NARAGANSETT, R.I. — Members of the Narragansett High School Theater have been busy rehearsing for next week’s East Coast premiere of a new musical exploring how teenagers face intense academic competition and the unrelenting drive to succeed.
Written earlier this year in California by David Taylor Gomes and Kyle Holmes, “Ranked” is a commentary on the academic and social pressures that teenagers face today. Set in a dystopian future, competition reaches new heights as publicized academic excellence comes to define each student’s worth.
“This story is an important one to tell,” Narragansett High School Choral Director Sarah Prickel-Kane said. “As a high school teacher, I see so many students struggling with stress, anxiety and depression, often caused by the pressure they are under as students. The message of ‘Ranked’ is that your worth is not defined by your achievements, and I think that that message is necessary for teenagers and adults all to hear.”
In the face of an intense and perverse culture of performance, protagonist Lily must come to grips with her place in the status-quo as she watches friends and enemies alike destroy themselves and each other to score their way to the top of academic leader boards.
When an impossible lie is discovered, the fate of these students’ futures hangs in the balance.
Featuring a cast of actors ranging from 14 to 18 years old, the show will be led by Natalie Portillo, Maya Carberry, Ilaria D’Andrea, Mackenzie Killilea, Selina Amargo and Charles Baer.
It promises to take the audience into the minds and hearts of high school students who are struggling to balance the ever-changing social and academic pressures that they face.
The production team for “Ranked” consists of Nick D’Amico, Rachel Benz and Prickel-Kane, and their collaboration on the project has yielded a show that the student actors say is touching and timely.
“Working on ‘Ranked’ with my dear friends as been an incredible, once in a lifetime experience,” Portillo, a sophomore, said.
“Crying together while reading over the real and raw emotions that the characters feel, and relating personally to the pressures they face made us realize that none of us are alone in feeling the weight of being a teenager today,” she said. “The emotional connection that the cast has to the show is one I’ve never experienced before.”
Performances will take place at 7 p.m. Nov. 15 and 16 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Nov. 17 in the Narragansett High School auditorium.
Anyone interested in catching the show can learn more about it by visiting www.rankedmusical.com.
General admission tickets are $12, student tickets are $7 and both may be purchased on-line at www.showtix4u.com and will also be sold at the door of each show.