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Months of work go into one weekend

Staff writer

“Working” cast member Kim Brown was ready to do makeup about an hour before opening curtain Thursday in the Hillsboro High School vocal music room when she saw cast member Nick Ediger.

“Nicholas.”

“What?”

“Come here.”

“Why?”

“I want to put stuff on your face.”

Work on the musical began months before with auditions on Aug. 24. Because cast members weren’t yet familiar with the script, auditions were rife with mistakes. Every little error elicited laughs from the crowd.

Rehearsals weren’t always so lighthearted. Before the first script-free rehearsal, on Oct. 1, senior Briana Loewen predicted problems with people memorizing their lines.

“After this we kind of get yelled at for not knowing it,” she said.

She was correct about people not knowing their lines yet. One cast member made it through two lines before needing cues from director Lynn Just.

“And then you go offstage to read your lines,” Just told the actor at the end of his scene.

“They think they have things memorized until they have to say it out loud in front of people,” she said after the rehearsal.

Senior Matt Richert said learning lines for “Working” was challenging because the musical has no storyline. He has participated in musicals all four years of high school

“It was completely different from all the others,” he said.

Rehearsals continued, and cast members memorized their lines, practiced their songs, and learned their choreography. Behind the scenes, cast and crew put together the set, found costumes, and created programs.

But a problem arose in the days before the musical opened, when Just dismissed a cast member from the production.

Richert had to learn an extra part three days before the show. Learning the part so quickly was the hardest thing he had to do for the musical, he said as cast members took down the set Monday. He said he wanted to do more with the role but didn’t have enough time.

A couple of hours before the musical began Thursday cast members started arriving to do their makeup, get in to costumes, and be outfitted with microphones. Just gave the cast final directions before taking her place in the orchestra pit.

All of the students’ work came together in time to present the musical. Audience members visited with the cast after the performance to congratulate them on a job well done.

Cast members said Monday that the performances went better than any of them expected, and Just said the musical continued to improve.

“They did really well,” she said. “They got better every night.”

Just is already making preparations for the 2010 musical. She said she starts looking at scripts more than a year in advance. She looks at who she expects to participate before making a decision.

An important factor in selecting a musical is whether it will be the same weekend as the Mennonite Brethren Southern District Youth Conference. The two events were at the same time this year, which resulted in a smaller cast for the musical, Just said.

She already has a short list of scripts to choose from. She expects to have a good idea which one she will select by the end of the school year, but a decision doesn’t have to be made until August.

Then everything will begin again: auditions, rehearsals, arguments, jokes, tension, and instruction.

“It’s worth it if you have a really great play,” Richert said.

Last modified Nov. 19, 2009

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