Death-Cast is Calling

by Madelyn Young '25
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

If you could find out the day that you are destined to die, would you? The fictional novel They Both Die at the End by young adult author Adam Silvera explores this question. 

The 2017 book introduces Death-Cast, a government-sponsored company that is able to predict people’s death. The catch? They can not predict the exact time or reason for their subscribers’ deaths. The company hires callers to notify people (called “Deckers”) between the hours of midnight and two in the morning. The Deckers are told that they will die at some point during that day. 

They Both Die at the End follows Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio, two young boys who receive Death-Cast calls and, through an app, meet up to spend their last day together. Throughout their adventure, they fall in love and make the most of their final escapade around New York City. 

The First to Die at the End, which came out in October of this year, serves as a prequel to the original story. It takes place in 2010 and begins with the first day of Death-Cast’s existence. Orion, a young writer, has been waiting for a heart donor for years. In Times Square, he meets Valentino, an aspiring model who just moved to the city. The pair experience life and love during Death-Cast’s tragic first day. 

Following in the footsteps of the original book, The First to Die at the End has become a New York Times bestseller, climbing the Young Adult Hardcover chart. This past week, it took over the first place spot. They Both Die at the End spent over two years on the bestseller list, winning numerous awards during this time. Despite being released five years ago, the series has been steadily growing in popularity thanks to social media platforms like TikTok. 

Silvera has a talent for taking his readers through many twists and turns throughout his stories, a skill prevalent in both of the novels. Whether he uses a sentence or a word, the delivery of his lines can be heart-wrenching or hilarious. His two books are easy to read yet complex; all the characters’ stories are carefully interwoven with one another. In fact, at the end of the first novel there is a character map connecting each side character to one another and to Mateo and Rufus. 

These two also make appearances in the prequel, even interacting with Valentino and Orion. The stories prove that even the smallest interaction can have an important impact. Silvera’s ability to create emotional storylines following the course of only one day (even down to the minute at times) is remarkable, and really immerses the reader in the events taking place. 

For readers who want a funny, suspenseful, and devastating story, They Both Die at the End and The First to Die at the End will serve them well. Silvera has even hinted at another addition to the series in the next few years, which has been highly anticipated after the ending of his most recent installment. 

Happily “Never” After

by Madelyn Young '25
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

A beloved book series comes to life

In May of 2013, the first book in the School for Good and Evil series by Soman Chainani was released. After nine years, it has become one of the most popular young adult novels, has had five additional installments to the series, and most recently, has been turned into a Netflix original film. In only the first week of its release, it became the No. 1 most-watched film on Netflix in 93 countries.

The film follows the story of best friends Sophie (Sophia Anne Caruso) and Agatha (Sofia Wylie) who get swept away from their provincial town to the School for Good and Evil, two magical institutions that train the heroes and villains of famous fairy tales. When Sophie gets placed in the School for Evil and Agatha in the School for Good, their ideas of what it means to be good and evil are challenged as they make history in the fairytale world. 

While the book was originally intended for younger teen audiences, the series was released over a span of several years; the last book made its debut in 2020. Because of this, most of the original audience grew up with the books. Chainani’s characters and storylines seemed to mature through the years, which greatly expanded the fanbase leading up to the release of the film. The movie covers the story of the first book only, and with its immediate success, it is likely that more of the series will be adapted into movie form. 

The cast and crew of The School for Good and Evil boast a vast array of incredible talents. The movie is directed by Paul Feig, who is known for his work on Bridesmaids and The Office. The leading role of Sophie is played by Sophia Anne Caruso, who is best known for her Broadway role as Lydia in the musical Beetlejuice. Her co-lead, Sofia Wylie, became famous for her role on Disney’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Other main roles are played by Charlize Theron, Kerry Washington, Michelle Yeoh, and Cate Blanchett. Each of the actors truly embody their characters, bringing the book series to life in a creative yet accurate way. 

The cast is not the only remarkable part of the movie, however. Given the whimsical and imaginative world that Chainani created in his book series, it is only expected that the film would follow suit in delivering this aesthetic to fans. The movie did not disappoint. Everything from the sets of the schools to the filming location (Northern Ireland), to the soundtrack was extremely detailed and clearly well thought-out. Feig even noted that they limited the use of CGI, opting to film most scenes live-action in order to make the movie feel as realistic as possible. One stand-out example of the level of detail is the different costumes used throughout the movie. They not only reflect the differences between the two schools but transform with the characters as they learn and grow. 

In an interview with Kelly Clarkson, Chainani talks about the point of his story and how it carries through into the movie. “We grew up being told that if you’re good, then you will have a happy ending…We can’t be good or pure evil. We’re somewhere in between.” While this message has already been present in his work for years, The School for Good and Evil movie is sure to leave audiences questioning what they think they know about good and evil. 

