By Yevgeniy Trapeznikov
“I had to embrace my inner oblivious old joker, and put
myself into the shoes of a millionaire who’s been through seven or eight
marriages and is still happy as a clam,” said Kazz Felix-Hawver, a Bethesda-Chevy
Chase High School student.
In the run-up
to Christmas, Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School (B-CC) has prepared a holiday gift for all fond of
this Friday, B-CC students will act in the show “Sugar,” a musical adaptation of the 1959 movie
“Some Like It Hot.”
Adapted for the stage in 1972 by Tony Award-winning
librettist Peter Stone, “Sugar” tells a funny story of
two friends, Joe (a saxophone player) and
Jerry (a bass player), who accidentally become
witnesses to the Saint Valentine's Day
Massacre of 1929 in Chicago, and are forced to
run for their lives from the gangsters. In their escape,
the pair joins an all-female band, named the Society Syncopators,
that heads to Miami.
“There are no modifications. The show sticks very closely to
the original film, except for the musical numbers. However, even the numbers
try to maintain the feel of the time period,” said Adam Graham, who is directing the musical at B-CC.
According to the school’s promo release, this is the first
time Graham is double-casting the role of female lead. Ashley Behnke and
Gillian Han, B-CC high school students, will both play Sugar Cane, a frivolous
female character who, in the original movie, was performed by Marilyn Monroe.
“I thought it would be twice as difficult but it was two
times easier," Graham said in a statement. "Because they help each
other and don’t compete."
The B-CC high school students have been rehearsing since
September and now
are in “crunch mode,” according Leo Kelly, a junior at B-CC, who is going to
play one of the two male lead characters—a saxophone player Joe.
“My character is all over the place. He disguises as both a
rather manly woman and a manipulative millionaire to get exactly what he wants …
whether it's safety from a mob or the love of his life,”
Kelly said, describing how Joe first masqueraded as a woman
to hide from the Chicago mob and later in the show was pretending to be a millionaire to woo Sugar Cane.
Kelly and his partner, Rees Powell, have one of the most
challenging roles. Both are more than 6 feet tall, and will
have to walk around on the stage in high heels and
wearing women’s dresses.
“Our tech crew and costume departments spare no expense and
work their butts off to get everything perfect. And getting dresses for two
6-foot-and-2-inch tall guys can't be easy,” Kelly said.
The show had 39 tech crew members to put things up for the
performance. The school theatre has recently upgraded its lighting system. The revolving stage design received
help by KayCee Tucker, a graduate of Montgomery Blair
High School and who earned a degree in theater technology from New York University last
“Sugar” also will feature a
27-person live orchestra with upright bass and 35 people in the cast.
For student Kazz
Felix-Hawver—who is playing an old millionaire
who survived multiple marriages but never lost his passion for women—the
musical will be his sixth performance at B-CC.
Felix-Hawver said he was cast as old men several times
before and this experience gave him enough dexterity with the makeup routine.
However, the biggest challenge for him has been embracing the true nature of
“Sir Osgood Fielding [a millionaire who falls in love with the man-turned-woman bass player] is a creepy, dirty
old man. But it’s not supposed to be a creepy, dirty character, he’s supposed
to be hilariously oblivious,” said Felix-Hawver, explaining complexity of his
Amanda Silverstein, on the other
hand, finds herself in a different situation when she explores a new
terrain of playing a younger character.
“I have been frequently cast in the ‘mother’ role. This time, I got to play someone a little
closer to my age. The most challenging aspect of this character was realizing
it wasn't an old character,” said Silverstein, who plays Sweet Sue, leader of Society Syncopators.
For those itching for a show, “Sugar” will be one of the few
theatrical performances before
winter holiday season strikes. Most other performances will be in
The show will take place at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School
(4301 East-West Highway in Bethesda) and will feature talented high school
performers, some with professional credits, and most with years of theater,
voice and dance training and experience.
“Sugar” will be presented on three days, from Dec. 13 through Dec. 15. The first two performances will take place at 7:30 p.m., and the Sunday show will start at 2 p.m.
Tickets are $8 for senior citizens and students in kindergarten through grade 12, and $10 for the general public. All Montgomery County public school employees and children 5 and under will be admitted free-of charge.