Musical looks for luck in ‘Vegas’


Michaela Cavataio

Cast at rehearsal: Students practice for their upcoming performance. Honeymoon in Vegas has never been performed in Pittsburgh before.

For over a decade, Baldwin students participating in the school musical believed in the “Baldwin curse,” a tradition in which the spring musical was nominated for several Gene Kelly awards, but walked away with “just” one win.
It wasn’t until last year when Zorro: The Musical won Best Musical, Best Execution of Music Direction and Best Execution of Direction that the curse was finally broken.
Though many other schools would look at the idea of walking away with one Gene Kelly as a huge victory, Baldwin is determined to keep the “curse” broken with this year’s production of Honeymoon in Vegas.
Senior Robbie Miller, who plays the male lead, a Jack Singer, won Best Supporting Actor for his part in The Drowsy Chaperone his freshman year and was part of the winning team for Big Fish the following year.
“The fact that the department won three awards last year just increases the pressure,” Miller said. “All of us are ready to work 10 times harder so that we can maintain our reputation.”
As for individual wins, Miller is not worried about leaving Baldwin High School with two Gene Kellys under his belt.
“It’s not about me, it’s about the cast. Even if we don’t get nominated at all, I’m just excited to leave Baldwin on such a good note.”
Jason Coll has directed the spring musical for four years now. During this time, he has chosen many uncommon musicals to produce.
“I like producing musicals that Pittsburgh audiences have not seen yet,” Coll said. “I was very excited when I found out that the rights of this musical were available.”
As for the “Baldwin curse,” Coll is not worried.
“The awards and nominations are nice, but I tell the students that it does not matter. What’s important is the process and the experience of doing the musical.”
Junior Morgan Traud was also nominated for Best Actress as the female lead, Luisa, in Zorro: The Musical last year, and was part of the winning Big Fish cast in a supporting role in 2016.
“The nomination was one of my greatest honors,” Traud said. “I felt like my hard work paid off and it was great to have it acknowledged. If we work just as hard, we can do it again this year.”
Traud will also perform as the female lead again this year as Betsy Nolan, a woman who worries about her fiance’s commitment to their marriage. Betsy’s complex character is Traud’s favorite aspect of playing her.
“Baldwin always chooses unique shows,” Traud said. “It’s an upbeat and fun show, and it’s different from last year because it’s Vegas style.”
The performance of Honeymoon in Vegas runs April 11-14. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for students.
“Everyone will love the show,” Coll said. “It’s really funny and has amazing music. It’s a virtual trip to Vegas.”