After school on April 25, students in Wilcox High School’s Theater Productions class gathered at the Mission City Center for Performing Arts to prepare for Wilcox Stage Company’s (wilcox.schoolloop.com/theater) “Grease,” running from May 11 to May 19. Performers warmed up their vocal chords by singing “bumble bee” from low to high keys. Dancers, which included English teacher Rosella Guttadauro, practiced movements to the song “Stupid Cupid.” Emily Janusz, 15, and Nicholas Reyes, 15, worked on a light plot by mapping out the times that lights needed to go on during the show. Jessica O’Gorman, 16, who will play Sandy, and Jon Moorwood, 18, who will play Danny, rehearsed the choreography of a scene.
“The purpose of this class is to put on theater productions,” said Claire Robson, director, production manager and instructor for the Theater Productions class. “Each student is given a role. They need to see the role through to contribute to the production. Students get to pick what they want to do. Students learn communication skills and management skills.”
Many students in the class provided valuable contributions as crew members, even if they’re not on stage as cast members.
During the April 25 meeting, Angelica Luna, 17, was busy working with O’Gorman and Moorwood on their scene. Luna was part of the high school’s drill team for two years.
“I’ve done the dance choreography of this show,” said Luna, who choreographed a number of dance numbers for the show, some with other students. “In class, when Ms. Robson wants me to ‘clean’ a number, I go over it by counts and do repetitive steps with my peers. When someone needs extra help on certain days, I’d help them.”
At the beginning of the afternoon, Karlin Weisinger, 17, guided a group of her classmates through vocal warm ups.
“As vocal director, I’m in charge of getting the cast to sing,” Weisinger said. “A lot of the cast members don’t read music so I show them what they’re supposed to be singing. I sing for them sometimes and sometimes it’s more about teaching them about voice techniques, like how to control their breath. Sometimes when someone can’t quite reach the notes, we can change the key the music is in. Sometimes we can work on breathing exercises to help the cast members hit those notes.”
Zoey Martin, 18, has been with the Wilcox Stage Company for four years.
“I assist with the technical director and we make sure that everyone is doing their job and that we’re on top of schedule; we talk to people in making sure that the structures we build are safe.” Martin said. “I was also one of the set designers. There were a few people I worked with. We each decided to take one scene and map out how we liked it. One of the scenes I did was Marty’s bedroom. Mostly, I did a lot of woodworking. From this experience, I learned quite a bit.”
The Wilcox Stage Company would like to borrow 1950s-style cars so people coming to see the show can be in pictures with them—taken on Kodak Polaroid cameras of course. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details on how to help.