Pop twist on a Jane Austen classic

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The performance of "Emma: A Pop Musical" at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax April 8-10 brought to stage a bubbly, playful retelling of Jane Austen's Emma. The musical featured adapted pop songs by popular female artists including Shania Twain, Cyndi Lauper and Sara Bareilles.

Senior Abigail Rozmajzl, junior Caleigh Davis and sophomore Grace Tecala played the female leads. Rozmajzl's performance as Emma was relatable and charismatic, while Tecala showed equal talent and polish as the rebellious Jane Fairfax.

As Harriet, Emma's matchmaking "project," Davis was one of the standout performers. Her voice carried both energy and professionalism, talent and eagerness.

Although "Emma" relied heavily on its female characters, no teen musical about matchmaking would be complete without some appropriately attractive heartthrobs. Junior Stephen Artner portrayed Jeff Knightley, the musical's sweet, vaguely nerdy offering; junior Nathaniel Smith, was the flirtatious, edgy pop star Frankie Churchill, who returns to Highbury Prep; and junior Andrew Conley gave janitor and public school student Martin an endearing flair as Harriet's love interest.

The true key to the success of "Emma" was the show's ambiance. An architecturally stunning set featuring several arches, moving platforms and sliding walls was designed by junior Robert Kelleher, who also played Phillip Elton, the show's conniving antagonist. The set took students and parents about 10 weeks to build and proved to be the cornerstone of the musical's grandeur.

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2016