“From left to right, Sophomore Ray Huffman, Senior Nia Buchannon, Senior Naomi Manson, and Junior Conner Beierle rocking out in Roger Bacon’sWe Will Rock You School Edition.” Photo courtesy of Kelly Krebs.
Review by Lizzy Rebber, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
Rebellious freedom, the power of unconventionality, and the spirit of rock was expertly showcased through the talented cast of Roger Bacon's We Will Rock You.
Merging the songs of rock band Queen into a jukebox musical about individuality in a society of conformity, We Will Rock You is set 300 years in a dystopian future dictated by Killer Queen, where creativity is banned. Galileo Figaro refuses to follow the status-quo and meets Scaramouche, who holds the same disdain for the authoritarian society they live in. Galileo and Scaramouche join the Bohemians in the rebellion against Killer Queen to regain freedom with the power of rock and roll.
With music in his heart, and the vocals to back it up, Ray Huffman took the role of Galileo Figaro and rocked it. Through an incredibly genuine performance, Huffman was able to showcase his talents as an incredible performer and vocalist with a compelling message about the desire to break free from a strict society, and a demonstration of the beauty of being different.
Combining strength of mind, vocal power, and determination, Zoe Nienaber was wickedly passionate in her portrayal of Killer Queen. Nienaber was able to show that she truly was the brightest star through outstanding presence and performances in show-stopping songs such as "Don't Stop Me Now." Completing the villainous duo was Commander Khashoggi played by Colleen Woeste. Through moments of expertly timed comedy, and strong vocals, they were able to exhibit their marvelous talents as a performer.
Together, Nienaber and Woeste created a powerful commentary on the controlling role of social media through the help of film and projections crew: Jack Geers, Jacob Burdett, and Caden Broenner. Using a wireless camera system, the crew would follow around Killer Queen and Commander Khashoggi, projecting their message to the many screens onstage, creating a feeling of a dominating force, always being seen and heard, much like the influential feeling of social media.
All projections coordinated beautifully with light crew in order to keep both to the concert-like and futuristic atmosphere of the production. Integrating bright jets of light, lasers and excellent use of follow spots through near-constant movement, Anthony Mechley was able to amplify the impact of the entire production through his exceptional lighting design.
Roger Bacon's We Will Rock You is an anthem for the outcasts and the forgotten, emphasizing unity and empowerment through the unique differences of humanity, in a striking production from a vocal, performance, and technical perspective, worthy of a standing ovation.
“’We are the champions… of the world!’ Sophomore Ray Huffman and the ensemble cast of Roger Bacon’sWe Will Rock You School Edition.” Photo courtesy of Kelly Krebs.
Review by Loretta Rubin, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
Feel "the vibes, man," with Roger Bacon High School's production of We Will Rock You.
The show takes place on earth, which has been renamed iPlanet, 300 years in the future when musical instruments are banned, and the only music allowed is generated by artificial intelligence. In this dystopian world, two young rebels and a group of bohemians with recognizable names, embark on a quest to bring back rock ‘n roll and defeat the evil Killer Queen. Roger Bacon High School's production of this jukebox musical was bursting with energy and spirit. They cohesively brought together the music of Queen with the sci-fi setting and put on a show that made the audience stand up and clap.
Ray Huffman played the angsty young rebel Galileo Figaro, whose magnetic stage presence was evident from his very first note in "I Want to Break Free," which he belted out in true rock star fashion. Scaramouche, played by Nia Buchannon, brought a down-to-earth element to the show and she and Galileo played off each other's energy adeptly in a dynamic performance that was uniquely captivating. Her vocals rocked the house, especially in her renditions of "Somebody to Love," and "Under Pressure," her duet with Galileo.
Zoe Nienaber was fully committed to the role of Killer Queen, and she owned every minute she was on stage with her powerful voice and mannerisms. Her rendition of "Another One Bites the Dust" was particularly frightening, and her right-hand man, Colleen Woeste's Commander Khashoggi, was a formidable comedic force. The lovable bohemian <Brit<cq>, played by Conner Beierle, was a perfect blend of soulful and comedic, and his duet "I Want it All" with his girlfriend Oz, played by Naomi Manson, displayed this perfectly. Casey Lanser showed off not just his acting and vocal talent as Buddy, but his guitar skills as well, playing in the house band as well as on stage. The energy of the whole cast was turned up to eleven for the entire musical, and without this relentless spirit, the musical wouldn't have been the brilliant spectacle it proved itself to be.
Lighting, by Anthony Mechley, Anna Kenny, Jack Hudgens, and Mina Mader; was designed to make the show feel like a rock concert and set the tone with multi-colored lights built into the stage. The futuristic hair and makeup, by Maria Buerger, <cq>Makalyn Bruer, and Libby Neal was an incredible addition to the show, particularly Commander Khashoggi's three buns and the Killer Queen's, magnificent eye-makeup.
A powerful tribute to rock n' roll, Roger Bacon High School's We Will Rock You made everyone stand up and stomp their feet.
