Directing a musical production in a high school setting under normal circumstances is a challenging undertaking – doing so in the throes and aftermath of a global pandemic, with its school closures, quarantines and general chaos, was an exercise in patience and creativity. For my Master's Thesis, I directed and designed a production of Chicago at Miami Arts Charter School, a performing arts high school in the Wynwood arts district, where I have taught for twelve years and served as the Theatre Director for the past eight years. Chicago made perfect sense as the first "post-pandemic" production. First, it is one of Broadway's most beloved and well-known shows, and one of a handful of musicals that's a household name. Secondly, it is the kind of show that is versatile enough to be done in many types of performance spaces and budgets. Finally, it is an ensemble-heavy show, which meant that it is a great opportunity to train a large group of students. Most of our audience's familiarity with the piece is connected to either the 1996 Broadway revival or to the 2002 movie, both of which have very distinct visions and aesthetics. My challenge was in coming up with a coherent concept for the show that remained unique without feeling gimmicky; I also had to straddle the line between what the audience expects to see from a show like Chicago while giving them a fresh version of the source material. This thesis explores our production's development process from material selection to closing night, and focuses on casting, musical direction, choreography and staging, and production design.
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Master of Arts (M.A.)
College of Arts and Humanities
School of Performing Arts
Length of Campus-only Access
Masters Thesis (Open Access)
Arteche Arencibia, Leo, "Me and My Baby: Directing & Designing "Chicago" at the High School Level" (2023). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 1505.