A show NHS needed

Noelle Escalante and Erin Tsai

Students greet each other at the door with hugs and sit down in their seats. As the house lights dim and silhouettes of the performers appear on stage, the ambient sounds of the musical pit fill the auditorium. Northwood opened its first in-theater musical in two years, bringing in nightly audiences from Jan. 11-14.
“The Theory of Relativity” is a modern-formatted musical, intertwining different storylines that depict topics such as grief, love, addiction, disorders and the effects of divorce: all themes that resonate with young adults. In contrast to past Northwood high energy and comedic musicals such as “Mamma Mia” or “Shrek,” this niche, contemporary musical was a refreshing choice. The lack of stage props and simple set design created an intimate setting, further focusing on the characters that the cast crafted.
“​​That has made the entire environment of the musical drastically different from what it has been in the past because everyone is so driven and passionate to fully experience and enhance the show, as seen through everyone’s hard work,” cast member senior Aditi Sreenivas said. “We all are so much more connected because now we understand the importance of being with each other and creating something bigger than ourselves together.”
The delivery of the final monologue was goosebump-inducing in the best way possible as the audience realized just how the seemingly unrelated characters connected with each other.
Since these characters are not as well known, the audience came in without any specific expectations, allowing cast members to build their own world and backstory around their character.
“My character was really tricky because of how universal his experience was,” cast member junior Isaac Lee said. “So I had to add specifics to his background, starting small with what his house looks like and his style, later leading up to what he really wanted in life.”
It was especially nice to see depictions of children of immigrant parents and those struggling with personal identity on stage, providing diversity that appealed to parents and students alike. Although crowds were smaller than in previous years, the opportunity to view a live performance in theaters was a refreshing reminder of what we lost during the pandemic. Spectators and performers alike left the theater with a renewed appreciation for the hardships of life.
“Although I’m a new student at Northwood this year, it felt super meaningful and important to be able to participate in this musical,” cast member junior Elena Higuchi said. “Everyone was so passionate about being a part of this and the excitement was there.”
A twisted retelling of the classic Cinderella fairy tale, Northwood’s next production, “Ash Girl,” debuts March 22.