The Leonid went behind the scenes of "The Music Man" to spotlight the students who put in work off stage. Set painters, pit musicians, hair and makeup artists, stage crew, and student directors all contribute to the musical behind the scenes.
Hair and Makeup
By Helen Zeidman
Musicals may seem to be all about singing and dancing, but appearance is also an important part of performing. Under the bright lights of the stage, actors can be more washed out than zombies. Fortunately, the hair and makeup crew knows that the best weapons to stop the zombie apocalypse are blush and lipstick.
Hair and makeup are especially important in a musical like “The Music Man,” where there is a specific style for the time period. Braids, bows and buns dominated the early 1900’s, when the musical was set. Makeup and hair artists have the responsibility of replicating the styles of the era.
Makeup is not just for the girls, since even guys and elementary actors are susceptible to looking undead on stage.
“I did makeup for the people who couldn’t do it themselves, which is mostly the boys and the younger kids,” sophomore Jillian Smith said. “It’s a lot harder than it looks to put eyeliner on boys that can’t stay still.”
Even though acting and singing go a long way for bringing a character to life, makeup completes the connection between audience and actor.
“Hair and makeup is important to the musical because it makes the musical more realistic,” freshman Danielle Ott said. “Without makeup, especially for more complicated characters like in past shows, the audience won’t notice the correlation between the students and their characters.”
By Ali Kochik
Color, texture, depth; all of these things play key roles in the visual aspect of theatre. Various set pieces are created to give settings to the characters, however it’s the coloring and painting of these sets that really brings the pieces to life.
The painting of the set gives the scene things such as, dimension, shadow, color, emotion and history, telling the story just as much as the actors. All of these things were brought to The Music Man by the volunteer set painters from the National Art Honor Society.
The painters worked many hours after school and on weekends to finish everything in time for the a show. They painted crates, large walls, buildings and signs, working in mass quantities to make use of their time.
The set painters transformed the assembled wooden sets into colorful background scenes, conducive for the actors to tell their story.
“I just think overall, the entire thing -- the cast and everybody -- is just like a giant cake,” set painter, Rhiannon Harbold said, “Like a big cake, cause you can’t really have the show without one part. You can’t have the show without the actors, but you also can’t have the show without the set or the music. So if you get rid of one of those things, it’s just a really bad cake.”
Lighting and Crew
By Ali Kochik
Think of the last time you went to a musical. Were there lights? Was there sound? All of these extremely important components are done to perfection by the stage crew, whose specialty is bringing the technical side of the musical to life.
Every time you see an actor under a spotlight, or an actress singing her heart out into a microphone strategically hidden in her costume, you are actually seeing the stage crew hard at work.
Stage crew is an very trying job, being one of extreme perfection. Everything needs to be undeviating; quality and consistency being main priorities.
“I was in charge of lights,” lighting operator Jessica Owrutsky said, “I made sure that the lights were right and in the right spots and that none of the lights were out so that it wouldn’t be weird on some nights and perfect the next.”
This year’s musical, “The Music Man,” had a staff of stage crew workers who worked very hard to make the production the best that it could be. The crew did sound checks and programmed lights to ensure that all of the technology components consistently ran smooth throughout all four showings. They were also responsible for switching the settings during the show.
“Without light and sound,” Owrutsky said, “there is no show basically, unless you like performing in the dark.
By Helen Zeidman
The musical is a conglomeration of actors, singers, dancers, musicians, artists, and volunteers. All of these different people can create chaos and cacophony throughout the entire musical season. But, the student directors are the force of calm who help the cast and crew keep their sanity.
There is not a set job description for a student director. Due to the demanding nature of the job, student directors are expected to perform a variety of different tasks. They end up completely all of the odds and ends of the musical, helping whenever they can.
“Last year, I did pretty much whatever,” senior Christine Dellinger, who had the role of student director for Beauty and the Beast as well as The Music Man, said. “I helped with costumes. I helped Angie, the director. I helped with a little bit of everything.”
This year’s student directors included Dellinger, senior Justine Newcomer, and sophomore Morgan Shafer. Dellinger and Newcomer were both returning directors who took Shafer under their wing.
The student directors are just one facet of an entire network of background students who never get to shine in the spotlight.
“The musical has a bunch of different stages,” Dellinger said. “Without the background people, there would be no sound, light or set. It’s the background people who make a show a show.”
By Ali Kochik
The curtains rise and the actors are in their positions. Somewhere offstage, the music begins to swell. But where is that music coming from?
Located behind the set, the orchestra pit is filled with many talented musicians from the high school music department, playing tunes to accompany the show, “The Music Man.” The students play the music, adding to the mood of each scene. With joyful tunes backing up happy acts and somber songs supporting sad ones, the pit is really in charge of the show’s emotions.
“We provide transition music and we help keep the cast in check as well, because they have to follow us during various songs,” pit violinist Julie Tran said. “Without the pit, the show would be quite plain, I think, because there wouldn’t be any accompaniment or background music.”
Much like the rest of the behind the scenes crew, pit works long and hard to prepare their sound for the four shows, making sure everything runs smoothly and cohesively.
“There was a lot of practicing and being able to deduce important elements in the music involved,” rehearsal accompanist Qi Li said.
The young musicians practice and rehearse for hours upon hours until every song perfectly encompases each moment of the musical.
“Overall, I think everyone behind the scenes contributes greatly to the show and they’re very rarely acknowledged because they can’t be seen,” Tran said, “Everyone puts in a lot of time and effort to make the musical the best it can be.”
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