Westerville South students will rank show among most memorable
Westerville South High School's Theatre Troupe 513 will present "Ranked," a "movie" musical about a high school that runs on nothing more than its ranking system.
"If a student is above the average, they will succeed; if a student is below the average, they will only strive to be average in life," said Matt Wolfe, director. "The students obsess over their grades, and No. 1 rules the school. When the system is compromised and students must see one another for the content of their character, the story blossoms into one of friendship, acceptance and forgiveness."
Originally, Wolfe said, he wanted to find a new work to give South students the opportunity to create characters that were new and something they could develop on their own.
"When COVID took over, it turned into an opportunity to work with the writers to create something new and flexible," he said. "We began completely virtual, and as our numbers (got) better and sports started playing, we were given the OK to socially distance and do things a little different. Thus the movie musical was born."
There are 24 students in the cast and 22 on the crew for the show featuring music and lyrics by David Tyler Gomes.
Senior Emylie Winesette, who plays Sarah, said she got to experience a new type of performance, which is film, and it is very different from live theater, though it has been fun.
"Sarah is below the average and because of that, she is looked down on, and throughout the show, I think she learns that she shouldn't let ranks define her and that she can be herself and be bold," she said.
Senior Georgia Santino, who plays Alexis, said audiences should expect to want change after seeing the performance.
"This show raises a question about the school system, and I hope people realize that something needs to be done," she said.
Katie Krann, a senior who plays the role of Grace, said "Ranked" has had a completely different vibe from anything else South's theater troupe has done.
"It's been exciting to be a part of something so fresh and so new for the troupe," she said. " 'Ranked' is a love letter to Westerville, so people should expect to see some of their favorite spots."
Katy Mowery, a freshman on the social media/editing crew, said she has learned to adapt to any circumstance and that theater cannot be limited by not having a stage.
Kimberlee Welch, a junior who plays Tasia and serves as the show's props mistress, said she learned how to adapt a stage show for the screen.
" 'Ranked' is an original show, so we make our characters," she said. "We have more freedom to tell the story the way we want to."
Madison Yanichko, a junior appearing in the role of Maya, said audiences should expect a movie musical with a competitive and exciting plot with dynamic characters and a powerhouse ensemble.
She said she has learned how to be flexible and to take whatever comes at the troupe in stride.
"I've also learned that theatre can be enjoyable no matter what platform we have to use," she said.
Will Pyle, a junior who plays Francis, said the show was a huge change in habit and familiarity.
"One of the biggest areas of growth for me has been adding in little details in my acting," he said.
"Typically, when you're on a stage, your audience can only see the bigger motions, but when there is a camera in your face, they can see everything."
Tickets are available at westervillesouthathletics.com/upcoming-events, with showings Friday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 27.
Wolfe said tickets would provide access to the show to view in one's house ,as well as a live viewing at 8 p.m. each evening at the Westerville Amphitheater, 221 W. Main St., weather permitting.