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Footlights Club Impresses with 2019 Spring Musical Cry-Baby!

Updated: Jan 20, 2020

Cry-baby the musical featuring lovable characters Wade Walker and Allison Vernon-Williams-has been on stage for nearly four years. The Footlights Club at Monroe Township High School has been rehearsing their rendition of the well-known play for four months. From Thursday, May 2 to Sunday, May 5, they put on a show worth while! Tickets for senior citizens as well as kids were $8, while adult entry cost $10. During intermission, Footlights Club t-shirts were also available for purchase so community members can help support the arts at MTHS.

The musical is originally based on a film from the 1990s where Wade “Crybaby” Walker is in love with Allison Vernon-Williams. However, they are both from different rival gangs, the Drapes and Squares. These two gangs have been feuding for years and after Allison and Crybaby fall in love, the feud only intensifies.

Allison and Crybaby sneak out on a romantic outing, but surprisingly leave with prison sentences which angers Allison’s grandmother more than ever. She even goes to the extremes of separating the star-crossed lovers, upsetting both Allison and Crybaby deeply.

The musical, intermittent with iconic songs such as “I’m infected”, “Squeaky Clean”, “Nobody Gets Me”, “I Did Something Wrong, Once”, and more, was definitely a crowd pleaser!

Members of the Footlights Club could often be seen for the past couple of months outside of the PAC practicing choreography and editing their own work. For learning, rehearsing, and performing the routines in just four months, cast members have undergone an incredible amount of growth in such little time.

Additionally, the theatrics of the event were incredible. The stage was adorned with a backdrop resembling the setting of Baltimore in the year 1954 and picnic tables as well as streetlights were also used to enhance the effect of the not-so-secret secret place Crybaby took Allison to for their first romantic encounter. The costumes also allowed the audience to understand which cast members belonged to each gang. For example, members of the Drapes wore dark leather jackets and carried fake switchblades, whereas members of the Squares were dressed in modest skirts, and the Whiffles wore matching suits and bow ties.

The intense scenes involving cops and runaway criminals kept the audience members interested and the lighting of red and blue lights helped make the scene more realistic. However, there were comedic scenes which left room for laughter in between the power ballads and emotional segments. For example, Pepper was seen towards the end of the show screaming in labor and being pushed vigorously by a hospital bed followed by the emotional return of heartbroken Crybaby looking for his beloved Allison. Overall, the musical had a perfect balance of crude humor and family-friendly hits.

The incredible production put on by the Footlights Club made it hard to believe that the cast was played by high school students ranging from ages 14-18. It is an annual struggle for members of the club to say goodbye to their departing seniors, but freshman are eager to continue working with fellow performing art enthusiasts throughout their high school careers. In this musical specifically, five freshman-Diya Sodha, Priscilla Kapel, Brandon Theobald, Nicholas Spinelli, and Meghana Kumar -made an appearance singing catchy tunes, speaking in hard-hitting scenes, or simply supporting the cast as a dancer in choreography routines.

In the complementary playbill provided at the musical, descriptions of each character can be seen along with how the cast members describe their experience in the musical. Many members mentioned inside jokes they had with fellow cast-mates, yet others gave thanks to head director Mr.Byrnes, friends, family, and more.

Meghana Kumar, a passionate freshman portraying a Drape, has made her second Footlights Club production appearance, while other cast members have made their first high school production debut with Cry-baby. Nonetheless, all members have put in an astounding amount of effort into making this play possible. More specifically, Meghana describes the Footlights Club as being, “…not just a club, it’s a family”, while other members have recalled their time in the musical as “…so much fun.”

Meghana went on to share how the club is welcoming to all members and that students should feel excited about sharing their various talents with others. The cast for Cry-baby grew close after months of preparation for the show. Cast members credit such productions for allowing them to create special memories with new people and Meghana specifically remembered, “During the tech week rehearsals right before the show-they are really long and tiring-but we had amazing bonding experiences.”

Overall, the Footlights Club wowed the community with their wonderful theatrics and portrayal of Cry-baby. Considering Mr. Bryne’s performing arts expertise and the immense talent present at Monroe Township High School, the club will continue to impress with their upcoming productions planned for the fall!

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