All That Jazz: WHS Theater’s Chicago


Faizaan Amanat

Prem Ganesan (10) during a dance sequence in Chicago.

Faizaan Amanat, Senior Staff Writer

   The 2019 Oscars were disappointing, so it’s best to turn back the clock and go to a time when Oscars meant something. In 2003, Chicago, a film based on the play of the same name, won best picture. And in 2019, the Wayzata High School theater threw their hat in the ring and made their own take on the classic play.
  Their rendition is an entertaining take on the classic play, with great commentary and songs to appeal to everyone.
  Chicago tells the story of nightclub dancers/murderers Velma Kelly (Isabel Mayaka,10) and Roxie Hart (Ingrid Schjolberg, 9) vying for the attention of their sleazy lawyer Billy Flynn (Prem Ganesan,10) and the love and admiration of the people.
  The risqué nature is different from most WHS plays. “We say some bad words in the play,” said Prem Ganesan. “It’s far more edgy than anything we’ve ever done.”
  During the song “Razzle Dazzle,” Flynn is making his not so clean case, yet winning it with the judge sleeping through the entire thing.
  It’s the little tidbits like that song that gives the play its unique flair. The entire play is a commentary on the American Dream, showing just how far one can go to obtain fame, for it to just disappear.
  Chicago is the perfect city to represent the themes of the play. It’s the third most powerful city in the country, not quite as impactful New York City or Los Angeles, but it still glamourizes the American Dream.
  “Roxie’s dream is to become a star, but is ludicrous in her attempts to reach fame. Roxie represents the southern belle who originally had ambitions in a big city, but succumbs to a typical boring life, ” said Schjolberg.

Faizaan Amanat
Braden Bourland (10) and Ingrid Schjolberg (9) perform in Wayzata’s production of Chicago.

  The standout performances are Prem Ganesan’s Billy Flynn and Kayla Marie Mielke’s Mama Morton roles. Morton is the prison matron, and is as dirty as Flynn is. They both represent the greed present in America, and their characters are gleefully over the top.
  Much like The Joker or Jack Sparrow, they’re not the main characters, but they’re the ones that represent the spirit of the given work of art.
  As for the leads, Mayaka and Schjolberg give solid performances. Mayaka’s Roxie Hart represents the new artist trying to find her place.
  Mayaka’s Velma Kelly is the “washed up” artist that was once big but whose best days are behind them. Looking at the pop landscape in 2019 (Ariana Grande-Taylor Swift), that’s still resonate today.
  Chicago was a pleasant surprise that offers fun song and dance numbers, as well as biting commentary. If you have $10 and are bored with the current landscape of film, come check out Chicago and get swept away for two hours.