It’s been tons of extra work and ingenuity but the talented and highly motivated Newark High School Drama Club’s cast and crew of the Queen musical “We Will Rock You – School Edition” may just have outdone themselves this time.
Working under COVID guidelines and myriad accompanying challenges, these innovative, spirited performers and crew jumped through the necessary hoops and then some to produce the first ever film/musical at NHS.
While the editing of the film is in progress, Director Emily Howard is certain from what’s she seen so far that everyone will be amazed when they see the finished product via livestream on an internet device May 14-16th.
“It’s our most unique musical production to date,’’ Howard said May 3rd.
“Like every school district, Newark faced challenges when mounting a spring musical,” she said. “Up until 3 weeks ago, students had to be 12 feet apart when singing. In order to safely capture the audio, we took advantage of our state-of-the-art recording studio right at Newark High School. Our soloists took turns singing in the booth over the musical tracks. It made us feel like real professional musicians. For our ensemble sound, we captured the group on stage one night during a recording session. This gave students another unique experience.
“When it came time to stage and film, we also had to think outside the box,” Howard continued. “The auditorium space was doubling as classrooms during the school day, so building a traditional set wasn’t possible. We had to get creative about filming locations. Students brainstormed and scouted out locations on school property and off. We transformed the Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES Conference Center into Globalsoft headquarters for our Killer Queen scenes. Local restaurant Canal View Family Restaurant graciously let us film after hours and it became our very own “Hard Rock Café” - we even danced in the parking lot. The Erie Canal took center stage as we taped in and around the pathway and bridge. We also filmed the final scene in Central Park in the middle of the village.”
“All of the filming was completed by students. Our student assistant director, Ryan Hermenet took the lead on decisions about angles, framing, and called all the shots during our filming sessions. The editing is also being completed by students, mostly Ryan and Cody Acquista . Every year we talk about the process over the product and while we are very excited to share our final product with everyone, it was the process that made this year so special.”
“I am so proud of the students in this cast and crew,” Howard raved. “They ap-proached every obstacle as a challenge and worked as a team to create this very cool end product. We also thank WFL BOCES, Canal View Family Restaurant, the Park presbyterian Church, and the Village of Newark for allowing us to film ‘on location.’ This will certainly be a show to remember!”
NHS Vocal Music teacher Kate Flock is the music director for the production.
The cast and crew include: Galileo Figaro: Jaston Brooks (12), Scaramouche: Isabelle Figueroa (12), Killer Queen: Bria Dano (11), Khashoggi: Cody Acquista (11), Buddy: Dylan Burley (11), Brit: Jack Comella (12), Oz: Gabriella Taylor (11), Teen Queens: Natalie Kelley (11), Brenna Stefanides (12), Anna Szarek (11)
Ensemble: Brooklyn Baker (10), Tanner Blaisdell (12), Esperanza (Ronnie) Brahman (10), Felicity Brey (9), AJ Comella (9), Rachel George (12), Alicia Hernandez (9), Elijah Malach (11), Veronica Swann (11), Cole Talbot (9), Beatrice Van Riper (9), Amber Wilson (10)
Crew: Blake Aldrich (12), Andrew Flock (10), Sara George(12), Jenna Havert (11), Meiah Johnson Danzey (10), Andrew Joslyn (9), Jadon Kowaleski (9)
Having acquired a remote streaming license, the show will stream May 14th and 15th at 7 p.m. and at 2 p.m. May 16th. Streaming passes are $7 and can be purchased visiting www.newarkcsd.org/drama.