Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Oscars!

I write this during a commercial break for the entertainment industry's biggest awards show. They just announced the Best Supporting Actress Winner, and I'm still surprised. Tilda Swinton? What an upset from the expected Ruby Dee or Cate Blanchett!

I have to admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for the best supporting actress category. But now I'm did Swenton beat out the other ladies in the category? I'll have to watch Michael Clayton at some point.

Anyone else have thoughts about the Oscars? Any personal surprises? High school theater awards, here we come!

OUAM in the news!

So as many of you know, Lily and I are intern reporters at the York Daily Record. My article last month centered around the OUAM audition experience...and now it's on the blog. In the words of Fergie, check it out! (Yes, I know I'll get hate comments for that).

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A little bit of world culture.

Break a leg! We hear it all the time in American Theatre, but what do they say when you don't live here?

In England, actors tell each other to "Fall Down Backwards" before a show.

In Australia, they shout "Chookas!"

In Italy, thespians say to each other, "En el boca del lupe," which is translated to say, "In the mouth of the wolf."

In Spain, "Mierda" is shouted. In France, the actors shout, "Merde." These are both translated to be, "S***."

In Germany, performers yell, "Hals und Beinbruch," which means, "Neck Break."

Finally, in Yiddish, "Hatzlakha u-Brakha" is yelled, which means, "Success and Blessing."

But where did the American tradition of "Break a leg" come from? There are many theories. One is that bending your knees from bowing would break them. Another theory for the phrase comes from the "Big Break" actors get. Yet another theory is that after actor John Wilkes Booth assassinated Lincoln, he jumped onto the stage and broke his leg, leading to his capture.

So, actors, Break a Leg!!

Theatre's gris-gris

The dreaded word never to be mentioned in or around theatre: Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth. (Ooh, do you notice when a word is repeated it starts to look foriegn? Now Macbeth looks like a cross between Mac&Cheese and a crew member. Not a good combo).

We're very superstitious, us thespians. Phrases like 'good luck' and 'Macbeth' automatically doom the production.

On a side note, I will see a production of Macbeth on March 22nd at Folger Theater in Washington D.C. I'm excited!! How's that for bad luck when the actors' production shares in the very same taboo name!

But I digress. These words mean nothing. We make them into negative sayings. It's all in our heads. Just get over it, we're not in Kansas anymore. :) Wink, wink, crew.

(Oh fine, just in case, break a leg all you ladies and kiiiinigits!)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Off Topic- Sondheim's Company

Hello all. Though we're trying to keep this blog related to all this Mattress-y, I thought I'd just give a mention to some good television that you can watch tonight (if you're into musicals!).

Tonight at 9 pm, PBS (WITF is our local station) will be airing a taping of the Stephen Sondheim musical Company as part of their Great Performances series.

Here's what the PBS Website says about the show:
Legendary composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim's groundbreaking musical "Company" -- which premiered in 1970 with a book by George Furth and a cast including Broadway luminaries Dean Jones (later replaced by Larry Kert), Elaine Stritch, and Donna McKechnie -- has continually acquired generations of fans through various regional productions as well as a Broadway revival in 1995. Centering on Bobby, a confirmed bachelor celebrating his 35th birthday with his 10 closest friends (who also happen to be five couples), "Company" culminates in Bobby's transformation from unattached swinger to tentative monogamist. In 2006, acclaimed director John Doyle -- noted for his unconventional adaptation of "Sweeney Todd" in 2005 (where the actors double as orchestra musicians) -- took a similar approach to "Company"'s third turn on the Broadway stage, receiving rave reviews from critics and audiences alike. Recorded at the end of its Tony®-winning run as "Best Revival" in the 2006-07 season, "Company" comes to television for the first time, starring Broadway sensation Raúl Esparza in the role of Bobby, and featuring all of the score's Sondheim classics, including "Another Hundred People," "The Ladies Who Lunch," and "Being Alive."

Heather and I saw this show the same day they were taping it for PBS. We thoroughly enjoyed it, but you should realize it's particularly aimed at adults (you know, marriage, divorce, etc.), and it would probably be rated PG-13 if it were a movie. But if you're curious to see what a major musical would be like if all the actors had to play musical instruments, this is the way to go! If you watch it tonight, leave a comment...I'd love to know what you thought of it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Hello out there!

