Giving Everything for ‘Anything Goes’

By David W. ’19
Photos by David W., Sam D. ’18 and Mrs. Wilcox.

David W. ’19 presents a behind-the-scenes look at the making of “Anything Goes,” premiering tonight at 7 p.m.

Last November, a few sheets of paper went up on the wall outside of the theater. These sheets had instructions for students and time slots that students could fill in. Within a few days, every single audition slot had been taken and somewhere in that catalog of names lay the future cast list for the winter musical, “Anything Goes.”

Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 23-25, as well as a 2 p.m. matinee Saturday. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.

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It all starts with auditions. Students bravely stand in front of director Kristin Wolanin and music director Heather Woodbridge to sing a song from the script.

Some of the students have performed their entire lives; others are making their first foray into drama. Auditions can take days as the directors listen to and evaluate each student, trying to find the role that’s the best fit.

After the musical auditions come dance auditions, and another round of playing matchmaker between student and role for Wolanin.

Then the final paper goes up: the cast and crew list, detailing which role each student will perform. Once students confirm their participation, rehearsals officially kick off.

In these early sessions, students learn their music and blocking. As time progresses, rehearsals become more complex and intense. Wolanin and Woodbridge have three months to bring everything together. Three months, however, sounds longer than it is.

Blocking — when the actors learn their movements on stage — can take more than a month. At the same time, actors need to learn their choreography and their musical numbers. It’s a long, arduous process that requires dedication and commitment.

Once the show is blocked and the actors know their music, there’s usually only a few weeks until the show opens. This is when the real rehearsing begins. Students run musical numbers, find and fix problems, and drill lines over and over.

There’s a reason the rehearsals are so intense, Wolanin said. “We don’t do high school theater. We do professional theater.”

Throughout all of this, the crew meets once a week to go over what needs to be done. They’re responsible for planning costumes, designing sets, sound and lighting, props, publicity — even how many tickets will be available.

They work tirelessly behind the scenes while the actors work tirelessly on stage. “This is a huge process,” said Eric N. ’17, a longtime crew hand. “There’s so much to be done. The crew is more or less responsible for ensuring the show can actually happen.”

Everything comes together in tech week. Rehearsals can last up to eight hours as the crew and the cast work together to finalize the show. The lights, sound, props, and costumes are added. The finishing touches are placed as the show is rehearsed as many times as possible before opening night.

Everything has to come together in these rehearsals, and it’s a big sacrifice for all of the students: Some won’t get home until 10 p.m.

And then, finally, months of work culminate with four shows in the Steinman Theatre for LCDS and the wider community.

So come and enjoy the show, but don’t expect high school theater. They’re all pros.

“Anything Goes” at 7 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, Feb. 23-25, and 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25 in the Steinman Theatre. Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door.