyola University New Orleans- -6
Santa Fe University of the Arts- 2
St. Mary's Minnesota-4
American Academy of Dramatic Arts -4
American Musical and Dramatic Academy-1
Miami University, Ohio-3
New York Conservatory of Dramatic Arts-2
The New School-2
University of the Arts, Philadelphia- 1
Missouri Valley College-2
Utah State University-1
University of Evansville-1
Louisiana State University-1
William Jewell College- 1
Wake Forest University-1
Montclair State University-1
University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music-1
University of Nebraska Lincoln-1
University of Houston-1
Fairleigh Dickenson University-1
University of Minnesota/Guthrie-1
University of Oklahoma-1
St. Louis University-2
Southern Methodist University-1
Savannah College of Art and Design-1
Theatre of Arts Los Angeles-1
New York Film Academy-1
In ADDITION to that amazing list, one of our students was offered a spot in the BFA Acting program for CCM (University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music), ranked as a TOP acting program in the country, as well as receiving a lucrative callback for the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Training Program. Another student received an email from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia (another top-ranked program) asking them that based on their audition, if they would consider coming to U of A.
Other programs that aren't discussed above showed huge interest in many of our students, and we could not be more proud of them as they begin their journey to finding the right college program for them.
All of our students represented Los Alamitos with grace, poise, and style, and should be congratulated!
The Orange County Cappies made their nominations, and Los Alamitos High School rocks! The Drama Department received 10 nominations. The awards are on Sunday, June 7th at 6pm at the Grove in Anaheim. Tickets may be purchased here (click below):
Orange County Cappies Gala Tickets
The nominees are.....
Lighting Design for a Play- Evan Cusato
Lighting Design for a Musical- Evan Cusato
Props for a Play- Denise Chacanaca and Madi Joseph
Set for a Play- Complete Works of Shakespeare...Abridged
Crew for a Play-Jessie Winslow, Alyssa Hahn, Kaylie Harrington
Comic Actress in a Play- Jade Kaiser
Comic Actor in a Musical- Simon Martin
Freshman Critic- Rachel Baldauf
Best Play- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare...Abridged
On March 27th, 36 Los Al Drama students headed to the CA State Thespian Festival. After three full days, the results were in, and Los Al dominated!
Biggest news- The Griffin Puppet Players presents Pyramus and Thisbe was chosen to perform at Nationals this summer!!!!! Stella Thermos, Kaylie Harrington, Kendallyn Beltran, Sabrina Gludt, Kiley Barker-Taylor, Tara Virgil
1st place-Improv Team- Nikki Law, Miles Gutierrez-Riley, Ellie Sims, Michael Schultz, Simon Martin
1st place- Comedy Showcase- Stella Thermos and Ryan Smith
1st place- Monologues- Miles Gutierrez-Riley
1st place- Theater Marketing- Mercy Hightower
2nd place- Makeup Design- Skye Meredith
2nd Place- Sound Design- Shane Ferguson
3rd place- Set Design- Derek Madrid
3rd place- Solo Musical- Sydney DeMaria
3rd place- Duet Acting- Kayla Wiggs, Tara Virgil
The following students received a "Superior" in their event, allowing them to take that piece to Nationals in June:
Solo Musical- Sydney DeMaria
Duet Musical- Bridget DeMaria, Sydney De Maria
Nikki Law/Alyssa Hahn
Jessie Winslow/Simon Martin
Ellie Sims/Spencer Woolard
Stella Thermos/Keith Ahlstrom
Tara Virgil/Kayla Wiggs
-Miles Gutierrez-Riley, Jade Kaiser, Ryan Smith, Katie Brown-Greaves -Stella Thermos, Simon Martin, Alison Parsons
That is a whopping 26 superiors (which I believe is in the top 3 schools for superiors) and ten place distinctions.
Auditions for Little Shop of Horrors will be on Monday, January 26th. Information is available in the Drama Room, and performance dates are April 23, 24, 25, 2015
Los Al Drama Director