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    Jasmine Jagan, Mumma Morton, Emma Blackie, Roxy, Imogene Tonks, Velma, Nick McInnes, Billy and Luka Leskarac, Amos in Marian College's production of Chicago.
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    AND ALL THAT JAZZ: Ararat Marian College students rehearse for their upcoming production ‘Chicago’ at Ararat Town Hall from August 15 to 17. Imogene Tonks, front, is playing lead character Velma Kelly. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER
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    Imogene Tonks plays Velma in Marian College production of Chicago.
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    Imogene Tonks plays Velma in Marian College production of Chicago.
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    Marian College rehearsal for Chicago.

Marian College's Chicago a ‘Triple-threat’ production

By Lotte Reiter

Ararat’s Marian College students are preparing to showcase some of the ‘ol’ razzle dazzle’ in their upcoming production.

From August 15 to 17, 24 cast members will step on stage at Ararat Town Hall and back in time to the 1920s’ Jazz Age in ‘Chicago’.

Head of arts and director Teresa Tonks said beside a well-written script and iconic music, Chicago was an exciting show for the college because it diverged from ‘an often male-orientated’ musical theatre.

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“Chicago is really exciting because we have females front and centre,” she said.

“There are two main lead female roles, played by Emma Blackie and Imogene Tonks, and they are triple-threat roles for both the girls, because they are singing, dancing and acting.

“And because Chicago is from the true perspective of women, it’s really interesting and relevant to today, especially with the Me Too movement. 

“These women are real people and they are given a certain type of monologue that I think was really innovative for the time it was written.”

Alongside Imogene and Emma, playing Velma and Roxie respectively, are students Jasmine Jagan as Mumma Morton, Nick McInnes as Billy and Luka Leskarac as Amos.

Mrs Tonks said casting students for Chicago was quite challenging because of a high level of talent and student interest, including that of her daughter. 

“We had five or six students who were really qualified for the two lead female roles. There was a lot of interest,” she said.

“And because Imogene is my daughter, I actually had to record the auditions and send them off to other people and say ‘tell me what you think’ so I wasn’t biased.

“But Imogene has really impressed me, and she wants to make the role her own, which I think is very admirable.”

Mrs Tonks said musical theatre was ‘a different type of fun’ for students and helps them to develop and grow as individuals and as a group.

“I recently spoke to one mother who has had her sons participate in the musicals and she said it was the best the boys have done at this school, that it had transformed them,” she said.

“They learn team and life-skills, and ways to deal with the pressure of performance. 

“For the students who participate in the productions, they realise how fun it is, and they get addicted.”

Emma said she had been involved in all of the college’s shows since year seven. 

Chicago, however, would be her ‘first proper lead role’.

She said she felt a mix of excitement and nerves as the final weeks of rehearsal approached.

“It’s a bit nerve-wracking because I don’t really have much experience in singing,” she said. “But it has been fun to learn along the way.”

People can book a seat for the show online at or by calling the college on 5352 3861.

The entire August 7, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!