Into the Scenes

Crew prepares for Into the Woods.

Photo+by+Makenna+Smock

Photo by Makenna Smock

Emma Stauffer

Bright stage lights beat down on actors, their microphones centimeters from their mouths. When they speak, the sound echoes perfectly into the theatre, reaching each and every audience member. Their costumes brush against each other, designed specifically for them and their character. They recite their lines, the hours of practice paying off at the sound of each word.

Many audience members simply enjoy the show and stop there. They don’t realize the hours of work put in by not only performers, but by every crew member. Every member of the show contributed to this year’s fall musical, Into the Woods.

Into the Woods is unlike anything the theatre department has done in the past, a music-heavy show with a small cast.

“For the most part, our past musicals have been large casts and large productions,” co- stage manager junior Livy Nebel said. “This show is a cast of 24 people and it is mostly all songs, or the dialogue is underscored, which means there is music the actors have to talk on beat to.”

Nebel holds the co-stage manager position along with sophomore Rand Brown, who are both responsible for making sure that everything behind the scenes runs smoothly.

Directors

This year, theatre and forensics teacher Mick Turpin is director and Katherine Gehrlein, the LHS ISS teacher has filled the position of assistant director, as well as the substitute for stagecraft classes.

With an undergraduate degree in theatre education and a Master’s in theatre design and technology, Gehrlein appreciates everybody involved in the musical.

“Shows cannot be done without a crew, but we also cannot do our job without actors,” Gehrlein. “Everyone is essential, no matter who they are or what role they take on. We simply cannot do a show like this without a crew.”

Stagecraft

Students who take stagecraft are responsible for the building of the sets for the musical. Helping Gehrlein is junior Isiah Rodick, who holds the position of scenic designer/master carpenter for the musical.

Each show brings new challenges regarding the sets, and this year is no different.

“Conceptually, the biggest challenge so far is figuring out how to bring the woods into a theatre and figuring out how you make trees that look like trees and are structurally safe so that they don’t fall and artistically work for the show,” Gehrlein said.

Rodick, who has worked with stagecraft for past performances acknowledges the differences in the sets of Into the Woods compared to other shows.

“There’s a lot more going on in this show than past ones,” Rodick said. “It has definitely has more props and scenic parts that we have to involve with our small stage.”

Costumes

Photo by Grace Bushroe

Head of costume crew junior Elizabeth Hall has found some challenges in preparing the costumes for the show.

“Because it’s set in a fairytale land, there isn’t really a set time period or decade to look to for inspiration,” Hall said. “It’s kind of a blend of a few of them.”

After taking inventory of past show’s costumes and determining if they are usable for the current show, the costume crew alters the costumes to fit the character and actor and then makes the new costumes.

Hair and Makeup

While some crews are hard at work now, some have to wait until closer to opening night to complete their tasks.

“What we are doing now is just looking through inventory, checking things and coming up with the item we will need and ordering them,” co-hair and makeup crew head Megan Wilcock said. “We are really planning right now and won’t start really working on hair and makeup until a couple rehearsals closer to opening night.”

With this show being set in a fantasy land, hair and makeup crew members are able to be more creative.

“We did have some prosthetics in a couple of our other shows, but we have a lot in this one,” Wilcock said. “The prosthetics are very out there and the makeup is more fun. With last year’s musical, Mamma Mia, it was a great show, but the makeup was very natural.”

Student Directors and Choreographer

Photo by Grace Bushroe

Another student leader, senior Kendall McMullen, has not one but two positions on the crew of the musical: co-student director and student choreographer. McMullen and the other co-student director junior Paige Saluri are in charge of running rehearsals.

As choreographer, McMullen is in charge of choreographing the dance numbers. She too has faced challenges because of the large amount of music in the show.

“I think the hardest part is just how much music there is. The show is really more music than dialogue,” McMullen said. “I have to figure out which songs I can do more dancing in and which songs will just be movement timed with the music.”

Technical Crew

Senior Leah Rainwater, technical director and head of technical crew, is in charge of the sound and lighting of the show. While the actors perform on stage, Rainwater and her crew are up in the tech booth, making sure that everything sound and lighting-related is running smoothly.

Her crew too has discovered some challenges as a result of the show being music heavy.

“It affects technology a lot because we have to keep in time with the music and lighting cues. We need to make sure that everything happens on time.”

The Process

Another significant change has been made this year regarding the crews.

“We have production meetings every Friday during Liberty Hour where all of the crew heads get together with the directors and we talk about certain things that we need to know, work on or fix to progress through the production as we get closer to opening night,” Turpin said.

Turpin has already seen changes in the students leaders and that with these new meetings they are able to better lead the crews.

“The student leaders have a better direction of where they need to go and how to lead their crew members,” Turpin said. “I think the show, in general, is coming together quicker than it has in the past.”

Tickets are available now.