Learning about America’s history is something many people often find a bit boring, but Marquette Catholic High School’s spring musical proves that history can be far from dull. On Wednesday, March 15 Marquette High School held a fun dress rehearsal to prepare for its second round of performances of “1776.” Family and friends laughed and cheered as the students brought to life a humorous interpretation of how America gained its independence.
Marquette held its opening weekend of “1776” last weekend and had an amazing turnout. During the dress rehearsal, the students couldn’t contain their excitement for their upcoming performances.
“Opening weekend was so much fun. I was a little nervous, but we had such a great turnout on Sunday. I hope this weekend goes just as well or even better—having a big crowd is always nice,” said sophomore Alexandria Shoppa.
“1776” is the perfect blend of humorous and educational. It’s factual enough to get any history buff riled up, but entertaining enough to get people excited about history in a way they’ve never been before.
“It shows how America earned its independence through the perspectives of the Founding Fathers in a fun way with music and dance numbers. I feel like shows like this really help people learn about history in a new way. This show portrays a part of history in ways that people have never really heard about before,” said senior Mary Cate Neary who plays John Adams.
Director Amy Crane has wanted to put this show on for a long time but always felt like she never had enough boys to be able to pull it off since nearly all the roles in the play are male.
Recently, while finishing her master's degree in theater, Crane learned that in educational theater, a person doesn’t have to follow the same gender and racial parameters that professional theater does. It made her realize that to put on “1776” she didn’t have to wait for a group of 24 young men to go out for theater—she could do it now with the wonderful students she already has.
“Educational theater is about teaching students how to perform and how to get acting roles so we should be able to expand. People know that John Adams was male—it doesn’t matter if my John Adams is male or female, black or white because everyone knows who John Adams was. This is just the person I’ve chosen because they were the best actor for the part,” said Crane.
Crane decided this year was the year to finally go for it and her bravery has paid off. She’s extremely proud of all the fantastic work her students have done.
“We have so many females playing male roles and they’re killing it. They’re acting phenomenally and singing so well. I couldn’t be prouder of how we’ve presented the story and I feel like we’ve done it justice,” said Crane.
Preparing for the show has ultimately been a lot of work for the students—the musical is a full-length 3-hour musical including a 30-minute scene completely made up of dialogue. The students have all had so much fun working on it though and couldn’t be happier to be learning and growing together.
Through the process, the students have all grown closer and become extremely supportive of one another. It’s incredible to see how this show has become more than just a musical—it’s become an opportunity for the students to become a team.
“I would like to thank our tech team, especially our stage manager. We can’t do these shows without them; it’s easy to only pay attention to the actors, but there’s a ton happening behind the scene and they’re the ones keeping us going,” said senior Jacob Zientarski who plays Thomas Jefferson.
For everyone who missed opening weekend, you’re in luck—Marquette will put on three more spectacular performances this weekend. Shows will be held on March 17 and 18 at 6:30 p.m. and a final show will be held on March 19 at 1:30 p.m. at the school. So, come on out and indulge in some history with a delightful twist. Marquette High School’s rendition of “1776” is one the community definitely won’t want to miss.
“It’s definitely worth people’s time. I hope we bring everyone a little more joy into their days. No one will be bored watching it because there are so many different personalities that come out in the show and all kinds of different music,” said Neary. To learn more about Marquette Catholic High School, visit https://www.marquette-hs.org/.