Today we had a great workshop led by our fight choreographer Kristin Fernandez, who taught the kids how to safely “fight” on stage. The lost boys and pirates have a big fight scene, and I knew this was one task I did not have enough experience in, so I brought in Kristin. Kristin and I have worked previously on three shows together and it is always a great collaboration, we work well off of each other’s ideas and creativity.
I say this over and over, but I always want to give my students the best experience possible, and this includes learning from other professionals, like Kristin. This show is having a lot of great collaboration efforts from people I have been fortunate enough to bring in. Our musical director Spencer Croswell is doing an amazing job working with the vocals, and getting the kids signing like pros. Christy Boyd, our choreographer, has been dancing the pants off of these kids, and making their dance numbers look great! The technical side of things is going really well and our Artistic Designer, David Robertson, and Technical Director, Steve Rossi, have already started the crew on building the gorgeous set, which includes a waterfall! Add in next week’s flight company coming in, and we are going to have one stellar show! I may be biased, but I am excited to share this amazing show with our community. Don’t forget to reserve your tickets; we are getting a lot of reservations already!
Here are two videos from today’s fight workshop, enjoy !
The past week a bunch of the cast members, and others from the Theatre Arts Department, had the opportunity to attend and compete at the FL State Thespian Theatre Assessment, and we all had a wonderful time. There are almost 8,000 theatre students who come to this festival to take workshops, be assessed in many different theatre categories and also audition for college scholarships. We are allowed to take 5 events to be assessed, and we received 3 superiors, the best rating, and two excellents, the next best ratings. We are very proud of our performers!
As luck may have it, the flight company we will be working with, in two weeks, was hosting a flight workshop at the festival. Here is a sneak peak video of our Peter Pan and Michael getting a lesson in the magic of theatrical flying.
Once upon a time, a lovely drama-mamma, named Mrs. Duprey, told all her delightful little school children they would be performing the musical “Peter Pan”. After the rambunctious hoots and hollers had past and the clapping and cheers had ceased, the exalted children realized what this truly meant. Some of these students, four to be exact, would have the chance to float freely over the majestic stage.
The thought of flying enthralled all of us but as we got deeper into rehearsals with blocking, however we found ourselves saying things such as, “We’ll figure it out when the flying company gets here,” and “Does the flying company take care of that?” Relying heavily on their knowledge for a massive dynamic of the show, you can imagine the state of shock that stormed the drama room when we discovered that the company could not work with us because of legalistic issues.
The drama-mamma and devastated school children were stuck in a place of limbo in which they could not escape. We worried, “How could we fly,” “Peter has to fly… doesn’t he?” Well the standards of the Merritt Island High Drama Program decreed flying necessary. Low and behold after some time of doubting and sleepless nights, the second flying company (Halls Asso. Flying FX) had been approved by the school board!
Alas! There was peace in the drama room, our problems had been solved! With such a production as this, there truly is so much at stake. All of the cast was humbled and given a huge incentive to work harder knowing we would have the privilege to perform “Peter Pan” as it should be. And we lived happily ever after!
We would like to sincerely thank Hall Associates Flying FX for all that they have to done to help us put on the amazing show! We could have never done it without you! If your considering renting flying equipment, please, please visit www.flyingfx.com.
A lot of special things have been going on in Neverland this past week! Last week a lot of our rehearsals were devoted to perfecting our company numbers, vocally, because last Saturday we recorded these numbers. The main reason we decided to try this (for the first time ever,) is because most of the company numbers only require a few people onstage. Instead of having everyone onstage at once and being overcrowded, we did the recordings so we can have the full sound of the company but not all the bodies onstage. We would have the full effect of the 60 voices with only 15 people onstage, and we are so excited for you all to experience it!
On Saturday, with recording, we also had a yard sale at school. The yard sale was another fundraiser for us, and what fun we had! The whole cast was there, plus other students who support the drama program. Some of us got there at about 6AM in the morning and stayed to help until 12PM. Those few hours we managed to raise almost $1,000! Along with that, we are starting a singing telegram fundraiser at our school for St. Patrick’s Day.
Rehearsals this week have been running through everything. The show is slowly coming together and it is amazing to see. The lost boys are becoming more childish, the pirates are even scarier, and all the characters are starting to come to life. Personally, this is one of my favorite parts of putting together a show, when everything is falling together in the right way and you start to see a show. I am so excited for all of you to witness this amazing show and join our adventure.
The great experiences that come along with being a part of the cast of Peter Pan the Musical seem to never cease. Our directors came up with the brilliant idea of recording the ensemble’s vocals to play in the background of some of the songs that didn’t require many people. Since not all of us will be on stage all at one time, this will bring more voices to the scene. Rather than there just being 5-10 people singing, the audience will hear what sounds like 30-40 voices.