So, Im delighted to announce that I am the first male cast member to write on this blog!
Anyway... My name is Brandon and I am currently taking on the role of King Sextimus in our wonderfully amazing production of Once Upon a Mattress. My past roles include Constable Locke in The Music Man. I was also in the crew for The Diary of Anne Frank. Other than that, I have absolutely no theatre history. Now that I've bored you with my past, I think I'll go into a more interesting subject: The Show!

OUAM is an awesome show about a happy family and a homewrecking princess who comes in and destroys that happiness. Kind of, but not really. Its a musical version of the Princess and the Pea with some things added to give it a more theatrical 'look.'

As of now, the show is just starting to take life with an amazing cast of actors and a stunning set from the crew. The scenes I've been involved in are amazing and that wouldn't happen if we didn't have an amazing set of peeps working on it.

So on that note, I end this blog post by saying COME SEE THE SHOW!!! Go here for ticket information and such. Chao.

I'm the blogger who won't give you any useful info!

Hi all, this is my first blog ever, so don't be too harsh. My name is Kelly Chick - I've been performing in shows since I was but a wee child. Now as a taller child, erm, young adult, I'm currently in OUAM (which looks like a strange foreign word, but really it stands for Once Upon a Mattress). I play the evil, bipolar, violent, germaphobic Queen who will do anything to stay in power and prevent her son from marrying that crazy princess, Fred. And don't even try to tell me I was typecast because guess what - I'm not germaphobic (spell-check is telling me that I'm spelling germaphobic incorrectly but the best corrected word it can come up with is "hermaphrodite" so I think I'll leave it as is). Sorry, I'm rambling. Until next time ... DANCE OR DIE!!

Crew Build 1st Blog

Hello All, it's Joe, Technical Director, Set Designer, Set Builder, Props, Lighting, & Sound...and I just happen to be the Auditorium Manager for Susky as well (not to mention I am the Tech Director for William Penn). This is the first official blog for the Susky Crew.....go SUPER CHICKEN (I'll expalin that in another blog later)!!

This is my 5th season at Susky and I am pleased that our fearless leader (Will) has chosen to bring me back year after year because I love what I do! We have a very strong crew and getting stronger, we are currently made up of around 25-30 students, a lot of them underclassmen and their first year. We are currently, as you know by now, working on this years Musical "Once Upon A Matress". Things are going well for the build, in fact we just had our paint mixed this past weekend so we are a bit ahead from all other years (Good JuJu) :) Everyone is working hard and things are coming together, it's always a pleasure working with all the adult staff and well as the students, one big happy family!! I will get some of the modified designs posted soon. I usually design the sets, but this set was created by our Director, Will, and then modified by myself to in his own words..."make it look pretty...". By the way, Props to Mia on the show poster, awesome job (Mia has told me she may want to go to school for Design, You go girl!!)!!! I had the pleasure of designing the poster for this past years play "Heaven Can Wait" and I know how much fun it is but also how much work it can be! Will and I both have the same degree in Graphic Design from the same College....what a cowinkie!!! Well, if I don't end now, as most of you know, I will never stop so I will end by saying thank you all for your dedication thus far and I will have more blogs and info later as the show progresses.

- "It's kind of fun to do the impossible..." Walt Disney

The Best Laid Plans...

I feel like I've done way too much blogging in the last two days, but of course, I'm trying to play catch up from the past month when we didn't have the blog!

Today I’m going to give you an inside look at the stage design!

Will's Original Set Design

Original Set Design

Here we find the original set idea for the show, that I turned over to my trusty crew manager/set designer Joe Kress. (Who assures me that he will soon be posting on this very blog to give everyone an inside look at the goings-on in crew world)

The set is wonderfully adaptable to the needs of the show. By moving the main staircase, and adding or removing other pieces, we can change the Ballroom into the Courtyard with the addition of some curtains and a few painted bushes, or into Fred’s bedroom with the addition of some chairs and a table (and later on, a bed with 20 mattresses!)

The ease of the customization is a definite plus for a theatre program such as ours, where we strive to do the biggest show we can with a rather limited budget. At the end of every production, all of the wood or set pieces that can be salvaged for further use are stored in the crew room to await the day when they are called into use again.

Here’s a few pictures of the set becoming a reality. You'll notice some changes, but otherwise, the beginning of a fun and functional set!

Front of set
The Front of the Main Castle Piece

Back of set
The Back of the Set, featuring stairs to the top, and a platform for catching falling princesses!

