Relationships Over Ranks - Recapping "Ranked: A Musical"
Each year, the Upper School puts on a show of epic proportions (did you catch Macbeth last year?), and this year was no exception! Returning to a fall musical after a hiatus due to COVID-19, Mr. Farwell and the wonderful production team at TAS rallied nearly over 100 students to the stage, backstage, the technical booth, and the orchestra pit, to put on an incredible show.
As Emily W. '25, who perfected her role of Sydney, told us, “Being part of Ranked was an experience I wouldn’t have given up for anything. From turning into a completely new character to embracing a part of me that I’ve never seen before, and making relationships both onstage and off stage, every second was worth the 3-month wait. I loved being on stage and capturing the essence of the audience while giving them the energy straight back.”
Ranked follows friends and families in a dystopian world, where your school ranking is the most important thing in their lives. One's university, job prospects, and status in life are all determined by high school grades, and this has students at Ranked Academy tearing themselves and one another apart to perform. From high anxiety to betrayal, students in Ranked Academy suffer under the pressure of performing until one day... The ranking system is paused after a scandal is uncovered: parents were paying for higher ranks!
The message wasn’t lost on the cast. Jolie C. '24, who wowed as overachiever Alexis, remarked, “Ranked was such an important show for TAS to do, I think; some topics, like academic stress and toxic competition, really hit home for everyone. Ranked, and more importantly, Alexis, taught me to take a step back from toxic perfectionism, to put my mental health first, and to just... take a minute and breathe. We created something really special that I'll hold dear to my heart forever.”
Moya B. '25, who expertly took on the lead role of Lily, agreed, “I can confidently say that the message behind Ranked hit home in most of the actors who were overwhelmed with the pressures of school and everyday life. Yet we created a family and a support system for each other which truly showed in our performances by how comfortable we were together and through the energy we shared on stage.”
The characters take an emotional journey through trying to understand themselves, their friendships, and even the beginnings of young love as they try to understand what ranks truly mean if they can be bought and sold. A commentary on the impact of socio-economic status and the myth of meritocracy, the students put their enthusiasm for this important topic into their song and dance. We won't spoil the ending for you, but one thing is for sure: audiences left the Guy Lott Jr. Auditorium talking!
It was an intensive process, but the bonds and experiences our students had with one another and the audience will be something they will never forget. And being a new musical, so much of the experience was new for everyone. Logan C. '26, who shredded the guitar as part of the pit orchestra, told us, “One of the biggest reasons why I chose to do the musical is because it forced me to learn how to be a part of an experience that I've never done before. The end result was so satisfying, though and I was really proud of myself for taking the leap into the unknown.”
We were certainly proud watching and hearing all of our Tigers shine both on and backstage. Take a bow everyone!
See you in the springtime for the IASAS Drama Performance!