This June the curtains will close on St. John Paul II Catholic School’s final high school play.
Changes to Fort Saskatchewan’s Catholic schools will see grades 9 to 12 students move to the newly built St. Andre Bessette in the 2018-19 school year. The halls and classrooms of St. JP II will fill with a younger crowd as the school becomes home to students in grades 5 to 8.
St. JP II fine arts teachers Nicki Cross and Nikki Cava have come up with something special for the high school’s last performance.
In October, faced with a lack of funds to pay up to $2000 in royalty fees for a professionally written script, the teachers decided to create a play of their own. Since then they have spent countless hours and many Saturdays collaborating on Another High School Musical, the original work Cava calls their “labour of love.”
Students also contributed their thoughts and ideas as the play came to life.
“It was a mixture of us, a collaboration with all of the musical theatre, drama and choir students. And we even got some additional input from other staff members. It was a huge collaboration amongst the whole cast,” Cava said.
Another High School Musical, which tells the tale of a socially awkward teenaged girl who doesn’t quite fit in with the popular crowd, incorporates songs from a number of well-known hit shows, including Chicago, the Little Mermaid, Grease and of course, High School Musical.
“We took inspiration from Mean Girls, from Heathers, from High School Musical. And we kind of morphed these ideas together using the students that we had and keeping them in mind and their talents,” Cross said.
Cross and Cava are both new playwrights, Another High School Musical their first script. The teachers say the play is a constantly changing work in progress, but that students have been giving it good reviews through months of rehearsals.
“There's so many different musicals coming together and I think they really like that,” Cross said. “But also that they could have a say in what was in the show. I think that's kind of cool to contribute to what goes on stage.”
About 40 drama, choir and musical theatre students are taking part in the play as members of the cast or in backstage or front-of-house roles.
"We're so excited to show the community what we've put together,” Cross said.
Another High School Musical debuts Jun.7 at 7 p.m. at the Shell Theatre, with tickets available at the door or online.