The process of recording was something that I am so glad I got to experience. I am extremely thankful that our theatre program was willing to provide this luxury for us; it’s not every day that students get to experience firsthand a professional recording system. This process of recording wasn’t just thrown together out of the blue; we had to rehearse vigorously, because if anyone messed up, the microphones would definitely pick it up, and then someone’s voice crack or wrong note would echo throughout the theater.
We began the recording process by taking a few rehearsal days to review our music and singing to make sure we had a lockdown on everything from harmonies to melodies, because again I remind you, one simple mistake could be amplified throughout the whole production, and it would NOT be pretty. After we were all confident in ourselves and filled with excitement for what was sure to be in store for us, we began recording on Saturday. Our music director, Spencer split the guys and girls to be recorded separately (I, being a tenor and a girl, was sent to record with the guys.) We went in first, and I must say that it was very nerve-racking, without the girls singing with you it was kind of difficult to find your note and stay accurate throughout the song, now this is coming from someone who, in no way shape or form is talented in the respect of singing, so it may have just been me who felt this way but after a few practice rounds I got used to just the male vocals and everything worked out well.
Recording seems, from the outside to be difficult but really it’s just a matter of …
STAY QUIET, absolutely no noise because the microphones WILL pick it up.
Sing your heart out when its time but watch the music director at all times, this ensures no mess-ups, and gives you some confidence as well
Know your lyrics, mumbled words and unsure tones do not sound good when recorded
Project, especially when there are only a few of you singing in your vocal range, you don’t want the baritones or the sopranos to outshine you!
When the song is finished STAY QUIET, you don’t want to be that person to mess up the entire recording at the end
Every song turned out great and I was relieved when the pressure was off and no longer did I have to know or rehearse those songs. Recording for this show was something that I wish everyone had the opportunity to experience, this is just another reason out of the many why I love and appreciate the Merritt Island Theatre Arts program, they provide us with such great opportunities that we can take with us into our careers and even for the rest of our lives.
To say I was excited for my first choreography rehearsal was a bit of an understatement. Last year, I was cast as Mrs. Potts which had a costume that kept me from showing off my sweet dance skills! I walked into the rehearsal hearing our lovely choreographer, Christy’s voice which only brought upon more anxiousness to start the dancing. Well, needless to say dancing was harder than expected, even though the steps looked effortless when Christy did them. It wasn’t that the actual dance was hard, it was hard to act, dance, and sing all at the same time. I felt like I was trying to thread needle while sky diving. I am by no means a triple threat, I’m barely a double threat but I thought I would at least be able to do this!
Eventually, I got the hang of it and it was worth the frustration. I just had to take some being laughed at and I had to learn to laugh at myself and persevere. A part of me misses the complacency of my big ole’ Mrs. Potts costume but hopefully I will fit right in with my new Pirate winch corset and be able to have the fancy moves to go with it! The experience really showed me how difficult it could be to multitask those three, and it made me have a lot more respect for those whom I already had much admiration for.
Hopefully when you watch the show we will make it look easy peasy and it will make you want to take on the challenge of musical theatre yourself. I have to say, taking on the hobby or activity of musical theatre has taken me on a roller coaster of challenges and ups and down but every time it ends, I always want to get back in line!
On Thursday, February 21st, we had one of our many fundraisers to help offset the costs of Peter Pan. In conjunction with our Fine Arts Academy, the Theatre Arts Department held a showcase of talents; photography, paintings, sculptors, videos, songs, dances and acting pieces were all presented. We had 21 acts ranging from group musicals, put together in Mrs. Duprey’s musical theatre class, to solos and acting pieces of students who will be representing Merritt Island High School at the State FL Thespian Festival in March. The students had a great time showing off, but the audiences had even more fun; we are really appreciative of the audience members who support our art programs. We raised a good $350.00 that night, every penny counts! We would like to send out a big thanks to Mr. Dennis Huff for providing such beautiful pictures!
You may have heard some harsh things about the theatre world as a whole; the dog eat dog competitive nature that often scares potential stage moms out of their wits! However, no one can deny once in a production, how tightly nit a cast becomes. It is most definitely a love hate relationship but never the less a relationship worth having and investing time in. When you are a very passionate person and you are working on a project you invest hard work in and your fellow cast mates are doing the same thing, you learn to set your personality differences aside and genuinely respect your fellow cast mates for their work ethic and talent. Having this respect and pride in one’s show is so important when tech week rolls around, especially when you are running on no sleep and want to scream if you here “that dang song one more time!”
I can’t tell you the number times I’ve had a really bad day durning school and nothing has truly been able to turn it around except making a good ole harmony at rehearsal. As a teenage girl in high school you’ll have your share of rough days and nothing has helped keep me more grounded than theatre. Like an athlete who finds escape through athletics, I find complete happiness in singing and dancing with my cast, who, as time continues, will become a home away from home, and a family. I thoroughly appreciate it, though like any human being we get frustrated with each other. Never the less, we will never give up and never expect less then the best because we owe it to each other, and out of respect to the art, we will always give our best.