Woodgrove’s Moonshine Murders a big hit

By Aiden Wilbur – Thomas Wootton High School

Murder may be afoot; and Woodgrove High School killed this show. Their production of Moonshine Murders was full of comedy, suspense, and emotion, and the students created a thrilling narrative from beginning to end.

L to R: Eliza Prymak and Emily Reeps

Moonshine Murders tells the story of Violet Sanata, a singer in a 1920s speakeasy. Amidst a series of murders all around Violet, it is up to the police to figure out who did it, before the tensions between two rival gangs bubble into an all-out war. The show was originally produced by the Stagecoach Theatre Company and was adapted by Woodgrove High School to fit their production needs; they worked with the playwrights to add characters and original musical numbers wherever necessary.

The entire ensemble gave an incredible performance throughout the production. They remained engaged and reactive to the scene around them and were present during the musical numbers as well. They attacked each line with a poise and flair that was evident of hard work and rehearsal. Maintaining an accent for an entire show can be a challenge, but each member was able to pull it off extremely well. As a whole, the ensemble created a believable, absorbing, and thorough world of the show.

Some outstanding performances came from Violet Sanata (Emily Reeps), Bugsy Moronski (Luke Murtaugh), and Snowy Fox (Samantha Huffer). Violet and Bugsy both sang beautifully and in a style that matched the 1920s setting of the production, and in their duet “Turn Off Your Light Mister Moon Man”, their chemistry was palpable and the two played off of each other wonderfully. Snowy Fox also gave a notable performance. As the owner of the speakeasy, her acting felt very mature and fitting of the time period, and her singing was full of emotion, especially during her duet “Bugsy is Bumped” with Divella Show (Mila Matic).

The crew overcame a massive obstacle of creating a virtual show and managing to produce a stellar piece of theatre in every aspect. The set crew (Jacbo Siecinski, Jillian D’Errico) and costume crew (Casey Murphy, Wyatt Kunkel, Mila Matic, Ella Hardy) both worked to create detailed and accurate pieces, from feather boas to bar bottles, all of which contributed to the atmosphere and realism of the show. 

In addition, the editing crew (Makenna Buhler, Julian Fratterola, Bethany Folks) outdid themselves, stitching together takes in a way that highlighted exactly where the focus of the scene was. They created overlays, such as a clock between scenes or shots fading into each other during songs, which was an interesting effect that would not have been achievable with conventional theatre. All these tech elements converged to make the show feel like it was being performed live, even though it was through a computer screen.

Woodgrove High School assembled to create a thoroughly enjoyable show. Moonshine Murders brough laughs, gasps, and the occasional chill as the story unfolded. Brought to life by a competent and passionate group of actors, musicians, and technicians, it is easy to speak highly of this speakeasy show.

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