Constructing ‘Chicago’: WHSTE cast revealed for fall musical


Credit: Julia Callini

WHSTE performed “She Kills Monster” last spring. This fall, WHSTE will perform “Chicago.” Auditions for the musical took place the week of Sept. 9. “It’s just a great learning experience of getting ready to perform. The entire show is great,” junior Kaiyang Zhang said.

Jessica Reilly

WHSTE ignited its fall season last week with auditions for the fall musical, the iconic, “Chicago.”

This year, drama teacher and WHSTE Director Aidan O’Hara noticed promising improvements in terms of audition turn-out.

“This year, we had 33 people auditioning, so that’s really awesome. I think 20 [students auditioned] last year, and 22 [students auditioned] the year before, so it’s a really big increase. I think ‘Chicago’ really helps with that,” O’Hara said.

Students auditioning are undoubtedly excited to be part of “Chicago” and the experience it will provide.

“I definitely want to be a part of the whole experience because I’ve heard of the show, and I know that there’s so many great parts for everybody, and you can kind of personalize the parts to be your own,” sophomore Sammy Janoff said. “Personally, I’m really into musical theater, and this show has a lot of dancing along with singing and acting, so that drew me to do this show specifically.”

“Chicago” has many unique elements that O’Hara hopes to bring to life with WHSTE as the musical will encompass acting, dancing and singing.

“Regardless of singing, dancing and acting ability, I think each performer is going to need to do all three of those things,” O’Hara said. “We hope to create really cool moments where our really trained dancers can just nail the style of the show but also do some dancing movement that’s accessible to everybody.”

To assess prospective cast members’ ability in each category, O’Hara conducted a series of auditions over the course of the week.

“For ‘Chicago,’ auditionees are bringing a song of their choice to sing – something typically from another musical or something that is in the style of ‘Chicago,’” said O’Hara. “Then, we have a dance audition as well.”

Students were eager to show their skills and relish in the experience of performing during auditions.

“I enjoy performing as a whole, and this was another opportunity where I saw that I could perform,”  junior Kaiyang Zhang said. “The best part for me is just the fun of trying something new.”

Janoff also finds the audition process to be both enjoyable and rewarding.

“I think the best part is [showing] the work that you put in. You can finally show all the work that you’ve practiced,” Janoff said.

While auditions can be exhilarating and fun, however, they also raise some nerves among auditioning students.

“I think the scariest part is that sometimes, you don’t really know what to expect,” Janoff said. “You don’t know the entire experience, so there is that idea of uncertainty.”

Zhang also finds the experience to be frightening in some aspects.

“The worst part about it for me is just the nerves. You can just get really, really anxious about what you’re going to audition with,” Zhang said.

Nevertheless, the anxiety of the audition process has passed, and practices will begin. The performance of “Chicago” is sure to be captivating for its audience, as it’s different from other musicals.

“The show ‘Chicago’ itself has a really interesting style, so it’s sort of one large ensemble in which these characters pop out of,” O’Hara said. “It’s meant to be this really jazzy, 1920’s, fun musical.”

Some high schools haven’t been able to perform the musical due to its mature content.

“It’s typically a more adult show. High schools do it, but not every high school feels that they can do it,” O’Hara said. “The style of dance is more suggestive, and the lyrics can have some more adult situation undertones, so it’s exciting to bring a show that not many high schools can do to the stage. I think it has some iconic musical theater moments like ‘All That Jazz’ and ‘Cell Block Tango’ that I think are really exciting to bring to life.”

Cast members are eager to express their talent as well as construct an entertaining show.

“I always like [it] whenever I do a musical [and] just put it all together,” Janoff said. “You put all your acting ability, singing ability and dancing ability all in one and just put a great show together.”

Below is the cast list for “Chicago.”

MASTERS OF CEREMONIES – Matt Behrle, Cal Russell


FRED CASELY – Matt Behrle

ROXIE HART – Sammy Janoff

AMOS HART – Harrison Dietzius

FOGARTY – Cal Russell

LIZ * – Maddie Troost

ANNIE * – Zoe Hughes

JUNE * – Jane Gargano

HUNYAK * – Madeleine Reck

MONA * – Bec Patsenker


BILLY FLYNN – Kaiyang Zhang

MARY SUNSHINE – Katherine Deane


KITTY * – Tessa Davidson


JUDGE * – Grace Stephenson

JUROR * – Maggie Britton

HARRISON * – Rachaell Redgate

CLERK * – Cassidy Slater

ENSEMBLE (Including possible and multiple Featured Dance Moments, Newspaper Headline Ensemble opportunities, etc.) Elena Beard, Isabella Donovan, Sasha Fiore, Noy Geffen, Amie Ghosh, Natalia Homyak, Jessie Johnson, Adelaide Kissell, Olivia Lappin, Michelle Li, Isabelle Ma, Eva Marobella and Rachel Snyder

* – Character is also considered a part of the “ENSEMBLE” listed above.