Madison High School returns live musical theatre to Northeast Ohio


We all know what happened.

Now - more than five months after their original performance dates - Madison Theatre is attempting to be the first area high school in Northeast Ohio to return live musical theatre performances to the area. With protocols approved by the Lake County Health Department and using their original cast from the spring production, Madison Theatre is proud to lead the way on the return of live high school theatre.

Madison High School will present a reimagined, socially-distanced production of “Chicago: High School Edition” right on the floor of the Madison High School gym at 3100 Burns Road in Madison, Ohio. Performances are October 22, 23, & 24 at 7:30 p.m. and October 25 at 2 p.m. General admission tickets for “Chicago: High School Edition” are $10 for adults and $8 for students and seniors and are only available via advanced sale. Tickets can be purchased by calling (440) 343-3340 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from October 18 through October 24. Tickets must then be picked up between 4 and 5:30 p.m. at the Madison Local Schools Board Office. There will be a limit of 250 people allowed in the audience, socially-distanced on pre-marked areas of the east bleachers in the Madison High School gym.

“Chicago: High School Edition” is directed by Steve Couch with music direction by Madison Local Schools vocal music teacher Jennifer Calhoun. Choreography is by Jailyn Harris. “Chicago: High School Edition” features a book by Bob Fosse & Fred Ebb, music by John Kander, lyrics by Fred Ebb, and is based on the play by Maurine Dallas Watkins. Script adaptation is by David Thompson with music editing by Paul McKibbins.

“Chicago: High School Edition” is a new education-friendly version of this classic, dark satire that debuted on the West End in London in 1979 and was revived to great acclaim on Broadway in 1996. The film version in 2002 won six Oscars including Best Picture, the first musical film to do so since “Oliver!” in 1968. This new version creates a family-friendlier version while still maintaining the edgy comedy surrounding flappers, liquor, and the Jazz Age of 1920s Chicago.

Originally cast with 33 students back in January, graduation and changing schedules from students who didn’t expect to perform in October has whittled the cast down to 21 intrepid actors who are attempting to finish what they started - hopefully pioneering a way forward for live musical theatre in our area schools as they do.

Steve Couch directs his third Madison High School production after selling out Rabbit Run last May for a very successful run of “Footloose.” Couch has also directed seven musical productions for Madison Middle School and eleven productions at Memorial Middle School in Mentor since 2009. He has also directed his own original productions at Wildwood Theatre Camp for the City of Mentor for 25 years, including a “Pandemic Edition” this past summer that resulted in three original movies posted on YouTube under “Wildwood Theatre Camp.” Couch has also directed productions at Perry High School, Mentor High School, and Rabbit Run Theatre in Madison. His column “Young Thespians” runs frequently in the News-Herald.

Mr. Couch, a current Mentor High School social studies teacher and Model U.N. advisor, is also working with pit conductor Connie Notter of the Ashtabula Arts Center, sound designer Tom Linsenmeier, and lighting director Chris Meyers with assistance from Mentor Fine Arts Center director Paul Gatzke. You can follow us on Twitter @BlueStreakDrama.



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