WA will rock you with Queen show
Myah Bridgewater had the voice. Onuri Smith had great stage presence.
Drama teacher Sarah Bowers thought they were perfect for Warwick Academy’s musical about the popular British rock band Queen.
The only problem was the 15-year-olds weren’t entirely sure who Queen was.
A quick lesson on the group’s musical history followed.
By the end of it, both students were humming along to such hits as We Will Rock You, We Are The Champions and Bohemian Rhapsody.
“I was familiar with the songs,” Onuri said. “I just didn’t know who sang them.”
He and Myah play pals Galileo and Scaramouche in We Will Rock You, a comedy set in the future, where music has been banned.
The pair are members of a rebellious group who escape from the clutches of Killer Queen and go on a hunt for the instruments she has hidden.
Friends for almost five years, the teenagers are thrilled to have been cast in the lead roles together.
“We met in a Gilbert & Sullivan drama camp run by Daniel Frith,” Onuri said.
“We’ve been friends since then, and have worked on a number of Gilbert & Sullivan productions together.
“We were in Annie last month — I was Burt Healey.
“We were also in Magic of the Musicals and the Wizard of Oz.
“I love this show, the music is so good and the whole cast is having a blast.
“Myah and I are having a fantastic time working on it. We have spent about seven hours a week in rehearsals, since school began, and have got to know each other even better.
“She is very focused and funny and we enjoy each other’s company.
“We are also in the same year group and take most of the same classes so we know each other pretty well.”
A Queen fan since childhood, Ms Bowers thought the timing was right for Warwick Academy to put on the 2002 Ben Elton musical.
Bohemian Rhapsody, a movie about Queen’s lead singer Freddie Mercury, was released this month. Interest has been high, the film has so far grossed $286 million worldwide.
“I never thought I would like rock music,” Myah said. “That’s just not my thing. I like pop and current stuff. I think Under Pressure is my favourite song. Onuri and I sing it as a duet in the musical.”
Many of the songs are tough to perform because of their tempo and rhythm, she added.
“When I was listening to the soundtrack I was thinking, a high school is going to do this?” Myah said.
“But we are pulling it off. I was nervous for all the things we had to sing. The hardest part was learning the music and memorising the lines.”
Bohemian Rhapsody was the song that Onuri found most challenging.
Originally released in 1977, it was given new life through the 1992 hit film Wayne’s World.
“I do like it,” he said. “It is different from what I have heard.
“It seems more like a collection of songs put together. It has a unique dynamic.”
He and Myah are both passionate about musical theatre, insisting they want to study it in college.
“First, I want to perform to get some experience,” Myah said.
“Either it will be on Broadway or in a professional theatre company.
“Then I want to come back to Bermuda to give back to the community.
“I’d like to start my own performing arts school to provide opportunities for youngsters in Bermuda interested in musical theatre.”
In her brief acting career she’s most proud of being named Best Supporting Actress last year.
The accolade followed a role in the musical Chicago at Stagedoor Manor, a performing arts camp in Loch Sheldrake, New York.
“I was chosen from a lot of other youngsters,” she said. “I was up against 18-year-olds.
“There are so many kids at these camps they put on eight different musicals each summer.”
Onuri said he was most proud of his work in Annie.
“Most 15-year-olds don’t get to play a role like that,” he said.
He wants to get as much knowledge as possible about performing arts before he decides which area to specialise in.
“I feel like I am really creative, so I have different ideas that other people might not have,” he said. “I also like film and things like that.”
Fifty students are involved in We Will Rock You — a large cast for Warwick Academy.
“My biggest ambition is just to get them on stage and to have some fun,” Ms Bowers said.
“It is about trying to get as many people involved as possible. I want to show them that drama can be fun and give them a bit of confidence.
“A love of Queen would also be good.”
• We Will Rock You runs at Warwick Academy November 29 and 30 at 7pm and December 1 at 1pm. Tickets are $25. A dinner will accompany the final show, at 6.30pm on December 1. Tickets are $75. Buy tickets on 239-9456 or from the school office
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