Original Production Marks Return of Spring Musical
A much-anticipated event on the St. Michael’s College School (SMCS) calendar is set to return to the Centre for the Arts stage, marking a first for the school’s drama department.
Love & Revolution is an original show exclusively created for SMCS — a first in the school’s 71-year tradition of staging Broadway-style musicals.
Exclusive Production in the Works
“Originally, we had selected the musical Shrek, but realized coming out of COVID and not having done a musical since 2019, it would be too challenging a show to produce as it is highly technical and the costume requirements were immense,” says Jamie Oatt, Music Department Head and assistant director of the Spring Musical. “We looked at the strengths of the students who auditioned and decided to build our own show around that instead.”
Anne Morrone, director of the Spring Musical, wrote the script for Love & Revolution, which incorporates well-known numbers from 14 different musicals.
“I feel very privileged to have this opportunity to share it with our wonderful community,” says Morrone. This show will officially be Morrone’s directing debut, as Grease was never able to make it to the stage in 2020 and 2022 due to the pandemic.
“Love & Revolution has a strong message of hope, inspiration, and love that will likely resonate with audiences and provide a memorable experience,” she adds. “What brings people together more than love and fighting for what we believe in? I hope we bring hope into people’s hearts and invigorate them to keep fighting for what they believe in.”
In total, 31 male and female student-actors make up the cast of the Spring Musical, along with 12 stage crew members who control the technical aspects of the show, and two pit musicians who provide the music for the production.
“This year is the first that I’ve done any major production at St. Mike’s,” says Darcy Blaik, Grade 12 student and the show’s male lead. “I was also in Frankenstein: A Radio Play so the learning curve has been steep this year. The arts are such an important part of our school and my life so taking a role in the show was a total no-brainer.”
Eight staff members representing the music department, theatre, and business staff round out the team who play a leadership role in putting together this exceptional event.
“The most satisfying part of putting on a musical production is often seeing the hard work and dedication of the cast, crew, creative team, and parents of our students come together to create a memorable and inspiring experience for the audience,” says Morrone. “At SMCS, it is the sense of community and collaboration that comes from working on a production together. We recognize that it starts within the homes of these students, their parents’ and guardians’ support, bringing the students to and from rehearsals and all the emotional support they get at home. I am eternally grateful they have this encouragement within their homes, from their teachers, and community to bring the SMCS theatre back to life again.”
Setting the Stage for Success
Auditions for the Spring Musical were held at the start of the school year, with the search on to find talent at SMCS to fill the male roles and local elementary and high schools for the female roles.
“During the months of May and June, the creative team would meet to discuss possible choices and consider which students are returning and what shows seem to fit some of the known talent,” says Oatt. “We know there will be new students auditioning, but it is good to know we have students who would possess the voice, dancing, and acting skills to pull off a particular musical. Since we had not staged a musical here since 2019, we were basically building a cast from scratch this year.”
With Shrek having been cancelled just ahead of the Christmas break and Love & Revolution only an idea at that point, time was running out to begin preparations for the elaborate annual production.
“By the time we returned from the Christmas break, the music had been selected and now I only had a few weeks to write the script,” says Morrone. “The challenge now was to write a script incorporating beloved songs from other musicals into the soundtrack in a way that enhances the storyline and engages the audience. Despite many sleepless nights and weekends spent writing, by the end of February we had a script and off we went.”
To prepare for the Spring Musical, the cast attends two three-hour evening rehearsals each week with several Sunday afternoon rehearsals between January and April to work on acting, singing, and dancing.
“Currently, I am particularly focused on getting all my work done to the best of my ability,” says Blaik, who also notes that in the weeks leading up to showtime, rehearsals for him occurred almost every day. “Music from the show is always playing in my ears, and I’m going over the dances in my head while I do my math homework. The schedule is very busy, but it’s extremely gratifying to see the hard work pay off at rehearsals.”
For Philip Grochmal, one of the pit musicians who will be playing flute, clarinet, and saxophone for Love & Revolution, a typical day for him involves not only practicing with his instruments, but also listening to recordings of the songs so he can better understand the role he plays in each number.
“The most exciting part for sure is the constant learning opportunities happening during the rehearsal process,” says Grochmal, who plans to pursue a bachelor of music production at university next year. “There are always things that are changing and to learn from which helps me grow as a musician.”
The curtain officially lifts on this year’s Spring Musical on Wednesday, April 19 with a preview performance beginning at 7:30 p.m. Subsequent showtimes include additional evening performances from April 20-22 along with a day-time matinee at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 22.
“After a three-year hiatus, we’re finally bringing back live performances to our beautiful theatre with the help of our talented students and cast,” says Morrone. “I’m thrilled to see them showcase their abilities and bring my story to life through music and characters. Let’s reignite our love for live performances and enjoy the show!”
SMCS Spring Musical: Love & Revolution
Wednesday, April 19 at 7:30 p.m. (preview)
Thursday, April 20 at 7:30 p.m. (Opening Night)
Friday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 22, at:
1 p.m. (Matinee)
7:30 p.m. (Closing Night)
The Lobby & Box Office open one hour before curtain.
Doors open a half-hour before curtain.
Preview and Matinee Performances
Adults: $15.00 HST Included
Students/Seniors: $10.00 HST Included
All Other Performances
Adults: $20.00 HST Included
Students/Seniors: $15.00 HST Included