Countdown to Curtain: Preparations for the 128th Annual Production

Countdown to Curtain: Preparations for the 128th Annual Production
January 21, 2016 Nate Stauffer

With only one day left until the opening of the 128th Annual Production, Flight Club, all four sections of the Company are hard at work putting the finishing touches on the show. Check out these updates from each of our section heads, and get your tickets now to see the finished product!

BAND (Dimitri Antoniou):

bandOn the first day of 2016, I picked up a UPS box from our amazing composer, Neil Radisch. It was Christmas morning all over again as I unwrapped a pile of freshly printed, never before played, all-original sheet music for our 128th annual production. A few days later, the band reconvened to learn and perfect the entire musical’s score. Dixieland jazz riffs, metal power chords, upbeat tap dance breaks, and gentle ballads have sung in my head since. After four years of going through this same rehearsal process, I am thrilled to say that this is the show I am most looking forward to sharing with audiences. From the first note of the Overture to the last beat of the Third Act, this show’s music is clever, engaging, complex, and rocking. The rehearsal process hasn’t been entirely smooth; from practicing the same song eight times in a row to blasting a metronome tick for three hours, it’s been a long haul to learn so much music. But I’ve been incredibly lucky this year to be working with a band that is exceptionally talented, hard-working, energetic, positive, and tightly knit. It’s because of the amazing nine musicians around me that I can rest easy at night knowing that on January 22nd, the band of Mask and Wig’s Flight Club will be ready to melt faces.

BUSINESS STAFF (Sam Rowland):

For the past several weeks, the Biz Staff has been hard at work.biz We have gone to over 130 businesses throughout the city to sell ads in our program and designed ads for those who purchased them. On top of that, we have been gathering props, many of which have been particularly tricky to find given that this show is set in an airport; you’d be surprised how difficult it is to obtain a Skymall nowadays! We have organized digital campaigns and advertisements for the show, created all of the printed materials (including posters, playbills and flyers), and shot and edited promotional video content (which you can find on our Facebook page). Once the show opens and rehearsals stop for the other sections, we still have more work to do; our job wont end until we see all of our patrons in those seats every weekend. The Business Staff will make sure this flight is fully booked!

CAST (Patrick Romano):

CastAs soon as 2015 turned into 2016, the Cast returned from winter break to 310 S. Quince Street to begin rehearsals for Flight Club. The cast’s rehearsal schedule is long and arduous; in the twelve days leading up to the start of classes, we rehearsed everyday from 10 AM to 11 PM, with breaks only for meals. Those rehearsals were split into three parts: scene work with our director, Matt Pfeiffer; dancing with our choreographer, Karen Pauro; and vocal rehearsal with our music director, Gene Bender. Since we are creating a musical comedy from scratch, the script is fluid and changed significantly during the rehearsal process. This added another layer of difficulty for the cast, but also made for an enriching creative experience. The characters we become onstage can be anything we want them to be — they are truly our own creation. The hardest part of the marathon rehearsal process, though, has been stitching it all together: vocals on top of choreography on top of storytelling (on top of being hysterically funny). But now that we’ve done it, it’s a magical thing to watch onstage. It’s pure chaos, of course, with people constantly running lines backstage, going over choreo, and figuring out costume changes – not to mention finding time to study every once in a while. When it comes together on opening night, it always feels like a small miracle. We create this huge thing that involves tap dancing, kicklines, absurd humor, and fabulous drag in just 21 days. We do it every January and it is insane, but it is also the most fun I have ever had in my life.

STAGE CREW (Billy Clarke):

crewEvery year, the Stage Crew is tasked with transforming the Clubhouse stage into a whole new world for the audience to explore. For the past three weeks, we have been hard at work doing just that, cutting, screwing, and painting the set for the show. What was once a pile of lumber has been transformed into a beautiful airport terminal, a spacious airplane, and, of course, the sleek Flight Club. Often working late into the night after everyone else has gone home, the entire Crew has put a huge amount of time and effort to make the show look and sound spectacular. With only 27 hours and 31 minutes remaining until Opening Night, the Crew is now making final preparations, learning lighting and sound cues, and running scene transitions to make them perfect. Come see what our figurative and literal blood, sweat and tears have gone into when Flight Club takes off this Friday!

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