Spring musical switches from Evita to Billy Elliot

The drama department originally planned on producing Evita as its spring musical, but a change in production rights have prompted the department to choose another. 

On February 5th, the Skylight Music Theater announced their 20192020 season which included Evita. Joe King, drama director, wasn’t surprised at the news. 

“When we got the email from the production rights company who owned the rights to Evita and they said you can’t do it in the spring because a professional theater in the area has the rights, I was like oh, okay. It’s a bummer, but I’m not surprised, that kind of stuff happens all the time,” King said. 

Maya Schmitz, junior, who is an active participant in all of the plays and musicals the drama department puts on, was surprised at the change. 

“I was very excited for Evita when it was announced, because it’s a fun show and it’s Andrew Lloyd Webber. When it was changed, I was really shocked because I wasn’t sure why it happened,” said Schmitz.

Sarah Van Loon, costume director, doesn’t know how to feel about the change. 

“I was looking forward to Evita because I studied it in high school and … just the time difference alone will be difficult for costumes. I love the new show but I’m not glad that we aren’t doing Evita,” Van Loon said. 

The new spring musical is Billy Elliot, which is about a young boy whose very masculine father is raising him alone in northern England in the 1980s. He sends Billy to take boxing lessons, but Billy accidentally ends up in a dance room and then starts to secretly take ballet lessons instead of boxing.

“It’s just a musical that I’ve always loved and it makes me cry every time I see it or listen to it because it’s really powerful,” King said. 

Van Loon looks forward to the new show and is passionate about its deeper meaning.

“It is a show about following your heart and doing things regardless of what people think is normal. There are too many stereotypes in this world on what people should behave like,” Van Loon said. 

King also made a connection from the new musical to the outside world. In the news for the last week or two, Prince George, a member of the British royal family, was made fun of by a TV host from “Good Morning America” for appreciating ballet.

“There has been some backlash on that saying, ‘Don’t make fun of boys who like to dance,’ and that’s what Billy Elliot is really all about,” King said. 

After the quick changes in the spring musical last year from Guys and Dolls to Mamma Mia!, Van Loon is grateful that they made a decision before the 20192020 school year started.

“I haven’t really given [anything] any thought yet because I’m worried about Midsummer Night’s Dream this fall,” said Van Loon. “It’s a little crazy.”

Although Schmitz wasn’t expecting the change in musical, she remains hopeful for another great experience. 

“I am a little less excited for Billy Elliot, because I don’t really know the show or its music too well, but I know it’s still going to be a fun experience no matter what,” Schmitz said.