So there you have it, from paper to reality in just a few short weeks. Keep an eye out for updates on the set right here on this very blog!

Signs, Signs, Everywhere there's signs...

It is my pleasure to give you the first peek at the poster for our humble little show, designed and illustrated by the cast's very own Mia Wentworth. It took a few weeks of working and re-working some of the design, but Mia's designed what is possibly my favorite SHS theatre poster yet! (And I designed most of them myself!)

Mattress Poster by Mia Wentworth

Monday, February 18, 2008

Tickets & Photos!!

Hi everyone!!

This is Heather, promotions woman extraordinaire. I have two items of note.

1. Ticket info is up and running at

Tickets can be purchased by using the form on the website or by emailing me at

2. If you have any pictures from this or any other SHS theatre show or activity, send them to me!! They make our website pretty! Email to or if you have a lot just burn them and I'll sort thru them

That's all for now!!! Look for my newsletter to be delivered to your houses in the next week or so.

SHS Theatre in the news...

Ok...well, not really "news" per se, but the big article about the upcoming musicals in the county ran this past week in the York Daily Record, and can be found online here:

Besides the awesomeness that is SHS, you may want to check out some other shows in the area. Give it a look!

(and I'd be remiss if I didn't plug William Penn's production of Elton John & Tim Rice's AIDA, since their set designer and ours are the same person! -- and they're letting us borrow a lot of stuff for our show!)

Hey look, a blog!

Awesome blog W! And hi, Lily! I should have known that you'd be the first cast member to post... (Lily's an aspiring writer).

All right, so where do I start? I'm Laura, a junior at Susky, and I play Winnifred the Woebegone (you can call me by my nickname...Fred). That's right, Lily's my understudy. She's very devoted.

I got started in theater when I was seven...I suspect my mom suggested auditioning in a community play because I'd tried about every sport and dance class and didn't seem interested in any of them. I was hooked, and I did community theater until I entered high school, which marked the beginning of my SHS theatre career. I seem to get cast a lot as flirty older women...

Being the lead is exciting, but it's a lot of work. Be prepared to attend rehearsal most nights of the week and to work on music and dancing even more on your own (especially if you have two left feet like me). That said, this blog post is long enough. Cast members, I'll see you on the boards!

Oh, P.S.

My name is Lily, and I play Lady Rowena in OUAM. (I'm also understudy for Fred, but just like the first rule of Fight Club, I never talk about that...I'm behind the scenes!) Lady Rowena is a spunky lady in waiting...for Dauntless to get married and the dreaded queen to shut up. Keep an eye out for us in the show. You won't miss us, we're always in a line. :)

As far as theatre goes, I did a lot of work when I was little at Dreamwrights in York. In high school, I never gave it a second thought until my thespian friends (hey Laura!) started to talk me into auditioning. Now, I love the experience of theatre. The people and the energy bring me back every year.

Dance magic dance

Musical auditions are, in a word: insane! Be ready to prepare a comedic monologue, a song, read from the script, sing from the script, and dance dance dance. (Or die!)

Everyone sweated it out by learning the Spanish Panic inbetween their auditions.

I never learned a dance routine in my life. And anyone who has been to a high school dance knows that all you need to know is how to 'grind.' Wrong. There is a lot more to dancing than that raunchy move.

We had three spunky dancers teach us step by step how to panic spanishly. By the end of the night, even the big tough guys were spinning and kicking their legs.

Now, every Sunday from 1-4, the cast gathers onstage to learn different dance moves. Anyone can shake their hips, but learning choreographed moves takes determination.

It's well worth it.

After last night's practice, I came home after three hours of dance...and instead of collapsing on the floor...I learned all the dance moves to Thriller.

There are vids online which help you learn all Mr. Jackson's dance moves. So impress your friends and get a glimpse of what musical dance practices are like:


Hi there!

This is the brand-spanking new production blog for Susquehannock High School Theatre’s production of Once Upon a Mattress. In the future you will find behind the scenes looks at what it takes to put together a “high school musical” (I wrote that just so that 3 million kids would find this blog in a Google search…), including looks at our actors, rehearsals, set building and what we do when we’re just goofing off!

We’ll have a variety of different bloggers, each of whom has a different take on what exactly is going on in the Richard Hupper Auditorium at Susquehannock! For more information on the production and SHS Theatre, check out our website at