RRHS Thespians Aim to Take Theater a “Step Above” with Two Ambitious Productions
Posted on 09/20/2023
The Cast of Heathers
By Loree Johnson

Photo Courtesy of Hallie Birkett
The cast of Heathers Spring 2023

Rio Rico Thespians have an exciting lineup planned this year. They have made impressive strides through the years with productions of popular shows such as Grease and Heathers. This year will be no exception with the production of two much loved shows.

The first show of the year will be Clue with performances on December 1st and 2nd.

RRHS Hawks Theater director Liana Carrasco and Band Director Dr. Jonathan Johnson will soon begin auditions.

Senior Camila Fonseca, who is a member of the performance crew and will also help with vocals and musical numbers, said, “It brings back a popular game that many people have played, and it really catches the audience’s attention.”

Not only is this a popular show, but it is more ambitious than any other show that has been produced at RRHS.

According to junior Alana “Red” Leonard-Deleon, acting coach for the program, this production will be a “step above” previous productions and will “require cast chemistry.”

The set will be bigger than any set they have created with two stories and the seven rooms featured in the game, along with a grand staircase and balcony.

Mike Burns, who helped with the sets of Grease and Heathers, has agreed to help with this set. Substitute teacher Randy Johnson will help set up sound and lighting.

Another unique aspect of this production is that just like the board game has different endings each time the game is played, each night will have a different ending.

The show will feature the same characters as the game, but there will be an additional character in this production, Wadsworth the Butler, who instigates a lot of the action.

The spring production will be the Disney musical Newsies, which is based on the Newsboy strike of 1899 in New York City.

These auditions will begin in November and will be both for students’ acting and vocal abilities.

Carrasco used a different process to select the shows this year. Students gave pitches for shows that they thought would be best for RRHS, and students voted.

Carrasco explained that there are several reasons that students chose Newsies.

“The kids love Newsies. They are very passionate about it.”

This is also a production that “few high schools put on” because there is “a lot of choreography, a lot of ballet, a lot of jazz.”

It is a challenging show, but perfect for RRHS Thespians because they want to take the RRHS theater program to the next level.

This will require all the leadership, expertise, and collaborative effort that has made the RRHS productions so impressive.

Thespians will not only hone their own skills but will strive to help their fellow actors improve their abilities as well.

Leonard said she will teach her fellow actors “what to refine.”

Senior Akayla Weathers, Head Choreographer and Assistant Vocal Coach, wants to improve “dance technique” and push students to progress beyond their “comfort zone.”

Junior Maria Jose “MJ” Rojo, Assistant Choreographer and Vocal coach, will collaborate with Weathers on choreography and wants to “make people more comfortable” and “get rid of a negative mindset.”

Senior Stefen Kemp looks forward to expanding his acting repertoire, building the “confidence” of his peers, and serving as a “role model.”

Undoubtedly, both of these shows will be memorable.