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Victoria High School theatre crew tackles social commentary of Ranked

Running March 9 to 12 at Esquimalt High theatre, story explores themes of privilege around academics

Victoria High School’s theatre department will be the first to bring Ranked, The Musical to Greater Victoria, when it debuts at the Esquimalt High theatre, March 9 through 12.

The pop-rock musical was written in 2019 by U.S. playwrights David Taylor Gomes and Kyles Holmes as a commentary on that year’s college admission scandal, where wealthy families were found to have bribed their children into several top universities.

The show’s leads, Sidney, Lily, John, Jordan, Ryan and Alexis (portrayed by 10th through 12th graders Isla Fairbairn, Saidi Mader, Charlotte Harrison-Edge, Vincent Scholefield, Tobin Hocking and Olivia Walasek, respectively) live in a “dystopian” world where academic success determines every facet of life.

When Lily, a sophomore, risks losing her ranked status, she repairs for “Rank Redemption;” a humiliating public performance of academic excellence, where students compete to be deemed worthy as “Ranked.” Over two acts, the 32 Victoria High School actors and 43 support members will explore themes of bullying, family complications, power, privilege and equity in the public school system. The music is closer to that heard on the radio than on Broadway said Kim Sholinder, musical theatre, drama and English teacher at Victoria High School.

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“People are used to high schools choosing the kinds of shows they recognize,” Sholinder said, citing Grease, Bye Bye Birdie or Music Man. “Vic High is really fortunate that we have a really strong parent community who are really strong advocates of social justice and opening a dialogue. Vic High students are so eager to take on the challenge of a show that tackles some hard-hitting social justice issues.

The production has made several adaptions for challenges presented by the COVID, Sholinder said. “We expect a high level of commitment from students when they’re participating in musical theatre, but you have to be flexible when there’s an ongoing illness … so production’s been slower than usual with a really tight timeline for production,” she said. Rehearsals began in October.

Although Friday and Saturday’s shows are already sold out under a pandemic capacity of around 100, tickets for the Wednesday and Thursday shows may still be available at Showtix4u webpage or by calling the school at 250-388-5456.


Do you have a story tip? Email: kiernan.green@blackpress.ca.

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