42nd Street opening brings “Broadway extravaganza”

Lili Lomas, Student Life Editor

From the parking lot to the seats of the auditorium, proud family members of the cast and crew of Coppell High School’s theater department’s 2016 musical, “42nd Street” carried in congratulatory bouquets for the students who took part in the production of the musical that opened on Saturday.

The orchestra opened with an overture of jazzy 1930s music soon to be accented by the sound of tap shoes hitting the ground in rhythmic unison. The musical is the largest theater production of the school year and is larger and more complex than years past.

“I think this is a grander scale,” musical director Lisa Tabor said. “The sets are bigger, there’s more of them, there’s more costume changes, the dancing is so much more extensive, this was just like a full out Broadway extravaganza.”

Behind the scenes, the show cost near $50,000 to produce including $4,500 for rights to perform the musical alone.

Opening night was also the theater debut for CHS senior Kara Williams who in three days transitioned from being the show’s student choreographer, to learning the part of Andy Lee after senior Daniel Kim injured his knee during rehearsal only a week before opening.

This, as well as the choreographing for the show provided a challenge for those involved in the musical as it includes mainly tap dancing, a type of dance generally harder for students to learn than other styles.

“Some [students] have never tap danced before so in eight weeks many of them learned how to do what it takes you four years to do, but they’ve done an amazing job,” choreographer Whitney Bollinger said.

In the audience was last year’s CHS Drama Club President Preston Straus, now a freshman majoring in theater at Texas State University who was impressed by the amount of dancing in this musical and the work that went into producing it.

“This musical had the most dancing of any musical I’ve ever done at Coppell High School so that was really cool to watch,” Straus said. “I know this took a tremendous amount of effort and I think it really paid off for them.”

Also in the audience were two anonymous judges judging the musical for entrance to this year’s Schmidt and Jones Awards, an annual competition honoring the best high school musical theater productions in the Dallas area.

An overall successful opening night, Tabor thinks it is one that paid off after all the preparation that went into it.

“Always my favorite part [of a musical] is to see those kids come alive and be proud of the work that they do and to think back eight weeks ago about  where they were and where they’ve come, that’s just really cool,” Tabor said.

The show is “coming alive” again with performances Nov. 4 and 5 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 6 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets are available at the door or for purchase online.