By Madison Kane
Do you want to build a snowman? Well, look no further. Jericho High School has been chosen by the National Educational Theater Association as one of the prestigious schools to participate in ‘The United States of Frozen – Love is an Open-door’ competition, and they will be putting on a production of Frozen the Musical from March 9 to 12.
In August of 2022, Theone Rinaudo, Jericho High School’s Theater Director, found out that the window for the contest reopened. With only three days to complete the application, members of the Jericho Theater Department helped out by drawing pictures, writing essays, and throwing out ideas as to why Jericho is the best fit. Rinaudo believes Jericho was selected because everyone has a place, which was a point made clear in the application. She said “Whether we have the robotics team building us icicles, or we’re building puppets. We have technology people coming in from the outside. We have our own tech people working on stuff here. If you want to build stuff, you can build stuff with Mr. Herbert. We’ve got a lot of different people who like to do hair and makeup. We’ve got a lot of people. Everybody just sees the stage. They don’t realize how long the reach is.”
In order to maximize the production of the musical, they had to make sure no stone was left unturned. They raised enough money to get snow machines, a short throw projector, puppets, and gobo lights, which project ice and snow onto the stage. The Jericho Educational Foundation (JEF), was very helpful throughout the process. They gave the theater program $10,000 for the short throw projector and also helped fund the puppets.
When November 2022 came around, auditions began. They were held virtually due to the many students auditioning, which added a sense of heightened anxiety for all auditionees.
Lauren Marchand, a senior at Jericho High School, four-year member of Jericho Theater, and Elsa in the musical Frozen, felt that with this show came more self-doubt as a result of the principle that Rinaudo holds onto every year that the shows are ‘for the seniors.’ Marchand said, “When you have that idea that the show’s gonna be for the seniors, it can be very difficult to see that there’s so many people auditioning that it has to be virtual. That was crazy.”
The cast list came out a week later as opposed to them coming out the next day. “That was definitely nerve-wracking not knowing immediately,” Marchand added.
Being the only school in New York State that is allowed to perform Frozen means that the pressure is certainly on. Rinaudo said, “It’s been chaotic. A lot more than normal. There’s a lot more pressure on us because we’re the only ones in New York State. We are doing two extra shows, which we don’t normally do…and just the process has been escalated.”
Gianna DeVellis, Senior at Jericho High School who is playing the role of Anna, feels similarly. “I think there’s a lot of pressure and I think, as a cast, we love each other so much, but we put so much pressure on ourselves. Speaking from experience, if I don’t do good [work] the show is gonna suck, so I know I better be on my A-game and not let anyone down; I don’t want to let any of my seniors down, my cast-mates, and the directors, and I just want to do the best for myself.”
Mixed in with all the pressure are moments and opportunities that the cast cherishes. Chloe Salva, a senior at Jericho High School who plays the role of Olaf, has one particular memory that sticks out to her throughout the production. The crew took a field trip to the elementary schools and performed a few acts from the musical. “I remember, this moment where I have this scene when Anna and Kristoff are finding out about Olaf because this is his first appearance in the musical, and then the kids are all like, ‘oh, he’s right there, he’s behind you.’ And it was just so interactive and all the kids were just singing and clapping. I feel like the experience of having those kids just being able to see their favorite characters from their favorite Disney come to life. It’s just very fulfilling” she said.
—Madison Kane is a sophomore at Jericho High School