Chicago at AUC

CV c hic 27

Musica Club and Movie Premiere Club will be doing a performance of Chicago musical collaboratively in December, merging musical theatre with film.

Chicago tells the tale of divas Velma Kelly, who killed her husband and sister for sleeping together, and Roxie Hart, who killed her boyfriend for not making her a big a star as promised, fight a battle against execution by hanging along the same lines of fighting for fame in the 1920s

Sophomore Nesma Mahgoub, president of Musica Club proposed the idea of performing the musical Chicago. The production is set to take place sometime in the first ten days of December, right before the final exams. There will be one performance in the AUC Tahrir Campus, and two other performances in the AUC New Cairo Campus.

“This semester we thought we’d have to work harder to get more people involved with us,” said Mahgoub, “so we merged our organizing committee with another club called Movie Premiere Club.”

“Movie Premiere club and Musica club merged, and are currently sharing Organizing Committees,” said Adham Yassin, President of Movie Premiere club.

Movie Premiere Club gives practical sessions for students to practice all there is about movie production, and are in collaboration with Kasr El Cinema where they provide them with the theoretical sessions. At the end of the semester they do two movies, where they put what they’ve learnt into practice.

“We’re doing this project with Musica Club,” said Yassin, “where our members will get to do the production of the plot scenes of the musical, and the singers from Musica will do the acting.”

Nesma Mahgoub is a well-established soprano. She has been singing since the age of twelve, studying with Egyptian soprano Dr. Nevine Allouba. She has won many national and international awards. She has performed in main roles such as Dido in Dido and Aeneas, the first opera to ever be performed at AUC, which took place last semester. She also did the parts of Anita in West Side Story musical and Rizzo in Grease musical, both of which took place at the Cairo Opera House, in a Broadway production, in July-August 2009. Mahgoub is nominated for a major role in an Operetta to take place soon.

According to Mahgoub, Musica club will be doing excerpts from the musical Chicago however maintaining the plot structure will be through filming the events that link one song to the other, which is where Movie Premiere club comes in, to be shown on a wide cinema screen. The characters cast in the musical will be the one acting out the scenes.

“What’s really interesting that we’re doing with this production,” Mahgoub said, “is combining both the Chicago movie and the musical by using Musica on the aspect of music and dance, and Movie Film Premiere on the aspect of the filming.”

The movie element of the production will be handled by the Movie Premiere Club, and will be directed by Adham Yassin, who is also the president of the Movie Premiere Club.

Main roles for the production have been cast. Playing Velma Kelly will be Nesma Mahgoub. Dalia Farid will be doing the role of Roxie Hart. Performing Matron Mama Morton will be Therese Ananian. The role of the Lawyer Billy Flynn will be played by Ahmed Safey El Din.

The rest of the characters haven’t been finally cast yet. “We’re still in the process of choosing between people for some of the characters,” said Mahgoub. “We will also hold auditions for our dancers to choose the six imprisoned girls from.”

The vocal coach responsible for the music is renowned soprano Dr. Nevine Allouba. The choreographer is Salma Salem, an AUC student, who has done an amount of work choreographing outside of AUC, and also at Samia Allouba’s Center.

Mahgoub is working hard trying to get a costume designer and a costume production team, along with a set designer and a set production team. Mahgoub is also attempting to get an AUC student light designer.

According to Mahgoub, The budget will be approximately 30,000 EGP, or even more, depending on the income from tickets as well as sponsorship.

The wardrobe for the musical will not be as wild as it is in the real Chicago musical and movie. The outfits will be more conservative, yet still attractive, maintaining the theme of the musical. The university will not object, since the outfits won’t be controversial or exposed.

Music for Chicago is written by John Kander, and the lyrics were written by Fred Ebb. Chicago first opened in 1975 on Broadway, and ran for 936 performances.

Musica Club was founded last semester by Nesma Mahgoub. It started off with six members who performed in the AUC Talent Show “Seasons of Love” from Rent musical, and “Skid Row” from Little shop of Horrors musical.

 “It was a very good boom for us,” Mahgoub said, “leaping from having only six members performing just a couple of songs, to having a 30-member-cast working on such an exquisite production like Chicago.”

Mahgoub specifically chose the musical Chicago as the main project for her club this semester, particularly for its popularity and attractiveness. She thought it would be a good way to establish her club and make it well known among the body of AUC.

“Every single one of the cast, whether they’re singers, dancers, or both, are working very hard,” Mahgoub added. “This club is based on utter dedication, especially since we have a strict shortage in time.”

To promote the event Chicago and publicize for the club, Musica are doing a Mini-Talent Show that’s competition-free, which will be held in a about a couple of weeks. People are welcome to dance, sing, do magic tricks, martial arts, stand-up comedy, play an instrument, or present their talents in any way they enjoy. Anyone and Everyone can join.

Student opinion varied in anticipation to the show.

 “I’ve seen the play before, and I’ve seen the movie, “ said sophomore Charles Tanoh, “however it’ll be interesting seeing it in an Egyptian perspective. It would feel like a trippy experience. Chicago has the whole American concept, you have a mindset of how the play’s gonna be, but seeing AUC do that will be interesting.”

“I’d watch it, just for the sake of entertainment,” said junior Dina el Sisi.

Others weren’t as enthusiastic.

“I would definitely not watch it, I hate it. I hate the movie and I hate the musical,” said Frank Elstner

“Even though one might have bigger priorities and dedications, there are some things that people want to maintain in touch with like music, arts and theatre,” said Mahgoub.

Mahgoub said, “No matter how much you need something, no matter how much time you have, no matter how much stress you’re subjected to, if you really believe in what you want, and you have strong faith, you will achieve it.” 

 -By Nouran Khalil

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