They’re Back!

by Madelyn Young '25
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

Hocus Pocus 2 Filmed in Providence 

After 29 years, Disney’s beloved Halloween classic has finally gotten its sequel—and it was filmed right here in Providence. Bette Midler, Kathy Najimy, and Sarah Jessica Parker reprised their iconic roles as Sarah, Mary, and Winifred Sanderson and give a performance just as amazing as they did in 1993. 

While Hocus Pocus 2 is different from its original in many ways, it stays true to the famous moments fans have come to love from the original. The movie follows three teenage girls trying to defeat the witches after they come back to wreak havoc on Salem. Not only have the three leads returned, but some other classic characters like Billy Butcherson have as well. And if you loved the Sanderson Sisters’ rendition of “I Put a Spell on You” from the first movie, you will be glad to know that there is another amazing musical number in the sequel. 

Even though the movie is set in Salem, MA, it was filmed right here in Rhode Island. Chase Farm in Lincoln was home to not only the witches’ original house, but an entire colonial village. Here, we see the witches in 1653 as teenagers and learn the story of how they were banished from Salem and became witches. 

Providence College students might recognize some of the locations used for filming. The high school scenes took place at La Salle Academy and the witches explore a local Walgreens at the beginning of the movie. 

As the first Hocus Pocus has become arguably one of the most well-known Halloween movies since its release, Hocus Pocus 2 had a lot to live up to. The original is known for its incredible soundtrack, timeless humor, and iconic lines that are quoted constantly throughout the season. The witches and their schemes provided a humorous aspect, while the relationships between the other main characters gave the movie more of an emotional side. 

In the sequel, the viewers get a glimpse of the sisterly relationship between Sarah, Mary, and Winifred, which doesn’t take away from their hilarious antics, but rather provides the characters with much more dimension. In many ways, the heart-warming sibling relationships between Max and Dani as well as Emily and Binx in the first movie are paralleled by the witches 30 years later.

While Hocus Pocus 2 did meet (and even exceed) expectations in terms of choreography, music, and costumes, it is difficult to measure up to such an influential original. Viewers should think of it truly as a sequel—a continuation of the witches’ stories and mission—rather than a new movie to replace the first. Additionally, the movie hinted at a third return of the witches in the future, implying that the three witches might not be finished tormenting Salem. 

For Hocus Pocus lovers, the sequel will be a great addition to a Halloween movie lineup. The music, magic, and mischief of the Sanderson sisters are sure to put you in the mood for autumn. 

It’s Showtime!

by Madelyn Young '25
A&E Staff

Arts & Entertainment

PPAC Kicks Off its Broadway Series

Last week, the Providence Performing Arts Center began its first of seven shows in their 2022-2023 Broadway series with Tina: The Tina Turner Musical. This high-energy show is simultaneously exciting and emotional, revealing the musician’s upbringing and abusive relationship with her husband, Ike Turner. Her hit songs are cleverly interwoven within the story, emphasizing the highs and lows of her journey to becoming the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Even though Tina has left PPAC to continue its national tour, there are plenty more musicals to experience in the upcoming months, notably Mean Girls, Beetlejuice, and Six. With the variety of genres and stories in the Broadway Series, theater-goers will have no issue finding a show to interest them.

Tina Fey’s Mean Girls takes the PPAC stage Oct. 4-9. The coming-of-age musical—which is based on the 2004 movie of  the same name—follows Cady Heron’s rise to the top of the high school food chain alongside the three most popular girls in school. Full of upbeat pop music, Mean Girls is a hilarious, uplifting show that is perfect for a night out with friends.

For the history buffs, Six tells the tales of Henry VIII’s wives in a modern, inspiring way. Each of the six women get a chance to express their stories in a concert-style show, incorporating both energetic pop numbers with emotional ballads. Between the colorful costumes and empowering characters, audience members are sure to enjoy learning about these legendary women in a brand-new light. The show will be in Providence in April of 2023.

Last but certainly not least, the final show in the Broadway series is Beetlejuice. Based on the 1988 Tim Burton movie of the same name, this musical follows teenager Lydia Deetz as she copes with loss, family, and ghosts. The set and special effects of this show are incredible and surprising; there is something new in every scene. As Beetlejuice himself says in the show, it is “a bold departure from the original source material.” While it has all the creepiness and humor of the movie, it incorporates a much more emotional storyline and sheds light on darker, more serious themes. Viewers will appreciate the depth of the characters and find themselves rooting for each one. This will be the perfect show to send PPAC’s Broadway series out with a bang.

With the wide variety of shows to be found at the Providence Performing Arts Center, it is a great experience for PC students. Whether it’s with a group event, a solo trip, or even a family outing, there is sure to be a show for everyone to enjoy. Additionally, PPAC frequently offers rush tickets, which allow students to get half-priced seats for shows. If you have yet to see a show here, the 2022-2023 Broadway series is the perfect opportunity to visit the theater, and possibly discover a new musical to enjoy.