Niles High School theater program to perform ‘Emma! A Pop Musical’

Published 1:55 pm Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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NILES — Students from Niles High School are preparing for their first musical performance of 2024.

The schools’ musical group will be performing “Emma! A Pop Musical” in the Niles High School Auditorium at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 9 and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 10. Tickets are $7 for the general public and $5 for all students. 

The performance will be directed by second-year music teacher Julia Mikel and assistant director Megan Bartlett. The cast consists of 20 students and the musical will feature music from the Niles High School band in the pit. Based on Jane Austen’s classic novel “Emma”, the musical features hit songs from artists and groups like The Supremes to Katy Perry.

“I love that it’s modern and I love that it’s a jukebox musical,” Mikel said. “They took all these pop songs from different generations. I feel like it reaches a lot of different audiences which is kind of unique and there are songs that everybody knows. When you’re coming as an audience member, I love that you can sing along to at least a couple of the songs, if not all of them. I don’t think I’ve ever done one that has reached as many different people as this.

“There’s some from the 50s, the 60s, there’s an 80s song but this really reaches a lot of different generations and genres,” Bartlett added. “There’s a little bit of country, there’s a little bit of rock and roll and much more.”

According to Bartlett, the musical was one the group has been looking forward to adapting. 

“I think they love it,” Bartlett said. “I think they’re into the modern music. This is our tech week and usually it’s a chaotic stressful awful week for everyone but yesterday, we were sitting watching the show going ‘why is this going so smooth?’ I think the cast has really embraced it and really made it their own. It’s been pretty Flawless. I think they’re really into it and really loving it, and it’s making our job a lot easier because they’re bought into the storyline. They’re bought into the music and they’re ready to put on a great show.”

Mikel and Bartlett hope the community comes out to enjoy the show as they aim to bolster the theater program.

“They’ve worked their butts off,” Bartlett said. “They started rehearsals right after Christmas break. The cast has really loved the show and put all their effort into rehearsals and they’re ready for an audience to come watch them. We had a lot of snow days in January that we were pretty scared of but you could tell that the cast memorized lines on those snow days. 

“We’re trying to grow a program,” Bartlett continued. “Julia and I are trying to build a music program here. I think COVID really hurt our program and so this is a comeback year. We’re going to get as many people out to witness that the arts are still alive here at Niles.”