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Behind the Scenes of the Holyoke High School Musical

Walk a day in the shoes of a member of the Holyoke High School Musical production.

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Hey! I’m Siobhan Brennan, a senior at Holyoke High School. I’ve done the school musical for all four of my years here. From Wizard of Oz to Shrek The Musical to Sister Act to this years musical, The Little Mermaid!
Full preview here. I’m going to take you through a day of a typical rehearsal schedule for the students in the production!

After a long day of school we attend part one of rehearsals: singing! Mr. Todd- the director of the musical- sets up two full cast rehearsals after school a week. From 3:00-4:30 we are in our school’s choir room going over ensemble songs and solos for the cast.

Certain parts require a bit more practice than others. At 4:00 the 7 tap dancing seagulls and Dylan Lasante ’18, who will be playing Scuttle, head to the stage to work with Danielle Bedford, one of our choreographers, for the unique tap dancing scene. As four out of the seven tap dancers haven’t actually tap danced before it’s amazing to see the improvement from just putting the tap shoes on to a dancing in a completely choreographed number.

 

That rehearsal goes until 5. We then either go home, get something to eat, do some homework, or rest for a little before returning at 6 for more rehearsal. Some of the cast stays through to work on more scenes, dances or numbers. The staff lounge turns into our own private dressing room where we can take time to relax in between rehearsals.

At 6 we all arrive and meet up and talk with friends. Around 6:20 we start warming up with the pianist and assistant musical director Mr. Rose. With his interactive “May-a-may-a-may” and “Many Mumbling Mice” warming up is always a fun and exciting time. We then go into singing the song with the accompaniment. Mr. Rose helps us fix up any wrong notes and harmonies. Then up on stage we go!

Here we see Kayla Roman ’20 who is playing Ursula in the show with Jose Roman 20’ and Melina Garcia 20’ who are playing Flotsam and Jetsam. They have a unique role as this is all of their first leads as sophomores! The choreographers Lori Todd and Danielle Bedford take the people on stage scene by scene with usually 2 scenes a night.

The people who are waiting tend to do plenty of different things. A crowd favorite is homework. You can always see a handful of kids sitting in the front row, trying to get a hand on their English assignment due the next day. You can find people relaxing in the booth which a good place to talk with friends because the hallways can get loud quick and the teachers lounge can get crowded. It’s also a stage crew hangout. Then you have the people who are going over other scenes, typically in the hallway outside the auditorium and in the teachers lounge.

Around 9pm (can reach 10pm during tech week) after all the scenes are staged and choreographed for the night, we have our “Closing”. It’s a tradition unique to our musical. Everyone in the cast that is there that night gathers in a circle and put their left hand in because “it’s closer to the heart”. One person gets the honor to close each night and is chosen by Mr. Todd for their good doing of that night. The person chosen gets to say a few encouraging words and chooses what we cheer.

After that, we clean up, bring the scripts back down stairs and head out. To get some sleep before starting the whole thing again tomorrow.

The Little Mermaid will be starting today, March 22, and running through Sunday, March 25, at Holyoke High School! Come support all the hard work the cast and crew have put in!

 

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Behind the Scenes of the Holyoke High School Musical