Tuesday, May 19, 2009

08-09 A Season in Review

Now that we've approached the end of the 2008-2009 season, I thought it would be a good idea to look back and see what Susquehannock Theatre accomplished in the past season. This entire season was like a whirlwind of craziness, which took us to a lot of places we hadn't yet dared to go.

Whether anyone knew it or not, the season actually began at Starbucks, with our plucky little band of playwrights beginning to work on their one-act plays for Playground. We began late in the 07-08 season and carried on into the summer, with the playwrights working on their ideas and plotlines for their one acts. But we'll get back to them later.

Of course most everyone's year actually started with auditions for Romeo and Juliet. Half of the actors still thought me to be crazy up to this point due to the whole "Set in Texas, post Civil War deal". I dealt with everyone thinking I was crazy pretty well, I think.

Romeo and Juliet afforded us the chance to finally get a classic show under our belts and do it with style. Add to that some special instruction from our fight choreographer and some Civil War Dancers, and we learned to do quite a lot of new things. That's not to say that everything about R&J was perfect. No one will ever forget opening night, or what would be dubbed "Snowmeo and Juliet"! Ice all over the place and actors stranded here, there and everywhere! Then there was Paris' death scene with the gun that refused to shoot...but what can you do?

Next stop on the schedule was a performance of R&J at the Pennsylvania State Thespian Conference at Butler High School. Load up the 2 story set, put all the actors in a yellow bus because they overbooked the coach buses and head 4 hours up the road! Fun in any weather, but even better when it started to snow!

After several hours of hair pulling and trying to work out everything on a smaller stage (and without the same lighting setup), we performed R&J before a huge audience who loved the show! We put our best foot forward, and though we didn't move on to the national conference, we wouldn't have traded that performance in front of that awesome crowd of our peers for anything!

Right after Butler (the next day to be precise), came auditions for LES MISERABLES! Never have I seen the school so excited about a show! And I've never seen that much talent during an audition week. We were so worried that we wouldn't have enough great male singers to do the show, but they showed up, and we made a lot of theatre converts in the process. Auditions finished up and I teased the cast list for a few days to the consternation of many. What can I say, I wanted it to be perfect...and I wanted the actors to learn patience...haha.

So on we adventured into Les Mis, with Kate starting early in January on vocals & at just before we began blocking the show, we presented our night of student written and directed one act plays, Play Ground. Though the whole thing had a rocky birthing process (writers had a hard time getting scripts in, directors couldn't gather their casts all at one time, people dropped out, people didn't know when practices were), the whole thing came together and we were lucky to celebrate the first performances of some great one act plays: Freak Show by Caitlin Furio and directed by Kyle Dobry, The Fiberglass Ceiling by Drew Slattery directed by Ariel Cowger, Dinner for Six by Brandon Cwalina directed by Niall Carmichael, Unclaimed Baggage by Lily Kotansky directed by Zoe (where's the umlaut??) Heatwole, and Rocketman by Laura Dzwonczyk directed by Mia Wentworth. All of these plays were exemplary and showed that there's more than just a play and a musical going on with these SHS theatre folk...

Anyways...after that, back to Les Mis: blocking and singing, blocking and singing, some dancing, and worry. Worry about the set, or lack therof at the beginning of March. But as always, I was wetting myself over nothing. Joe came in, laid down that revolving stage and we were off to the races!

Les Miserables opened and it was what we all wanted it to be: A big success. Sure the auditorium may not have been sold out, but just one night of show had more people there that an entire run of some of our other musicals. Susquehannock was at one time a big dog among the county's high schools, and Les Mis proved that we still had it, and were determined to keep it. Rave reviews came in from everyone, and had we been able to do another weekend of shows, we certainly would have had a packed house.

Next stop was the Thespian Society Inductions, and thanks to our performance at Butler, a boatload of people were eligible to join, swelling our ranks by nearly 30 members! A banner year!

Of course that's not to say it was all over. We had one more performance left to do, at the York County HS Theatre Awards (The Rosies) where Kelly Chick performed "I dreamed a Dream" and the entire cast performed "One Day More". Again we got some love, and also walked out with the Adjudicator's Award of Excellence (Judge's Award)!

This season's gonna be a hard one to top, but I'm sure 2009-10 is gonna be even bigger and better! And looking at this post...I think I'm gonna need a nap.