by oliviamiltner, ’13
The energy in a typical rehearsal for this year’s musical, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, is unmistakable. As the cast arrives before practice at 3:30, everyone is joking and laughing and excited to start working on the show. UAHS students, from freshmen to seniors, are ready to begin practicing for the production, which will open on Thursday, Feb. 23 at 7:30 p.m. One such person is junior Audrey McMahon, who plays Rosemary, a lead character in the play.
Although McMahon says she has always loved singing and dancing, she also enjoys unraveling her roles’ personalities, and discovering what motivates them to act the way they do.
“[My favorite part of acting is] being able to be someone I wouldn’t normally be,” she said. “I like digging deep into a character and figuring out why they are saying their lines.”
“They were all really different. Some, I really liked the cast. Some, the role,” McMahon said. “Hairspray was my favorite; it was really fun.”
While she enjoyed Hairspray, she is especially looking forward to the production of How To Succeed.
“This is a really interesting show,” McMahon said. “It’s comedy, it’s fun. And everyone gets along. It’s a pretty small cast…so I feel like we’ll all get closer.”
How To Succeed, according to musical director Eric Kauffman, is about J. Pierrepont Finch, a man striving to discover how to become successful in the American business world.
But besides what is seen on stage, there are many other aspects of the production that go on behind the scenes. For instance, Tech Crew is responsible for making sure processes such as lighting work correctly. Sophomores Jack Bebinger and Nathan Corson agree that Tech Crew is more difficult than it may seem.
“You’ve got to decide what you want to light, what you use to light it. And then you’ve got to do it,” Bebinger said. “It gets really complicated because there’s a thousand different lights you have to know.”
“[We have to go] scene by scene, line by line. This light like this in this space,” Corson said.
Another task they have is to control the sound system.
“In the big theatre [sound] is mostly mic-ing everything and getting it to sound right,” Corson said.
And because of all the specific pieces that go into a production, the crew is working up until the first show.
“We are working right up to a performance tweaking things,” Bebinger said. “Sometimes we’re working during a performance. Last year they finished the set the day of the show for White Christmas.”
Once the show is running, the Tech Crew stage manager, senior Selena Grant, is in charge of calling the cues based off of where the play is at a specific point.
“She’ll have a script, and she’ll read through it as the show goes on. And then a couple lines before something needs to happen she’ll say, ‘Lights be ready,’ and then ‘Lights go.’ And that all gets done over a head set, and that’s how the show runs,” Corson said.
For the Tech Crew, show time involves quick thinking and fast reactions.
“I get nervous because I run the light board which is like ‘Cue, cue, go, go,’” Bebinger said.
But opening night is not quite as stressful for McMahon.
“I’m excited. You put so much work [into a performance] that you’re prepared and ready to show the audience what you’ve done,” McMahon said.
However, for Kauffman, watching the musical unfold in front of the audience is not his favorite component to the show. Instead, he believes fitting all the pieces together is the best part.
“I love the collaboration with all of the people involved to make the production a success,” he said. “From the directors to the designers, the cast to the pit and tech crews, it takes a lot of people creating a labor of love to make our production not only a success but an enjoyable experience.”