The Boy Friend’s back and better than ever

Nina Kanamaluru, Staff Writer

Following in the footsteps of productions like Once Upon A Mattress and Urinetown, this year’s winter musical, The Boy Friend, hopes to emulate the success of previous shows. Directed by PDS theater director Stan Cahill and assistant director senior Julie Goldberg, this year’s musical aspires to entertain the PDS community.

The main character is a young English girl, Polly Browne, played by senior Sophie Freedman. Although Polly is the daughter of millionaire Sir Percival Browne, who is played by senior Rajiv Potluri, she fnds herself at odds with her school. Unlike the other girls, she does not have a boyfriend. She meets Tony, a messenger boy played by junior Itai Fruchter, and asks him to the Carnival Ball. Filled with extravagant dance numbers and moving moments, The Boy Friend is sure to not disappoint.

The cast and crew have been preparing to deliver their very best performance with daily rehearsals. Every weekday after school they run through each scene, often stopping for quick remarks from director Stan Cahill, choreographer Ann Robideaux, or music director Marc Beja. They then repeat key moments in each scene until both actors and faculty are happy with the results. What is great about all productions at PDS is that the faculty offers the actors the opportunity to give advice to fellow cast members or to the directors themselves. This not only creates a stronger relationship, but also allows the play to incorporate the actors’ ideas and opinions, and not solely the director’s.

The actors work meticulously on every possible detail, from delivering jokes to positioning props on stage. As they learn new scenes, the cast works on both music and choreography. While learning new dance numbers, the actors work through them slowly and painstakingly, always listening to commentary from Ms. Robideaux. Once they know the choreography, they practice the number at the real tempo. Finally, they incorporate the dance into the scene, and practice it several times until they perfect it. As cliché as it may sound, practice makes perfect, a sentiment that is especially evident when putting on a musical of this magnitude.

From the big, splashy dance numbers to quietly emotive duets, the cast is clearly in its element for this musical. However, the actors often stumble while moving on and off stage or while transitioning between scenes. More than once, actors needed on stage are nowhere to be found and have to be hunted down.

“Right now, we’re at a stage where we need to figure out, ‘Okay, what next?’” said Mr. Cahill. “We just need to always be thinking about what’s coming next.”

This production will truly be a sight to behold, from Hortense, who is played by senior Katie Sanderson, being lifted up as she does a split, to Polly and Tony’s duet, “I Could Be Happy With You.”

As always, The Boy Friend should display the PDS Upper School’s musical and theatrical prowess. In addition to putting the skill and craft of its student actors on display, the Benefit performance which takes place on Saturday, February 20, hopes to further endow the PDS Performing Arts Department. These donations will both benefit the physical theater space and help with the costs of putting on various theater productions.

Good luck to all members of cast and crew with The Boy Friend!