By Makahla Charles and Paris Belus
The auditorium is aglow with actors joyfully dancing along the stage with their eye-capturing twirls and spins as they sing their hearts out. As the performance unfolds, the audience is captured in a mesmerizing trance. For a year, this show of enthusiasm and high spirits has been put on hold, but now, the West Broward Drama Club has come back with a vengeance.
Due to the pandemic, many of the club’s performances have been put on hold. This April, they have returned with not one, but two outstanding musicals to showcase in the West Broward auditorium. Both Into the Woods Jr. and Fame Jr. will follow safety measures as the audience will be socially distanced and masks will be worn. While this production will be completely different from previous performances, actors are just happy to be back on the stage and performing their hearts out.
“I’m excited! I feel like it’s been so long since people have seen an in-person performance,” said senior Paulina Machado who plays Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods Jr., “I think people are going to love and enjoy that there are these kids on stage having a bunch of fun.”
On Apr. 15 and 16, Into the Woods Jr. was performed in the West Broward theatre. The musical is about a witch (junior Jacqui Arias) who tells a baker and his wife to find specific items to undo a curse that will grant them a child and restore the witch’s beauty. As they venture for these items, they meet others who are also trying to fulfill their wish. The story of the Baker (senior Matthew Cleveland) and his wife (junior Valerie Richard) are what tie each story together. Despite their disagreements concerning whether the wife should help, they united in the song “It Takes Two.” Other performances that resulted in rounds of applause were “Giants in the Sky ” sung by Jack (senior Tabitha Santillan) and “On the Steps of the Palace” by Cinderella (junior Nayali Cabrera). Besides the performances, the set design was intricate and creative. When the famous beanstalk grew in Jack’s backyard, the set design team managed to miraculously incorporate the beanstalk sprouting and falling on the set. As most fairy tales, the musical ended happily as each character gained their wish.
“Personally, I was a little nervous because this was actually my first lead, but I had faith in myself. I knew that building off of my cast mates and them encouraging me would definitely ease my nervousness,” Richard said.
The Drama Club’s second musical, Fame Jr., took place on Apr. 8 and 9. It tells the story of a group of students who attend the New York High School of Performing Arts. Throughout the performance, the audience follows the students through their highschool years and their struggles with the pressure of homework, heartbreak and self-identity. Despite this, the students managed to graduate knowing more about themselves. There are many notable actors who had a part in making Fame Jr. an amazing musical. Freshman Riley Ramon (Carmen) proved she is a star in her performance of “There She Goes.” Freshman Elena Cabrera (Serena) sings with powerful belts and harmonious runs in her part of “Let’s Play a Love Scene.” These aren’t all of the actors, but what can be said for the entire cast is that they are all hard-working, amazing performers who possess the ability to sing and dance.
“I am one of the advanced musical theater students and Drama Club President and one of the most important things for me is helping out,” Santillan said who also plays Mr.Sheinkopf. “For most of these kids, it is their first show. It is going to be so much fun and I am so excited.”
The West Broward Drama Club has learned to overcome the obstacles with the pandemic and wow the audience with two successful productions. Hopefully, they will continue to produce entertainment for the families of West Broward High School.
“We have been practicing a lot. This show is really close to perfection as much as we can make it, and I’m really excited for everyone to see it,” Machado said.