The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

The Union St. Journal: Cherry Creek High School's official news source

Union St. Journal

Creek Theater Puts On Performance of a Flamboyant and Bold ‘Chicago: Teen Edition’: See Moments Here

Quinn Rudnick
Senior Ella Basham, who plays Roxie Hart in “Chicago” lifts up a newspaper that reads “Roxie Rocks Chicago”. Creek theater ran their production of “Chicago: Teen Edition” from March 6-9, telling the tale of a woman who murders the man she’s having an affair with, and the dramatic story behind her trial.

Creek’s theater program ran their production of “Chicago: Teen Edition” from March 6-9. The musical was widely anticipated by the student body: everyone was ready to see the historically risque, loud, and flamboyant production put on. 

“Chicago” follows the story of Roxie Hart, played by senior Ella Basham, after she murders Fred Casely, played by senior Theo Odendahl, after he tries to walk out on their affair. Roxie winds up in prison, despite her attempts to get her husband, Amos, who’s played by senior Jude Benton, to take the blame. In the Cook County Jail, she is surrounded by a group of framed murderesses and wannabe vaudeville stars. 

As Roxie works to find a way out of prison, she meets ‘Matron Mama Morton’, played by junior Sydney Allen, Velma Kelly, played by junior Brooke Sax, and the town’s most charming lawyer, Billy Flynn, who’s played by senior Henry Dempsey. 

Roxie begs her husband for $5,000 to pay Billy Flynn in order to help her advance through her trial and take Chicago’s attention. Amos willingly pays, hopelessly devoted to his wife. Throughout the show, Amos remains quiet and reserved, performing his iconic “Mister Cellophane” solo and pleading for someone to notice him. 

“Amos was a very interesting character to play because he is portrayed mostly as a sad clown,” Benton said. “I spent most of my time off stage forcing myself to be sad or annoyed about something so I could play Amos on stage.”

In order to perfect every aspect of the musical, the process began almost directly after students returned from winter break, although actors auditioned for parts in late November. Students practiced or worked on the set from 3:45-6:00 on most weekdays, and longer rehearsals were held on various Saturdays throughout the process. 

“We spent about one month learning the choreography, and another month rehearsing the choreography we [had] learned,” Benton said. 

Behind the scenes, Creek’s tech crews worked to construct, light up, decorate, and mic the set as well. Because the production is entirely student-led, students worked under the direction of the set designer, senior Erika Scala, and the stage managers, senior Nat Wilkes, junior Rachel Wheatley, junior Norah Armstrong and senior Ian Youngblood. 

After the musical season is concluded, the theater immediately launches into preparation for their final play, which will be “Beauty and the Beast” this year. However, no seniors are allowed in the production, in order to help rising leaders learn how to conduct the theater and take hold of the process. 

Despite leaving, the seniors agree that the theater will be well-off next year just the same. “Creek theater has a commendable legacy, and I believe that even though my class won’t be back next year, we’re leaving the theater in good hands,” Basham said.

This week, students have begun the process for their spring play; “Beauty and the Beast.” As juniors, sophomores, and freshmen begin to design a new set and set up a brand-new show, seniors are confident that the show will be a good transitional period that will result in another popular show. 

“The next show is in wonderful hands and many talented people have already started to work on [it], so I think it will be phenomenal,” Benton  said. 

For the senior class, departing theater is an emotional process, especially after closing such a successful show.

“Chicago coming to an end is very bittersweet for me since I’m a senior,” Basham said. “I knew my time in Creek theater wouldn’t last forever. I’m so grateful that this show was my last time on the Creek stage, I couldn’t have asked for a better senior show.”

See moments from the musical below.

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  • Junior Brook Sax performs as Velma Kelly during ‘Chicago’. Velma is one of Roxie’s fellow murderesses in the Cook County Jail, and dreams of making it onto the stage for vaudeville performances.

  • Sophomore Rory Harr (left) and senior Molly Grantz (right) perform in the ensemble during “And All That Jazz.”

