Shaler Area muscial the product of hard work by many
Wednesday, April 1, 2020 | 9:05 AM
by Ashley Llaneza, Shaler Area High School
Every year, Shaler Area High School puts on its annual spring musical. The show is always well-prepared and is an occasion that many people look forward to. Nonetheless, there is an abundance of work that is put in by the cast and crew in the months leading up to the show.
There are three main groups that work together to make the musical possible. The cast, stage crew, and pit orchestra work hard to perfect the show before it hits the stage. The annual success of the musical comes thanks to the intense preparation.
The musical preparation begins many months before the show hits the stage. Auditions take place in early December, with rehearsals starting after Christmas break.
The audition process itself requires an abundance of work and preparation. With only about two weeks to prepare, students who are planning to audition must use their time wisely in order to perfect the part they are hoping to get. In the week following auditions, call backs are held, and the cast list is released soon after.
Cast and pit members both have to audition. While the process differs slightly, the requirements are very similar for each part. For the cast, each person trying out has a choice between multiple scenes and songs to use as their audition piece. For the pit orchestra, the audition process requires people only to pick a song to play.
There is about a month long gap between auditions and the beginning of rehearsals. Rehearsals last for two months leading up to the show. The first month and a half of rehearsals consists of things like blocking and vocals. Three weeks prior to the show, stage crew works together with the cast in order to figure out what might need fixed. The two weeks leading up to the show are by far the busiest for everyone involved in the musical. These two weeks consist of many late rehearsals, and running the show in order to tie up any loose ends.
The week of opening night is dress rehearsal. Since the musical is performed the first two weekends in March, there are still rehearsals the week between opening weekend and closing weekend. However, these rehearsals are more low maintenance.
Overall, the musical requires commitment from everyone involved. Each person is expected to put in the work to perfect his or her role in the show.
For most people, learning lines, songs, and dances is like homework. It is important for cast members to practice often in order to keep the routines and lines fresh in their memory.
“There’s no deadlines for learning the scenes and songs. If you get awarded the part you want, you’re going to put the effort in,” senior Michaela Brining, who plays the dragon in this year’s musical, said.
For stage crew members, the process requires less commitment but more teamwork. The crew meets on the weekends for a few hours rather than throughout the week. Up until February, the crew works on building the sets and figuring out the proper lighting and music adjustments. The month leading up to the show is important for stage crew because they have to work together with the rest of the cast and pit orchestra to make sure everything is perfect.
While the process for stage crew is more laid back, things get really busy right before the show hits the stage. Even though preparation can be stressful at times, when things go wrong, the entire crew takes the blame and quickly solves any issues.
Although the musical requires a great deal of individual preparation, the process is also very group oriented. One of the most bittersweet aspects of the musical is the group work. Although everyone involved works well together, it can be stressful during times like tech week when the whole group is together on stage. However, it is crucial to work out the kinks in the show before it hits the stage.
“As much fun as you have, you have to put in work to compensate for it,” junior Sonny Demasi, the lead in this year’s musical, said.
Cast members are often required to put themselves in their character’s shoes. After landing a role in the musical, it is crucial for the cast members to fine tune their part. Overall, the cast is able to learn parts best by rehearsing at after school practices.
Some of those involved in the musical have more responsibilities than others. The cast members who are required to play more than one character in the show have to find a way to balance being multiple different parts.
Overall, everyone involved in the musical has to prioritize their responsibilities and find a way to balance practice and other activities. Most cast and crew members learn to use all of their free time responsibly and stop procrastinating things such as schoolwork. Although the entire process requires those involved to balance their daily duties, it gets more difficult to make time for everything when tech week begins.
“Most nights I go to bed really late. You have to avoid procrastination with schoolwork. If I know that something is due on a certain day, I can’t start it the night before,” Brining said.
Despite the fact that the musical preparation is not easy, it has many positive aspects. Although it requires everyone involved to develop good time management skills and dedication when practicing, it gives many students an opportunity to showcase their talents and develop a wide range of skills. Additionally, it allows students to make new friends and learn the importance of working as a group.