“Senior Colleen Woeste as Commander Khashoggi, belting out the hits of QUEEN in Roger Bacon’sWe Will Rock You School Edition.” Photo courtesy of Kelly Krebs.
Review by Norah Shadwell, Highlands High School Critic Team
Strobing lights, metallic costumes, and a thundering band all join together to showcase the music of Queen in a shocking and hilarious musical. Roger Bacon High School's We Will Rock You is a concert of timeless hits accompanied by lovable characters, fun choreography, and physical comedy.
Galileo lives in a world where the creative visionaries of the past have been forgotten, and only AI generated music remains. Gal thinks that the lost lyrics in his head make him crazy until he meets a girl like him.Together, they join the Bohemians, a rebellious group that plans to take down Killer Queen and her minions and share rock and roll with the world.
The cast utilized several levels of the theater to provide different perspectives. Many characters as well as the band broke the fourth wall, which allowed for audience participation and a more immersive experience.
Ray Huffman performed powerful vocals as Galileo Figaro. Huffman took on the challenge of high registers in songs like "I Want to Break Free" and "We Will Rock You" and succeeded with grace and distinguished timbre. Nia Buchannon as Scaramouche beautifully harmonized with Huffman in the songs "Under Pressure" and "Who Wants to Live Forever" as well as established their own tremendous talent in "Somebody to Love."
Zoe Nienaber and Colleen Woeste are wickedly playful in their roles as Killer Queen and Commander Khashoggi, respectively. Both cast members played off of each others' character choices and had great physicality in songs like "Another One Bites The Dust" and "A Kind of Magic."
The intricate lights throughout the show, designed and cued by Anthony Mechley, Anna Kenny, Jack Hudgens, and Mina Mader, add an extra level of artistry to scenes. Transitions between light cues were precise, from the clap of the ensemble to swirling gobos painting the ceiling with neon colors. Costume team Raelynn Chesher, Melissa Howard, Joey Hutzel, India Nichols, and Amanda Penson took their design to the next level by showing distinct contrast between the futuristic attire of the Ga Ga Kids and the loose retro clothing of the Bohemians.
Roger Bacon High School's We Will Rock You took some of the world's most iconic music and made an experience like nothing ever before. The vibrant musicality of the cast, creativity of the crew, and radiating happiness of everyone involved made this production the true champion.
“Senior Zoe Nienaber as the Killer Queen, ruling over her future-world corporation, in Roger Bacon’sWe Will Rock You School Edition.” Photo courtesy of RB student, Cecilia Rice Publicity Crew.
Excerpts From Other Top Reviews
"Casey Lanser showed off his vocals, acting, and virtuoso as Buddy. His ability to flip from playing the funny and passionate character to playing guitar in the orchestra was incredible, and he was able to demonstrate those talents on stage in 'These Are The Days Of Our Lives.' "
-Ryan Peerless, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
"Living up to the Queen himself, Freddie Mercury, is no easy task. However, Ray Huffman as Galileo, and Nia Buchannon as Scaramouche, belted the tunes of Queen with the passion of true rockers. Huffman's portrayal of Galileo as a lost soul with a dream made for an inspiring display of hope, and Buchannon brought life to the spunky Scaramouche, developing the character in such a natural way without ever losing her individuality."
-Wolf Singer, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
"With such strong commentary on the destructiveness of social media, publicity crew for the show (led by Cecilia Rice, Agatha Horstman, and Kameron Kerl) walked a thin line between staying true to the show's messaging but still marketing the show. This balance was achieved through their instagram posts themed as an online magazine as well as small touches like VHS themed tickets. During the performance, lighting designers Anthony Mechley, Anna Kenny, Jack Hudgens, and Mina Mader collaborated with special effects designers Jack Geers, Caden Broenner, and Jacob Burdett to create an immersive environment by the operation of spotlights and a functional videocamera broadcasted live on stage."
-Samantha Heilman, Highlands High School Critic Team
"The ensemble of We Will Rock You displayed contrast in their portrayals of loyalist Yuppies and rebel Bohemians. Their energetic and well-executed dance numbers heavily supported the plot, and complemented, but never competed with, the work of lead actors."
Katie Berich, Walnut Hills High School Critic Team
"In addition, the supporting cast also included many impressive performances, such as Connor Beierle as Britney Spears. With an obvious talent for comedy, Beierle was constantly the cause of laughter with his exaggerated movements and impeccable line delivery. His dedication to this flamboyant, loveable character made Brit <cq> stand out as a true Bohemian and rock star."
-Jessica Roell, Mercy McAuley High School Critic Team
"The costumes were phenomenal in putting the characters' personalities in physical form, as seen in the colourful, unique, grunge-inspired Bohemian costumes versus the holographic, minimalistic, symmetric GaGa Kids. They were versatile and helped show contrast between the two groups on a higher level."
-Aubree Hannah, Randall K. Cooper High School Critic Team
"This electrifying show is a tough one to tackle with its powerful vocals and challenging stage presence requirements, but Roger Bacon High School tackled it with grace, leading to a stunning production full of comedy, fun, and most importantly, rock!"
-Ashlyn Fuhrmann, William Henry Harrison High School Critic Team