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The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

The Student News Site of Yutan High School

Chieftain Times

All-school musical opens up the gates

“Frozen” includes sixth graders, cast flexibility

The winter weather this season in Nebraska isn’t the only frozen aspect of this year so far. This year’s all-school musical will be showcasing Disney’s “Frozen. Although it won’t be performed until April, the students are hard at work getting ready for the performance. 

Choosing the musical this year wasn’t a challenge for musical director Matt Gunter because he wanted to keep things straightforward but still enjoyable.

Seniors Reagan Wilson and Andi Nelson walk across the stage together in character. In the musical, Hans is represented by Wilson and Anna is played by Nelson. (Ginger Eikmeier)

“We wanted to keep something simple and easy that everybody of course knows. And we thought ‘Frozen’ would be a really fun, easy musical to do in the sense of singing and knowing lines and knowing the story,” Gunter said. 

Not only will the actors and actresses be able to learn the script and lyrics more quickly, but senior Skylar Crews, who plays Elsa, thinks that the audience will be familiar with the storyline as well. 

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“People know what a Disney play or musical is because they’ve seen it before. And so people will know the story better and it’s easier to follow along and also, people usually tend to like the Disney plays,” Crews said. 

While the story may be familiar, one thing that makes this year’s musical different from the past ones is recruiting sixth graders to join the fun. 

“We’re inviting the sixth graders this year to do it as a recruiting tool and as an opportunity for the sixth graders, since they don’t get a chance to really do any acting or anything,” Gunter said. 

For Crews, having younger actors on stage is a new and thrilling experience.  

“I’m excited to see all the young actresses and actors get to show off their talent. I think there’s a lot more young talent like Ella Eikmeier, she is very talented,” Crews said. “Just young talent like that, it’s new, and I think it’s cool.”

For the sixth graders, having the opportunity to get a part in Frozen was exciting news. Even though some roles were reserved for the high schoolers, the sixth graders were still eager to play any role offered. 

“We all really wanted to do [the musical] and try it out hoping to get certain parts. I mean, we all knew we wouldn’t be able to get Olaf and Anna and Elsa because that would be a role for the high schoolers. So we were wanting to be one of the trolls, young Anna, young Elsa and some of the background people,” sixth grader Ella Eikmeier said. 

Eikmeier is acting in her first musical as young Elsa and also as a Hugo family member. Being able to act and sing has given her and the other sixth graders a rewarding opportunity to learn skills that they can use in the future. 

Director Matt Gunter demonstrates to sixth-grader Avery Wichman, eighth-grader Izaiah Hancock and senior Reagan Wilson how their characters should move. This year’s musical includes 10 sixth graders. (Ginger Eikmeier)

“It’s fun and you learn a lot of things during it. You can learn how to act, which would help for speech and one act if you want to do that when you’re older. You learn how to sing a little better if you want to do contests,” Eikmeier said. 

Another distinguishing feature of this year’s musical is the cast flexibility. Since the cast has a strong amount of female actors, most of the male parts will be represented by actresses. 

“When I choose a musical, I am very mindful of the lack of male student involvement, and we find something that has many gender-neutral characters. The Disney Junior versions that we use do that a lot,” Gunter said. “The Yutan productions are not any different from Broadway or professional shows, they use females as male characters and vice versa. The joy of theater is acting.”

One of the actresses representing a male character is sophomore Lexi Bisaillon, who is playing Olaf in this year’s musical. Being flexible was nothing new to Bisaillon, as she has experience playing a male role as a female actor.

“Playing a male character is not that overwhelming because I’ve previously played one in the past in ‘Aladdin,’ which is a previous musical we did. Olaf is also kind of an interesting character since he’s an object. So even though he’s a guy in the movie, I think Olaf also works being represented as a girl in our show,” Bisaillon said. 

Even though many changes are applied to this year’s musical, the students are hoping their effort will create a great final production.

“Musicals are a lot of hard work and you really have to put your all into it, and the ending result is always worth it and worthwhile to see,” Bisaillon said. “I think doing ‘Frozen’ has been really fun so far, and I’m really looking forward to everyone seeing all of our dedication to this project.”

 

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About the Contributor
Maddie Bailiff
Maddie Bailiff, Sophomore writer
Maddie Bailiff is a sophomore and in her second year of journalism.  She enjoys writing, being with family and spending time with friends.  Her favorite part of Journalism is taking pictures and writing stories. 
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