For months, students, staff and SMUS community members have been working hard on the Senior School musical: Catch Me If You Can. From rehearsals for the musicians in the pit orchestra and for the cast of performers on stage to amazing hard work behind-the-scenes to sets, costumes, lighting and more, it takes a lot of work to put on a high school musical.
We sat down with some of the performers – Grade 12 students Ethan Ko and Charlotte Angkriwan, Grade 11 student Diya Courty-Stephens, Grade 10 student Aimee Look, and Grade 9 student William Gao – to talk about the experience of being in Catch Me If You Can.
Tell us about your character.
Ethan – I play Carl Hanratty. If I could use word to describe him, it would be “persistent.” He’s a thoughtful guy who actually has a soul, unlike the stereotypical CIA-FBI agent you see in a lot of shows. He’s very much a real and relatable character.
Diya – We [Charlotte and I] both play Brenda Strong and we each have different views on her. For me, she’s more of a home-broken girl who’s had a lot of hardships in her life.
Charlotte – And she lacks confidence because of her background. In a way she wants to prove to her parents that she’s not the girl they think she is, or she thinks she is.
Diya – When she finds [the protagonist] Frank, her whole world changes and she realizes there’s more purpose in her life.
William – Agent Dollar is sort of the new guy at the FBI. He’s a Southern boy and in my mind he’s really sleazy. But he’s also now the rookie FBI agent who gets razed by the other agents because he’s so new to the job.
Why did you want to be in the musical?
Aimee – I’ve been doing musicals since I was 7 or 8, and I love them. Initially I was drawn to the sense of community; you really feel like you’re in a family when you’re in a musical. I love working together with people to present a piece. People call it the ultimate team sport, which it is. It’s so much fun and a lot of hard work, but there’s a lot of reward when it’s over.
William – I’ve only had one experience before with musical theatre – last summer was my first time and it was great. I learned a lot and made a lot of new friends, so I thought it would be a good idea to do the bigger production at SMUS. I think being in the musical is a great way to escape to another world for a couple of hours; it’s very therapeutic.
Charlotte – I wasn’t even planning on auditioning for a part. But when audition times were posted I decided, “Why not? It’s my last year at SMUS. Just go for it.”
Diya – I love musical theatre; I’ve been doing it since Grade 5 at SMUS with the opera. I love being on stage and meeting new people, and being in the SMUS musical is such a great experience.
Ethan – Every year since I was in Grade 9, the musical has been the highlight of my year. The sense of camaraderie and teamwork that goes into building the musical is a great way to make friends and have a really good time. I also just love being in the musical because the music is so great. If you look at my playlist of music, it’s probably 70% Broadway because the music is not only really good, but it’s so well written and tells a story.
What is the experience like being in a SMUS musical?
Diya – None of my closest friends are into musical theatre so it’s nice to go into the room and realize that you have something in common with everyone – who are all nice and friendly – and get to build new friendships. Everyone is so welcoming and supportive!
Ethan – It’s very hectic, especially being in Grade 12 and juggling university applications and keeping my grades up. But the experience working with Mr. Collett, Mr. Clements and the cast and chorus and crew is so good. As a lead, there’s a lot of lines to memorize – but I have to give credit to everyone in the chorus because that’s just as big of a commitment and they really are the backbone of the show.
Charlotte – It’s really, really fun, and it’s a big commitment but so worth it. I love getting to spend time with all my friends doing something I’m passionate about. This is going to be one of the best parts of my Grade 12 year and it’ll be something that I will remember for the rest of my life. Even if you’re scared about going on stage, being in the musical is such a great experience I would recommend it to everyone.
Aimee – It’s a lot of fun being with your friends and undertaking something like this. I love that there are people from the whole school who get involved in the production in so many different ways. It’s great being a part of such a big thing and something that the school clearly loves. It’s also really cool that it involves the Victoria community; I love driving by the McPherson and seeing the school name on the sign!
Why should people come see Catch Me If You Can?
William – Because it’s a great musical, the leads are awesome, the ensemble is awesome and the choreography is really great. If you love the movie, you’ll love this because it’s a different take on the whole thing.
Ethan – It’s a very entertaining story of a boy becoming a man. And if you like jazz, if you like cheesy pop ballads, if you like classic musical numbers – this is a good musical for all of that!
Diya – For the dancing! We have a dance team working independently this year and it’s so cool to watch them dance. And also come for the music and acting, as well. There are a lot of really strong singers and actors.
Charlotte – It’s a very interesting and true story. You’ll have a good time because it’s so fast-paced, and there’s a lot that happens – and I love when Frank breaks the fourth wall and talks directly to the audience!
Aimee – You should come see it because it’s a vibrant, colourful, pop-jazz musical with super catchy tunes that will get stuck in your head!
Catch Me If You Can runs nightly at 7:30 p.m. from March 1-3. There’s also a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 3. Tickets and more information are available on the McPherson Playhouse website.