BY ROSA PRESTON
Last year, students in ITS (International Thespian Society), including myself, worked for months on the musical “Sister Act.” It was hard, especially considering that COVID-19 was still a big issue and much of the cast and crew tested positive or were exposed to the virus. But despite those issues, we pushed through and delivered a stunning performance. And this year, we’re working on another musical, “Chicago.” We are all happy to be involved in the production, even though there are some highlights and some struggles.
The cast of the show consists of a lot of talented actors/actresses as well as highly-skilled dancers and singers who help the show in a variety of ways. And whether a more recognizable role, like Breana Smith, or a less well known role like working behind the scenes, it can be both challenging and fun. “My role is Mary Sunshine, and I have lines and a solo because I’m considered a ‘lead,’ but it’s more of a supporting lead. I also am the assistant choreographer, which I enjoy, but the hardest thing is probably the stress of it all and trying to balance it with school. My character is also the only one who sings in a high first soprano register, so that has been fun trying to navigate,” Smith said when interviewed, proving that there are a few ways it can be challenging.
And it’s not just hard on the cast. The behind the scenes folks, or the stage crew, are working hard too, and most are enjoying the process, but it’s still not easy. Take Nedra Seigfried for example, who said, “My role is to be a props manager for the crew, and this involves sorting and moving the props so that the actors know where to find them during the show. I signed up for it because I liked the idea of working with props and helping to keep things organized is a useful thing to do in my mind. The easiest part of preparing for the musical is probably just organizing and taking account of what props we have in general. It’s just counting and very basic organizing, but listing out every prop in every scene will be a challenging task.”
And we can’t leave out the directors and choreographers who help lead the cast and crew in the right direction. Mr. Nanney, the director, has his ups and downs as well, saying, “I oversee the production of the musical with the help of the choreography team, my stage manager, my lighting/sound designer, crew heads, and advanced design classes during school hours. I don’t think there really is an ‘easy’ part of doing a musical, and one of the hardest parts is arranging and coordinating all of the payments for the various technical needs of the show.”
It’s obvious that it’s not easy to prepare for the musical, and if one part of the cast and crew isn’t ready, the musical can’t proceed. Take the choreography for example, where Mr. Nanney explains, “The show cannot progress very well until we have accurately taught all of the choreography. This in turn also requires frequent repetition and opportunity to review.” But the team is working hard to make this musical happen. And we hope that you will come see the hard work and dedication put in when the musical comes out today, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday, but NOT FRIDAY!