Newark Drama Club to stream ‘We Will Rock You’

COURTESY OF BRENDA SCHOOL

Newark High School Drama Club’s cast and crew of the Queen musical “We Will Rock You: School Edition” have worked under COVID guidelines and challenges to produce the school’s first filmed musical. 

The final product will be streamed at 7 p.m. May 14-15 and 2 p.m. May 16. 

On location at Canal View Family Restaurant in Newark is senior Jaston Brooks as Galileo singing “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.”

“It’s our most unique musical production to date,’’ director Emily Howard said. “Like every school district, Newark faced challenges when mounting a spring musical. Students had to be 12 feet apart when singing. In order to safely capture the audio, we took advantage of our recording studio right at NHS. Our soloists took turns singing in the booth over the musical tracks. It made us feel like real, professional musicians. For our ensemble sound, we captured the group on stage one night during a recording session. This gave students another unique experience.

“When it came time to stage and film, we also had to think outside the box. The auditorium space was doubling as classrooms during the school day, so building a traditional set wasn’t possible. We had to get creative about filming locations. Students brainstormed and scouted out locations on school property and off. We transformed the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES Conference Center into Globalsoft headquarters for our ‘Killer Queen’ scenes. Canal View Family Restaurant graciously let us film after hours and it became our very own ‘Hard Rock Cafe’ — we even danced in the parking lot. The Erie Canal took center stage as we taped in and around the pathway and bridge. We also filmed the final scene in Central Park in the middle of the village.

“All of the filming was completed by students. Our student assistant director, Ryan Hermenet, took the lead on decisions about angles, framing and called all the shots during our filming sessions. The editing also is being completed by students, mostly Ryan and Cody Acquista. Every year we talk about the process over the product and, while we are very excited to share our final product with everyone, it was the process that made this year so special.

“I am so proud of the students in this cast and crew. They approached every obstacle as a challenge and worked as a team to create this very cool end product. We also thank W-FL BOCES, Canal View Family Restaurant, Park Presbyterian Church and the village of Newark for allowing us to film ‘on location.’ This will certainly be a show to remember.”

Newark juniors Bria Dano (Killer Queen) and Cody Acquista (Khashoggi) perform “Another One Bites the Dust” at the Wayne-Finger Lakes BOCES Conference Center as sophomore Andrew Flock, left, student director Ryan Hermenet and senior Sara Geroge film.

NHS vocal music teacher Kate Flock is the music director for the production. Cast members are juniors Acquista (Khashoggi), Dylan Burley (Buddy), Bria Dano (Killer Queen), Natalie Kelley and Anna Szarek (Teen Queens), and Gabriella Taylor (Oz), and seniors Jaston Brooks (Galileo Figaro), Jack Comella (Brit), Isabelle Figueroa (Scaramouche) and Brenna Stefanides (Teen Queen). 

Performing in the ensemble are freshmen Felicity Brey, AJ Comella, Alicia Hernandez, Cole Talbot and Beatrice Van Riper; sophomores Brooklyn Baker, Esperanza “Ronnie” Brahman and Amber Wilson; juniors Elijah Malach and Veronica Swann; and seniors Tanner Blaisdell and Rachel George. 

Crew members are freshmen Andrew Joslyn and Jadon Kowaleski; sophomores Andrew Flock and Meiah Johnson Danzey; junior Jenna Havert; and seniors Blake Aldrich and Sara George.

Streaming passes are $7. Visit newarkcsd.org/drama for information.