Studio 200 takes on a new tune

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Studio 200 takes on a new tune

Talia Brookstein-Burke, Contributor

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The sharp whirring of a drill and the enthusiastic shouts echoing from inside Studio 200 are not unusual for the intimate theater space. What is unusual is the melodic harmonies swelling through the halls and the light piano trills floating in the background.  It’s been six years since a musical has been performed in OPRF’s Black Box Studio Theater, but senior Patti Meadors is pleased with how her directing debut at OPRF went, with shows amazing audiences of both students and community members on Nov. 16th, 17th, and 18th.

Calvin Berger is the story of a high school boy- Calvin -who believes he is incredibly ugly on account of his very large nose. As he struggles with his insecurities, he finds himself falling for a girl he has been clearly friendzoned by named Rosanna. Calvin decides to team up with newcomer, Matt, who has all the good looks Calvin lacks but who is too shy to communicate with Rossana. Calvin coaches Matt on flirting with Rosanna in the comedic and clever song “We’re the Man”.  As Calvin throws himself into Matt and Rosanna’s relationship, he manages to completely miss all the signs that his best friend Bret is falling for him! In the song “Perfect for You” Bret exasperatedly confesses her growing feelings for Calvin. Confusion and tension builds throughout the show as Rosanna discovers the truth of Matt and Calvin’s partnership and as Bret continues to pine for Calvin. The music is fast paced and often frantic, utilizing a rushed score and overlapping rounds to add momentum and intrigue to everyday school scenes. Songs such as “Security Meltdown” are sure to resonate with high school students as each character faces their insecurities in the high energy and fast paced song, lamenting, “In this security meltdown, also known as school”.

Studio 200 is well known for its completely student-organized plays in which students apply junior year for one of the four coveted spots to direct their own play during senior year. The application process is thorough and tedious, ensuring applicants knows exactly what they are getting themselves into. The limited number of spots intensifies the competition, encouraging students to use any advice they can get. Well known information :choose appropriate plays with cheap rights, have sponsors and a production team lined up, etc.  One of the most well known recommendations is not to apply with a musical. “Four or five juniors applied with musicals last year” Meadors explained, “and none of them got in, so everyone kept saying ‘whatever you do, don’t do a musical.’”

How did Meadors wind up directing a musical? As a member of Show Choir, Meadors became close with choreographer and OPRF librarian Amber Hooper. When Ms. Hooper suggested Meadors apply with a musical, Meadors was completely taken aback, “I was like, Ms.Hooper are you on crack?”. Nonetheless, she followed the advice of her long time mentor and opted to apply with a musical.

Almost four weeks into the process, the cast has become a well oiled machine. The actors voices meld together beautifully as they practice harmonies and their staging is natural and purposeful.  “It’s been quite the whirlwind, but the amount of talent at this school and in this show is insane.” says Meadors.

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The student newspaper of Oak Park and River Forest High School
Studio 200 takes on a new tune