Applause for Amélie

Drama department opens with imaginative and emotional production


photo by Chloe Parker

Throughout the play, there are many emotional moments which can be heard through the voices and movements of the actors. Perhaps one of the most beautiful scenes is towards the end. This is when Amelie and Nino reunite and captivate the audience with their captivating performance. “The play has some very moving moments because it’s about a little girl who is very introverted and went through a lot of different traumatizing events in her life,” Moore said. “However, it’s all told through a very whimsical manner so you don’t leave feeling like ‘oh gosh that was really rough”, and has a beautiful, happy ending.”

Chloe Parker, Staff Reporter

This past week, from October 10th to the 13th, the Millard West Drama department performed the Broadway musical Amélie

Based on the 2001 romantic comedy film, this musical follows the story of Amélie Poulain, played by senior Chloe Moore, a young woman who struggles to connect with other adults her age, due to her overactive imagination. She is a shy, introverted girl who throughout the story, must learn to break out of her shell and connect with others. This is done, following the death of Princess Diana, when Amélie decides to commit herself to helping others and perform good deeds anonymously. 

However, she one day bumps into Nino, played by senior Nicholas Bruegman, whose book of discarded photobooth photos, ends up in Amélie’s possession. This single interaction leads to numerous other events and interesting encounters throughout the play as Amélie struggles to muster the courage to return Nino’s book. 

“The show itself is very unique,” stage manager Eddison Geiler said. “The music is very different compared to other productions, and is less in your face and focuses more on the sweeter moments. The music also lends itself to the larger moments that take place in her imagination, which helps make it more of a comedy.”

In order to make this production a success, work began during the last two weeks of May, starting with auditions and a cast and crew meeting. Things then took off from there with the main focus of July being perfecting vocals and music. 

“I play the main part of Amelie, so I have a large role to fill when it comes to the musical,” Moore said. “She [Millard West Drama Department director Brooke Phillips] talks about how the overlying ark of my character development plays into to the believability of the story, so I think I carry a lot of weight to make sure the audience receives the story as it should be.” 

However, this production hasn’t all been smooth sailing. The various set changes and challenging music have required a tremendous amount of effort and commitment from those involved in the drama department. There is also a challenge that comes with attendance and commitment when the production calls for such a large cast.

“One of the challenges that come with a large scale musical like this is keeping everyone in order,” junior Cloey Gray said. “It’s hard to function when we have people who are absent because it creates “holes” in the production that are really hard to fill.”

In addition to these challenges, actors have also had to master the lines and actions of their character in order to deliver the best possible performance to audiences. 

“I think the biggest challenge with this musical is the fact that all of the characters are so bold and very over-animated and they are supposed to be kind of obscure,” Moore said. “However, the actor must also portray a story that’s believable and something the audience will connect with, so we’ve had a lot of focus going toward our characters specifically to make sure they come across in the right way.”

In the past week, the drama department has had numerous opportunities to display their hard work and talent to the public. The preview this past Wednesday gave students and staff a glimpse of the show and the shows following allowed the parents, and public, to see this imaginative, bold and captivating production.