Drama Club bringing rock ‘n’ roll to Newark HS

The Newark High School Drama Club is producing a filmed version of “We Will Rock You: School Edition” that will be streamed at 7 p.m. May 7-8 and 2 p.m. May 9. 

“Trying to select a show that would fit the streaming restrictions and also highlight our student talent pool was challenging this year,” artistic director Emily Howard said. “When I read the first few lines of the show, however, I immediately emailed [musical director] Kate Flock and said, ‘I think I've found it!’ I think it's really fun for our students to tackle singing Queen music. I know our audiences will enjoy hearing songs like ‘Under Pressure,’ ‘Another One Bites the Dust,’ ‘Somebody to Love’ and, of course, ‘We Will Rock You.’ I'm hoping the campy nature of the script will lend itself to a unique film.

“Staying socially distant and masked presented some new challenges, but we're seeing these as opportunities. This year, we will not be producing a traditional live show on the NHS stage. We are creating a filmed version of the show that will be available for streaming on-demand.

“Our students will be filming the scenes in segments and then creating an end product that will resemble a film instead of your typical stage musical. The students will utilize tools and spaces at NHS, such as the audio recording studio. Students will play an integral part designing costumes, hair/makeup and deciding on film locations. We are brainstorming all of that now, but hope to utilize some outdoor spaces around Newark. 

“I'm also excited about the opportunity to explore performing in places other than our auditorium. No other year would we have had the chance to do that. I thought it was the perfect time to do something really out of the box. I'm happy that so many students raised their hands (and voices) to go along this wild adventure with us.”

Howard said the show features all Queen music, but isn't a story about the band itself.

“The setting is a dystopian future where school and society is under the control of Globalsoft Corporation,” she said. “The evil Killer Queen (Bria Dano), accompanied by her sidekick Khashoggi (Cody Acquista), rule the world and control what people listen to. No one remembers rock ‘n’ roll anymore, except The Bohemians led by Buddy (Dylan Burley), Brit (Jack Comella) and Oz (Gabriella Taylor). They've been waiting for someone to bring rock ‘n’ roll back to life. Galileo Figaro (Jaston Brooks) and Scaramouche (Isabelle Figueroa) are teenage outcasts who bond over ‘Breaking Free’ and work together to bring rock ‘n’ roll back to the world.”

Rehearsals are underway with NHS senior Ryan Hermenet as student director. 

“His knowledge and film editing skills are going to be vital to the success of this production,” Howard said.

Also in the cast are Natalie Kelley, Brenna Stefanides and Anna Szarek as Teen Queens, along with ensemble members Brooklyn Baker, Tanner Blaisdell, Esperanza “Ronnie” Braman, Felicity Brey, AJ Comella, Rachel George, Alicia Hernandez, Elijah Malach, Veronica Swann, Cole Talbot, Beatrice Van Riper and Amber Wilson. 

Crew members are Blake Aldrich, Andrew Flock, Sara George, Jenna Havert, Meiah Johnson Danzey, Andrew Joslyn and Jadon Kowaleski.

Ryan Hermenet is the student director for “We Will Rock You” at Newark High School.