  • Senior Theo Odendahl performs as Fred Casely, who is murdered by Roxie Hart after he tries to walk out on their love affair.

  • Senior Ella Basham as Roxie Hart explains what happened to Fred Casely, blaming the entire experience on her husband, Amos, who is played by senior Jude Benton.

  • From left to right: Senior Polina Kopyrina, junior Brooke Sax, senior Becca Dwyer, junior Bridget Brown, and sophomore Katie Whitehead perform during “Cell Block Tango”, one of “Chicago’s” most famous songs.

  • Junior Sydney Allen as Mamma Morton sings “When You’re Good To Mama” as she enters the stage, explaining that anyone in the Cook County Jail can get a little bit of help if they pay the right price.

  • Seniors Ella Basham and Jude Benton perform as Roxie Hart and Amos Hart respectively. Roxie begs her husband for $5,000 to pay for a lawyer, in order to get her a bold and exciting trial that will grab all of Chicago’s attention.

  • Senior Henry Dempsey is introduced as Chicago’s best lawyer, Billy Flynn. In order to get the girls in the Cook County Jail found not guilty, Flynn’s strategy is to make the story as dramatic as possible, so all of Chicago will fall in love with the murderesses.

  • Senior Henry Dempsey (center) dances with the ensemble as they perform “All I Care About.”

  • Senior Ella Basham as Roxie Hart is surrounded by journalists as she retells a heavily altered version of how she murdered Fred Casely, using mock puppet-like movements to show how she’s being controlled by lawyer Billy Flynn.

  • The ensemble reacts to Roxie’s tale during the performance of “We Both Reached For The Gun.”

  • Senior Ella Basham as Roxie Hart is carried by members of the ensemble during “Roxie.”

  • Senior Ella Basham as Roxie Hart performs “Roxie” during Act One.

  • Junior Brooke Sax as Velma Kelly (left) and senior Ella Basham as Roxie Hart (right) sing together during “My Own Best Friend.” Velma and Roxie have a contentious relationship throughout the play as they compete with one another to have the more exciting trial.

  • Senior Ella Basham as Roxie Hart performs “Me and My Baby” with the ensemble. In the middle of the musical, Roxie tells the press that she’s pregnant, creating a whirl of excitement in the media.

  • Senior Jude Benton as Amos Hart performs “Mister Cellophane” during Act Two. Throughout the musical, Amos is ignored and forgotten about, leading to his breakout solo performance.

  • Senior Theo Odendhal lifts sophomore Katie Whitehead into the air. Whitehead, who plays Huyak, a prisoner in the Cook County Jail who only ever says “not guilty,” is about to be hanged for murdering her husband.

  • Members of the ensemble pose during “Razzle Dazzle” as Roxie Hart prepares to take the stand in her murder trial.

  • Senior Ella Basham as Roxie Hart (left) and junior Brooke Sax as Velma Kelly (right) perform together during “Nowadays” after Roxie has been found not guilty for murdering Fred Casely.

  • Junior Brooke Sax as Velma Kelly (left) and senior Ella Basham as Roxie Hart (right) pose together during the finale of “Nowadays.”

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About the Contributor
Quinn Rudnick
Quinn Rudnick, Editor-in-Chief
Hello, my name is Quinn Rudnick, and I am the USJ's Editor-in-Chief. I am a senior at CCHS - and this is my fourth year on staff at the USJ. I hold a strong passion for both journalism and photojournalism, and intend to pursue a career in politics and law. As a journalist, I strive to present information to the student body and beyond in a factual and digestible fashion. The importance of journalism is based in allowing the public to understand what's happening around them, so that is what I strive to do. I write a lot about local and global politics, as well as local theatre and events around the school. You can find me at a lot of Creek sports games, fueling my passion for sports photography and reporting. Outside of the USJ, I follow Formula One racing, the Nuggets and the Avs, and I love being outside, whether that's on hikes, or by snowboarding and mountain biking. 

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