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Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

The Student News Site of Niles West High School

Niles West News

Niles West Theatre Transports Viewers to Paris with the 2024 Musical: Amélie

Amélie sings surrounded picture frames of her fellow co-stars.

The Niles West Theatre Department has debuted their annual, end-of-the-year musical, this year’s being “Amélie.” They opened Thursday, May 2 with a morning community show during school and a show at 4 p.m. They also have performances on Friday, May 3rd, at 5 p.m., and two shows on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

“Amélie” takes place in the 1990s in France and features a young girl, played by junior Camila Smith, who branches out from her small suburban life into the streets of Paris. She slowly comes out of her comfort zone and creates a community around her.

“We see her start in childhood and what shaped her as a person, and it’s about her really setting out from her home. She’s always lived kind of in an isolated imagination of herself but she’s finally starting to meet people. So it’s really about what happens when you can imagine something that’s bigger than yourself and your world,” Director Samuel Rosenfeld said. 

The cast and crews began preparing at the beginning of March, with learning music and adding choreography afterward. Crews worked on the lights, costumes and sets for weeks prior, then added them the week before the show’s debut, known as tech week. The musical also features the Niles West Orchestra Department, which plays the music throughout the show. 

“This is the first time I have ever acted in the musical and it has been a lot of fun. I feel like this show has brought me closer with a lot of the cast and crew which I couldn’t be more grateful for! I’m glad that I could spend my last show with Niles West Theatre working with such amazing people and hope you all enjoy,” senior and Thespian Board President Ava Checke said. 

While many roles contribute to the play’s success, the director’s role is to oversee the entire process.

“So for the musical, a lot of my stuff is more based on movement and getting actors around the stage, and also creating a unified vision for what the show is. So working with the student designers and the crews to just make sure everything is coming together to make it feel like it’s one world rather than 7 different worlds kind of clustered together,” Rosenfeld said. “We have so many students who are not only talented but also very driven and work really hard, and so I can give them stuff and trust them to go and do their homework and come back and make it better and shape things and add their own ideas.” 

The play also offered new learning opportunities for student actors through workshops. 

“The behind-the-scenes process was interesting because I had to learn how to puppeteer and I’ve never done something like that before. I chose to audition because I’ve always loved musicals and being in Spongebob last year was such an awesome experience,” sophomore Jamie Hoffman said. 

One fun fact about ‘Amelie’ is that it features Rosenfeld’s cat, who has been present at all the rehearsals. 

“The students love her and so it’s really cool to see. She makes the space calmer and usually tech is a really intense process, but it’s always amazing to me that when an animal is in the room, everyone gets calmer,” Rosenfeld said. 

Many actors and crew members have fallen in love with the play, even while watching from the sidelines. 

“Amelie is such a feel-good show. It’s funny, heartwarming and overall a great story. The music is beautiful and despite singing it a thousand times, I haven’t gotten bored of it. It’s overall a great production,” junior Harper Hahn said.

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