PHOTO: Actors rehearse the musical “Again” at Brentwood High School. / Photo courtesy of Callie Hilgenhurst
By MATT BLOIS
A senior at Brentwood High School has written and directed an original musical that will premiere at the school on December 21.
Callie Hilgenhurst has been working on the project called “Again” for about two years. She wrote the script, directed the show, worked as the music director and helped build the set, all while she was a full-time high school student. She’s co-directing the show with Tyler Worden.
The musical tells the story of a young woman who walks into an antique shop and finds a magnifying glass that shows the history behind the antiques. Hilgenhurst said the protagonist, Maggie, tends to be selfish, but doesn’t recognize her own faults.
The magnifying glass reveals the people connected to antiques in the shop, and they tell Maggie their stories.
“They make a mistake or they do something wrong in their lives that affects the people around them and they finally learn, and Maggie tries to learn from that,” Hilgenhurst said. “There’s a lot of twists and turns and lot of different characters that all come together through her.”
This is the first musical that Hilgenhurst has written and it’s also her first time directing a show. She came up for the idea behind the show after she found a real magnifying glass while browsing an antique shop with a friend.
“I said, imagine all the history behind this. Imagine the stories it could tell if it had words,” she said. “I thought, maybe it can have words. So I put the words into it.”
She thought about writing it as a play, but decided to make a musical instead because “music tells stories that words can’t.” The music features violin, cello and piano. She described the music as contemporary and experimental.
Each character connected to an antique represents one of the seven deadly sins. Hilgenhurst said one of her favorite characters represents sloth. The character can’t make important choices in her life and often makes excuses for her indecisiveness.
“Maggie has to watch her make these really sad mistakes,” she said. “We laugh at her because we don’t realize that we’re all like that in some ways.”
She said the hardest part of writing a musical was translating the story from her head onto the page. She said she’s best at coming up with the big ideas, but writing converting that into specific scenes can be difficult.
Hilgenhurst considers herself primarily a writer and plans to study creative writing in college next year.
The show runs about an hour and a half and has a cast of about 13 people. The show premieres at 7 p.m. on December 21 at Brentwood Performing Arts Center at Brentwood High School. There is a second show at 7 p.m. on December 22.
Following the show at Brentwood High School, Hilgenhurst hopes she can bring the show to other theaters as well.