Behind the Musical

Introducing Amélie, young Amélie, and the crews that make the musical possible

Michelle Fong

Staff Writer

    In this year’s spring musical, Amélie, Devin Hill will be starring as the older Amélie. Hill’s interest in theater began when she and her family attended many shows when she was younger. She also got the opportunity to watch her older sister star in Newark’s production of Grease and it was “like a light went off in [her] head.” When Hill reached high school as a freshman, she felt intimidated by the upperclassmen, which made her too nervous to audition for the AHSPA. However, during her sophomore year, she joined AHSPA and met many cast members which she credits to what made her more outgoing. Her first show in the AHSPA was Ghost, the Musical and since she loved the experience so much, Hill continued to audition for five more shows after that.

    When Hill first received news that Phillipa Soo was going to play Amélie in the Broadway version, she was so excited. Hill said that she saw her live in Hamilton and immediately fell in love with her voice. When Amélie was announced to be the spring musical, she was awestruck that it had come to AHS and then told herself, “I could do it. So I prepared for almost a year and was lucky enough to get the part!” Hill said that her whole family knew how anxious she was when the cast results came out. When she told her mother she made the role of Amélie, she shouted with excitement.

    Preparing for the performance definitely takes a lot of time and devotion. Hill spends three hours in rehearsal after school everyday, and she explains that it can get really exhausting. Some days for her are harder than others, but when she looks around and sees people around her working towards making the show amazing, it makes her time worthwhile. “I’m incredibly lucky to have amazing friends and a family who is supportive of something I’m so passionate about,” said Hill.

Photo Credit: American High School Performing Arts

    Introducing the youngest star of the spring musical, Maylee Tran! At just eight years old, Tran has made her way into a high school musical starring as young Amélie. In second grade, she sang and acted for a play that her teacher directed. “Theater has made me confident, and I like talking to people,” said Tran.

    Because Tran is so young, people often wonder if she ever gets stage fright or nerves. She definitely does; however, she says, “once I go there and actually do it, I don’t feel nervous anymore, because I’m already there so I just have to do my part.” Memorizing long scripts or lyrics of songs usually takes a lot of time and requires some strategies. To make the memorizing process better, Tran’s technique is remembering the emotions and mentally visualizing where the lines go and looking at the script all the time. Sometimes, she also watches YouTube videos to imitate how other actors and actresses recite their lines.

    Tran recalls the auditioning process for young Amélie as a thrilling experience. During her auditions, Tran had to sing a monologue to the piano. She said that she knew the director and stage manager loved her audition because “I saw them laughing and that made me happy.” When she announced to her teachers that she had made the role, they said they would watch her perform. She would like to thank her family and “[she] is very happy to have their support.” She said that their support made her push herself harder. Tran said that she is excited for her first debut at AHS and would definitely would like to join AHSPA when she enters high school in the future. “I feel special! I think people will be surprised that there is such a young kid in the production.”

    To make any production at American High School possible, we must credit the stage and sound crew. Most people do not think about their vital roles in ensuring that the productions come out perfectly every time. Initially, the crews help with painting the sets, which would be two times a week. Once the dates get closer to the performance, a group is selected to be backstage crew based on attendance during set painting days.

    The stage crew helps with the props and scene changes that take place during the plays and musicals. Without this help, the scenes literally could not be changed. Trinity Manansala, a sophomore in AHSPA’s stage crew, said, “I’ve been in stage crew since freshman year and I keep coming back because I love being a part of it!” She encourages people to join since everyone is welcome to be a part of any productions and no experience is necessary. Current assistant stage manager Samantha Young is a freshman that moved from Newark to Fremont and did not know too many people. Even though she has never had experience with being stage manager, she took this opportunity and “blindly leapt at the chance.” Turns out that this was one of the best decisions that she ever made.

    Sound crew is responsible for playing music, applying sound effects, adjusting volume levels, and managing microphones for both plays and musicals. As for musicals, it is much more challenging because actors and actresses are actively moving around on stage. Crew members have to “tape mics to actors, make sure they sound good, mute and unmute if they are on stage or not, and avoid feedback from the microphones,” according to sound crew member Jarod Woodbury.  Woodbury mentioned that all you need is the determination to help make the show a success.

    “There are so many different jobs that all blend together in the end to form what you see on stage. Everybody here works incredibly hard, and their contributions all come together in the end; no matter what their role is,” he said.

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