Chaplin: The Musical is as Great as the Actor it Portrays


Senior AJ Morales plays the title character in Chaplin.

Dayanara Tinajero, Staff Writer

University’s musical theater class debuted their performances of Chaplin: the Musical, their third show of the school year, last week. 

    Chaplin is about the real-life Charlie Chaplin who was America’s most famous silent film star. The show follows him throughout his life, highlighting the ups and downs of his amazing career. From his impoverished childhood to moving to the United States and becoming the iconic character of the Tramp, his downfall and exile from America, and ultimate redemption, the show beautifully covers Chaplin’s life and art.

  The musical was directed by Mr. Alex Mendez, who chose the script.  “The show kind of fell on my lap when I was watching clips of different Broadway shows,” said Mendez.   

   Because Chaplin takes place in the silent film era, the design was entirely in black and white, from clothing and makeup, to set design. The black-and-white combo was something new for the cast and crew, but they were very excited to take on this new challenge. “I thought it would be challenging for designs, makeup, and costumes. Instead of catching the audience’s attention with color, we have to grab it by our talents, our voices and characteristics,” said junior Addison Dewaal, who played Usher in the production.

      The setting for Chaplin goes from early 20th century London all the way through the 1970s, which required further preparation for the actors, who needed to physically age and speak with regional accents. “My character has a natural cockney accent, so we have a dialect coach,” said junior Javian Rodiguez who played Alf Reeves. 

      Senior AJ Morales, who played Chaplin, loved everything about the process, having to embody Charlie, playing the Tramp, and all the historical elements he had to research. “Everything about it felt fresh. I got to play a real person, and speak in a British accent, something I’ve never done,” Morales said. 

      Chaplin was wonderfully executed and enjoyed by those who attended the show. “Just seeing every little section start to come together really is inspiring because you go from nothing, to people doing random things, to creating an actual show,” said the production stage manager senior Faith McFarland.