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The Sound of Mariemont: A Look into this Year’s Spring Musical


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BY ABBY DODSON

“It’s a classic. Everybody knows and loves it,” co-director and music teacher, Liz McGahey, told me, as she sat in her office, relaxed, with her legs crossed, and smiled past me toward the stage.

The Sound of Music, this year’s Spring Musical at Mariemont High School, is showing March 16th – 18th, and features a cast and crew of high school students.

McGahey said she and her partner, English teacher Lee Lowery, picked the musical because it’s a timeless classic and highlights the talent of the cast.  

Matthews, who stars as Maria, rehearses choreography at practice. (PHOTO BY DODSON)

“Not many musicals are really female-oriented, which is what is so great about The Sound of Music,” says Lowey.

The Sound of Music provides the opportunity to really showcase our strong female singers,” McGahey says.

Female singers, most notably, this year’s senior leads: senior Shannon Matthews, who plays Maria, and senior Molly Mysogland, who plays Mother Abbess and serves as a co-student director.

“It’s my family’s favorite movie,” Mysogland says. She’s excited about the musical because she already knows the songs, and she’s sure the audience will love the beloved story.

In her senior year, Mysogland takes on an additional role as the student director of this production. Mysogland choreographs all the nun dances, as well as takes on responsibility for media and promotion.

The seniors in the musical all recognized the importance of leadership this year as well. Mysogland explained there were fewer seniors this year compared to years past, so the 18 of them had to assume leadership positions among the cast.

Senior actor Daniel Keyes says, “I love showing the younger students what it means to be dedicated to performing.”

“We have a few up-and-coming freshman, and the seniors have been great mentors to them,” says Lowery.

Mysogland says, “I am sad to be a senior.”

The musical has been especially important to her: she’s made friends, and broken down the divide between grade levels. “You gain friends in theater through shared vulnerability,” she explains. “It’s nobody’s favorite thing to perform on stage. When you’re all scared together, you gain the confidence to perform”.

Matthews says, “It’s a great opportunity for people who don’t do sports to connect people in all grades.”

Keyes also recognizes this. He says one of the most valuable parts of Mariemont’s theater program is “the family and connections you make.”

“When I started acting, it was because I wanted to get away from myself,” Keyes says. “But I’ve grown to like being myself, I don’t have to seek a role anymore, and that’s truly the most invaluable thing (about performing arts).”

The cast hard at work on choreography. (PHOTO BY DODSON)

“Working with teenagers is the easiest part,” McGahey says. She too recognizes the bond formed among the cast. “Our cast is so fun and talented, and everybody is so hungry to learn,” she says.

But, it’s not just the cast on stage who will be spotlighted this spring.

“No teachers know how the light stuff works,” says senior lighting expert Colton Urbanski, who has been on light crew for eight shows, and is currently training sophomore Reagan Kaiser to take his place. Knowledge about the light box has been passed down for generations, and it’s all student led and executed.

“Most people may not  know that we have a live orchestra,” senior cellist Zach Weinland says, about the live pit orchestra, which features a range of Mariemont’s most talented musicians. The musical pit changes locations for every show, so keep an eye out for the students providing live music during The Sound of Music.

“It’s difficult to play,” says Weinland about score for Sound of Music. “You’ve been practicing without the cast.” The pit rehearses without the cast to learn the music, and then coordinates the songs with the on-stage singing during tech week.

“The week before musical”, a time cast and crew referred to as ‘tech week’, “you’re not allowed to have a life,” jokes Weinland.

Jokes aside, the crew works tirelessly alongside the cast to put on the production.

“Nobody looks up,” says Urbanski, about the light booth above and behind the audience. “But we sing along!”

“I am excited to watch it all come together, and show it to the community,” says McGahey.

Tickets for the show can be purchased online, on the Mariemont Website, or at the Box Office just outside of the MHS Auditorium from 11:30 a.m.-1:15 p.m. each day during the week of the show.

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