Tarson goes out with a bang

Chicago is based on a 1926 play about actual criminals and crimes committed during the Jazz-age in Chicago. Anna-Kate Uppena (center) plays one of the main murderesses in prison and on trial (Photo courtesy of Katrina Tarson).

Pop! Six! Squish! Uh uh! Cicero! Lipschitz!

Leesville Road High School presents Chicago the Musical: High School Edition. Being the final show of her career at Leesville, Katrina Tarson, Leesville Theatre Director, chose Chicago to take on a show that presented the immense talent of all the theatre students.

I didn’t really know what Chicago was about, but I had seen a video of a song from the musical called “Cell Block Tango” but I was totally blown away anyway. I can definitely say this was my second favorite musical, behind Bring It On, but just barely.

From the opening scene, I could just tell that I would enjoy the performance. I definitely loved the choreography, combined with the 1920’s outfits, as I felt it really did the music justice.

Hands down, my favorite character was Velma, played by Anna Kate Uppena, junior. Watching her perform put me in a trance that I didn’t want to break. The level of maturity that she brought to the role absolutely blows my mind and still has me shocked. Her flapper-like dancing brought new life to a role created 40+ years ago.

I can’t even imagine the amount of time and dedication it took to prepare for that role, with singing, choreography, (including running up and down stairs) all while looking elegant but murderous.

I also really enjoyed performances by Lanie Martin, senior, which is no surprise as she is always incredible in whatever role she’s given.

Reese Layh, junior, played one of the murderesses and was a very pleasant surprise. Reese is an extremely talented dancer and was amazing in her role, especially considering this was her first musical.

I truly loved this show and immediately listened to the music going home, wanting to experience the show all over again. With such a difficult show to complete, the Leesville Theatre Program did Ms.Tarson justice and set her into Leesville history.


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