The cast of Delano High School’s ‘The Theory of Relativity.’
DELANO, MN – After being unable to perform a musical in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Delano High School students are back with a new show, “The Theory of Relativity,” beginning Friday, May 14.
The show will take place at 7 p.m. May 14, 15, 20, and 21; and at 1 p.m. May 22 in the DHS Performing Arts Center. Tickets are available at https://app.arts-people.com/index.php?ticketing=dps .
It will look different than previous DHS musicals for a number of reasons.
Unlike “Elf” and “High School Musical,” this show features a variety of musical styles, and is not geared toward kids.
“It’s got different styles of music: musical theatre style, ballads, blues, jazz, and vaudeville,” Director Joe Lawrence said. “It’s different than anything anyone here has probably seen at a high school. … It’s appropriate for high school and middle school audiences. It’s not like the last two. It gives kids an opportunity to do a really challenging show.”
“It’s definitely different from what Delano has done before,” senior Mari Olson added. “There are really deep conversations. It’s a mature show. Come to see something different.”
It’s shorter than other performances: a one-act play that runs one hour and 15 minutes.
It will also look different for those attending due to COVID-19 requirements. There will be 250 general admission tickets sold for each performance. Ushers will seat audience members in accordance with COVID-19 guidelines. Audience members will not be allowed in the first two rows, to separate the audience from the actors.
“They can perform without masks because I picked a show where they can distance,” Lawrence said.
He also picked a musical in which it appears characters are distanced from each other, when in reality they are all connected.
The show description states, “Through a seemingly unrelated collection of songs, scenes and monologues, ‘The Theory of Relativity’ introduces a compelling array of characters experiencing the joys and heartbreaks, the lessons and losses, the inevitability, and the wonder of human connection.”
“All of these little stories are told in each song,” Lawrence said. “They seem disconnected, but they come together. The main message is everything is relative, the idea that the universe is ever-expanding, but everyone needs everyone else. At the end, you see disparate characters and stories that seem disconnected that are actually connected. I tried to pick a show in a time of separation, and division, and isolation, and anger, that would try to point out that none of those things are needed.”
Lawrence points to the lyrics of one of the songs as an example: “You’re a reflection of me; I reverberate, you reply. If I have a purpose, if I count at all, you are why. You measure, compare, you make me aware that I’m neither small nor obscure. I’m alive; you make sure. I am nothing without you.”
Senior Sophie Stevens said, “It’s definitely relatable for anyone. You can take something away and apply it to your own life.”
Several people are working to bring the performance to the stage.
The cast includes Sydney Wuerger, Emma Sorenson, Kalie Stewart, Stevens, Olson, Hunter Elwood, Gigi Slavec, Sean Wissbroecker, Presley Pawelk, Kyra Machakaire, Iain Lee, John Lahlum, Clara Lawrence, Autumn Langdon, Ariana Langdon, Faith Tellers, Samantha Paul, Logan Johnson, Kam Krause, Abby Hohenstein, Sydney Hintermeister, Katie Harder, Lila Ford, LuziAnna Feldman, Isaac Dahle, and Grace Becklin.
Joining Lawrence is choreographer Kerri Olson, musical director Eric Conway, orchestra conductor Jason Koets, and scenic and lighting designer Jack Neveaux.
The orchestra is made up of keyboardists Thomas Kenison and Liliana Schroedl, lead guitarist Jake Stoudt, acoustic guitarist Ian McCullough, and bassist Kiersten Koets.
Emily Barron leads the technical crew as stage manager, along with assistant stage manager Mallory Musta, soundboard operator Jace Betlach, light board operator Jamison Quast, and lighting assistant Mike Simons.
Jackson Groskreutz is the publicity and PAC manager, Mike Stoudt is the construction lead, John McClelland is a master carpenter, Kelli Carroll is the lead scenic painter, Tim Strandquist is the assistant lighting designer, and Simons is the student lead carpenter.
“We’re working really hard to pull it together,” senior Emma Sorenson said. “We’re excited to show it.”
A scene from “The Theory of Relativity.”