Kelly Critic Review: '42nd Street,' West Allegheny High School

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All right, let's create a musical together. You and I will add in the necessary parts, and we will see what we can come up with.

To begin, we need to make sure that we have a place to perform. I believe that West Allegheny has an artistic and creative directing staff. They also have a beautiful auditorium. Let's plan to have the show there.

Next, we need a story. Everyone loves the story of the plucky young girl looking to strike it big in show business. Let's name her . . . Peggy Sawyer! That is a good one -- "Peggy" sounds so all-American and Sawyer is just the right Mark Twain touch. Everyone will cheer when she is offered a place in our musical and cheer even louder when the girl is cast as the lead! Everyone loves a feel-good. We should make sure that the girl falls in love with her producer and together the two of them save the show. I think we should call the production "42nd Street."

After that, we need a lead. Perhaps someone as talented as West Allegheny senior Shannon Lisowski can play the plucky young Peggy Sawyer. Her energy, grace, tap dancing and strong voice will make her a joy to watch on stage. I am sure that her expertise in all forms of dance and rich timbre of her voice will ensure a performance to remember.

Next, we need to make sure we have a lot of catchy tunes. I am sure that West Allegheny's talented student orchestra will show that they are capable to play with swinging beats and a high level of musicality.

Everyone loves a great chorus line. The dozens of talented young girls in the cast will make jaws drop. We need to make sure that the curtains open with dozens of tap-shoe clad feet doing hundreds of steps to create the shock and awe necessary to draw in an audience.

But we cannot forget to add color! We must make sure that our stage is decadent with color, from the cutesy costumes to the elaborate sets to the bright lighting.

However, I think it is important for the boys in the show to be comfortable on stage while dancing, to convey the ease of musical theater stars.

Our choreography must be fantastic! Our show will have near-professional quality dancing routines, and a talented cast to pull it off! The dance troupe must be ready to perform every step, tap and twirl that the audience can think of, and then some. Won't the audience be excited to watch sophomore Ryan Borgo as Billy Lawler doing flips and spins while singing elaborate numbers?

All right, I think we have found the recipe for the perfect show.

And wouldn't you know, all of these predictions came true to bring to life the high school musical of the year.

Meg Omecene was the winner of the Kelly Critic Award for 2011.

The Kelly Critics is a joint program of the Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musicals, in which students at Kelly schools review musicals at other Kelly schools. Reviews are edited by senior theater critic Christopher Rawson (, a long-time Kelly Awards judge.



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