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Spotlight on Lights

Madison students raise money for lights for the spring musical "Chicago."

As part of James Madison High School's effort to put on "Chicago" as its spring musical, technical theater students are working to have an impressive lights display. Students have been raising funds to rent a sophisticated, programmable light system and a board full of lightbulbs that gives the feel of 1920s Chicago.

For the $1,500 needed, students have raised $955 through a car wash and a raffle. The drama boosters — their parents — have also helped with fundraising.

"We're getting pretty close, but we still need to get to that peak," said senior Keven Powell, who's part of the lighting design team for the show.

Madison will be the first school in Virginia to stage "Chicago." The buzz for "Chicago" is there — 72 student reviewers are coming on Cappies night, as opposed to the usual 15.

"We really want it to be good," Powell said.

For the students working on the production, "Chicago" is a challenge they're looking forward to. Students are in charge of lighting, sound and costume design, as well as working during the production as stage managers or running crew. Most of the work — the design, the construction — is done outside of class time. Students say they like working backstage because it provides them with a lot responsibility and allows them to be creative.

"It has more world challenges, as far as shows go," said senior and sound designer Alex Thomas, on "Chicago."

Stage manager Stephanie Junkin agreed, "You can look at a show and say, I did that."

For more information about the production and the next fundraiser for the lighting system, go to www.madisondrama.com. "Chicago" runs May 1-3.