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Portage Township Media

Roxie Hart is in Deep Treble: Behind the Scenes of Portage High School’s Theatre Production “Chicago”


This weekend, prepare to be “razzle dazzled” by upbeat jazz tunes, fiery dance moves, human puppets, hilarious circus-worthy acts, a courtroom chorus, and all that jazz! Portage High School’s Thespians Drama Club is bringing the renowned musical Chicago to the stage, telling the timeless story of “murder, greed, corruption, violence, exploitation, adultery, and treachery, all those things we hold near and dear to our hearts.”  


For those who are unfamiliar with the musical, Chicago follows an aspiring vaudeville performer, Roxie Hart (Ma’Kiyah Moore), after being reported for murder by her undervalued husband Amos (Gabe Harbart). With the help of the deceptive lawyer Billy Flynn (Jeremy Greiner), Roxie must put on a charade in order to prove her innocence and potentially get her chance in the spotlight. Meanwhile, infamous vaudeville star turned criminal Velma Kelly (Gabby Gonzalez) must fight to keep the press’ eyes on her as Roxie rises to fame. 


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Behind the scenes, production has not always been so easy, with much work being done in order to put together the show. From techies to actors, to stage managers, everyone has had an important role to play.


For sophomore Maliah Vaughn, the most challenging aspect of being part of the production is memorizing the choreography. Chicago is Vaughn’s first time performing in a musical production. Before, she had served as an actor in Fall play The Witch’s Princess and The Internet Is Distract—Oh Look a Kitten! while in middle school. 


“Memorizing the choreo is probably the biggest challenge, especially this being my first musical. Lines are one thing, but memorizing choreo and trying not to mess up, it’s kind of hard.” Vaughn shared. 


Senior Jerzie Jenne is a set designer and a member of the run crew, which handles moving props and set pieces during scene changes. For Jenne, the greatest challenge is making the magic happen without the audience knowing. 


“The most challenging part of being a techie is probably having to be quiet and unseen during the show.” Jenne expressed. 


Aside from the more difficult aspects of the production, much fun was had by the cast and crew. Senior Rachel Bilyak said that moments of “holds” or instances where practice runs of the show must be paused in order to correct a mistake can often get humorous. 


“Everytime we do the courtroom scene, it is just so funny because we always end up in a hold and then we all end up just goofing around and it’s really fun!” 


Bilyak plays the role of Katlina Hunyak, a Hungarian woman who was falsely accused of murder and tragically cannot defend herself due to a language barrier. 


The star of the show and junior, Gabby Gonzalez, stated that her favorite part of the show was simply having the opportunity to share the magic with audiences. 


“The best part is always seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces when they get to see the magic that we have created,” Gonzalez expressed, “Chicago itself is such an amazing show filled with laughs, fun, and real world problems. Our cast, crew, and pit have worked so hard to put it together and the end result has become amazing.”


Chicago will be opening on Friday, April 26 at 7 pm and close on April 27. Tickets are ten dollars and can be purchased online at portageperformingarts.ludus.com. 


Full Cast List: 

Velma Kelly- Gabby Gonzalez

Roxie Hart- Ma’Kiyah Moore

Billy Flynn- Jeremy Greiner

Amos Hart- Gabe Harbart

Mary Sunshine- Fiona Barnes

Matron “Mama” Morton- Aubree Chumley

Fred Casely- Judah Feagin

Liz “Pop”- Elaina Deleon

Annie “Six”- Gracie Alaniz

June “Squish”- Brianna Fannin

Katilina Hunyak “Uh-Uh”- Rachel Bilyak

Mona “Lipshitz”- Abby Whited

Kitty- Brooke Tenenika

Harry/Sergeant Fogerty- Jayzee Buezo

Judge- Davien Boyd


Jackie Escobar

Aven Griffin

Lillian Harbart

Olivia Jones

Morgan Malaski

Brooklyn Marshall

  1. Miller

Leanna Monteiro

Brianna Perry

Dorian Ponce

Maliah Vaughn

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