Musical match-up

Wylie high schools host theatre shows same weekend


photo credit Addie Orr

Fit the bill // While both shows were thoroughly entertaining, East’s production of Little Shop of Horrors stole the show compared to High’s Newsies. Both shows took place the weekend of Jan. 18.

writer Addie Orr, Editor in Chief

The weekend saw both Wylie ISD high schools putting on their musicals, with East putting on a thrilling portrayal of Little Shop of Horrors, and High doing the Disney classic, Newsies. With both shows occurring the same weekend, it raises the question: which one was better? While both shows have their strengths and weaknesses, Little Shop ultimately prevails as the better show. Why? Let’s break it down. Though, I may be a bit biased, due to my brother being in the show and East being my school. However, by breaking it down into categories, I can judge based off of merit, not my own personal favoritism.

Set design

Both shows blew me out of the water with their set design and overall production value. East’s Little Shop utilized a rotating shop, taking you outside and inside of Mushnik’s Flower Shop, a dentist office and Skid Row. Each miniscule detail is clearly thought out and, as the set changes throughout the show, the audience is never bored looking at it. The set, used in conjunction with an ever-changing screen, brilliantly sets the scene and conveys the mood of the entire show. Meanwhile, High’s Newsies uses the same general set throughout the duration of the show, adding and taking away pieces as well as an occasionally changing background projection to create offices, a theatre and the streets of New York City. This method is effective and seamless, but due to Little Shop’s set being more thoroughly integrated into the show, they take the win in this category.

The solos were emotional, poignant and didn’t feel out of range for any of the actors. Therefore, Little Shop hit the highest note in the singing category.”

— Addie Orr, copy editor

Audience Interaction

As a general rule of thumb, you want a theatre production to transport you to a different world. Newsies did this brilliantly, with newsies dancing up and down the aisles and making the real audience the in-show audience for a theatre show within the show, calling out real audience members and making them feel included. Little Shop, while it occasionally ventured beyond the stage in the opening number and the finale, made you feel like a fly on the wall, simply watching the events unfold, rather than making the audience feel as if they were a part of the show as Newsies did.


One of the most important parts of any musical is the music, and this is where the real divide came between the shows. During Newsies, many of the songs sounded strained and exhausting with timing errors and voice cracks galore. With the exception of “Watch What Happens,” and “The Bottom Line,” the solos were almost a struggle to listen to. On the other hand, Little Shop sounded nearly effortless, with each song being natural, brilliant, funny and entertaining. The solos were emotional, poignant and didn’t feel out of range for any of the actors. Therefore, Little Shop hit the highest note in this category.


The overall sound effects of a show can set the entire mood of the audience. The right sound at the right time can take the audience into the show. With Mr. Levi Turner at the soundboard, Little Shop sounded fantastic, with every sound spot on. Similarly, the sounds of Newsies set the scene brilliantly, with the added bonus of a live band to take it up a notch. Just for that added level of difficulty and execution, Newsies wins this category.


Nearly every musical ever created has at least one dance number in it, with actors putting in their all to dance while singing. As a dancer myself, I tend to know when choreography and execution are good or not. High took on an ambitious task when they chose Newsies, a notoriously hard dance-filled musical, and unfortunately, they did not rise to the occasion. With memory and timing mistakes galore, it was not good from a non-dancer perspective and even worse from a dancer and musical lover perspective. However, one thing to note is that the choreography was entirely done by students. Meanwhile, Little Shop took less of a risk, with simple yet stunning choreography, done by dance teacher Mrs. Stephanie Jackson, that was meticulously cleaned and flawlessly woven into the show. It felt natural, conveying the emotion of each character brilliantly. With the added challenge of puppeting multiple plants in time with the music and voice of the plant, Little Shop’s attention to detail wins this category.


Believable acting is essential to the overall story telling of the show. Little Shop’s acting was brilliant, with freshman Elbert Haney looking and sounding exactly like Rick Moranis had walked out of the classic 1986 movie and onto the stage. The dentist, portrayed by junior Maverick Herrera was brilliantly despicable, making you laugh, feel disgusted, and generally entertained. Each supporting actor lived and breathed their role, making Skid Row come alive. Similarly, many of the newsies stayed completely engaged in the scene, traveling back to 1899. However, Little Shop’s acting transported you to Mushnik’s Skid Row Flower Shop, while Newsies still felt like a play, entertaining, but not transforming. Therefore, Little Shop wins yet again.

While both schools put on a spectacular performance, East’s Little Shop of Horrors was the overall better show, putting the audience right on the streets of Skid Row. Both shows took the opportunity to ‘Seize the Day’ and transport Wylie ‘Downtown’.