On the Edge of Tradition: CHS’ first fall musical aims to set new tradition


Olivia Childress

Performer and sophomore Jack Ducat (right) and performer and senior Chase LaPlante (left) practice during rehearsal. Performers have three weeks less of rehearsal than they did for “The Little Mermaid.”

Ashwin Prasad

Tonight, the performing arts department will embark on a new tradition with its first, of what it hopes to be annual, fall musical: “Edges.” This musical is a song cycle composed by American songwriting duo Pasek & Paul, and its central message is about growth and self-discovery. Director Samuel Chenoweth said he plans to use “Edges” as the antithesis of the larger, more glamorous spring production. Chenoweth has assembled a cast of just eight performers, and he said his chief goal is to showcase the creativity of performing arts.
“‘Edges’ allows us to be very creative with our interpretation,” Chenoweth said. “On the first page of the script, the writers tell us to do whatever we want with the songs, like a blank canvas.”
At the beginning of rehearsals, the performers had the right to create their own characters and develop them throughout the play, and said they have embraced this newfound freedom.
“Everything is open to interpretation,” performer and sophomore Jack Ducat said. “I view it as a play about people on the edge of adulthood.”
The main plot is open, centering around the stories of the individual charac

Olivia Childress
Performer and sophomore Jack Ducat (right) and performer and senior Chase LaPlante (left) practice during rehearsal. Performers have three weeks less of rehearsal than they did for “The Little Mermaid.”

ters and how they conquer their inner doubt about life.
“We really grow into ourselves throughout the play, and it has helped me grow a lot as an actor and performer,” performer and senior Madeline Hatfield said.
Rehearsals have passed by in a whirlwind for Ducat, Hatfield as well as the rest of the cast. Auditions occurred on Aug. 16; auditioners had to learn and perform parts of two “Edges” songs of their own choice. Chenoweth then selected the cast without requiring any call-backs, and rehearsals began the next day. The cast members received equal material; there are no leads in this musical.
“I was at home every day, working on all of our group numbers and figuring out the really cool harmonies in this play,” Ducat said.
The performers learned their solos and duets in late August and transitioned into all-week evening rehearsals as the show neared.
“Overall, ‘Edges’ is much more minimal than ‘The Little Mermaid’ last year,” Chenoweth said. “We (myself, music director Kyle Barker and tech theatre director Andrew Okerson) have

Veronica Teeter
Performer and senior Madeline Hatfield sings at a rehearsal. Hatfield said the smaller cast allowed her to get closer with the cast.

put everything together over five and a half weeks. There is only one set, a small group of tech helping out and some props. Even the funding goes along with this minimalist approach. We aren’t as concerned with filling out seats as much as we are about the quality we have on stage and the experience we give our students.”
Ducat said, “The two plays are extremely different. ‘The ‘Little Mermaid’ is really, really well known (and) its songs are really well known. ‘Edges’ is made for a different audience entirely.”
The atmosphere of the production has also differed from “The Little Mermaid” to “Edges.” Both Ducat and Hatfield acknowledged the intimacy and closeness of the cast.
“We all get to talk about our thoughts about the show,” Ducat said.
“While ‘Little Mermaid’ was energetic and super fun, ‘Edges’ brings an equal but different, smaller fun,” Hatfield said.


This was one of the reasons why Chenoweth said he opted for a play with such a small cast.
Chenoweth said, “We chose ‘Edges’ because it gives our students a different type of experience in a whole lot of ways.”
Chenoweth said he aims to create an atmosphere of intimacy between the performers and the audience to demonstrate the quality of the show. “Edges,” with its universal themes about conquering one’s doubts, fits that mold.
“This show is really honest to the world about how people feel internally,” Ducat said. “It really will connect to everybody in the audience. By the end, the audience will realize that it is okay to be you.”
Chenoweth also said one of his goals was to expand theater at CHS.
“Edges” premieres tonight at 7 p.m. in the auditorium. Additional performances take place on Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.