Setting the Stage for the Musical


Musical rehearsals are officially underway for the 2018-2019 school year, and the cast for the Addams Family is in full preparation mode for the debut date of November 1st.  The play will be staring seniors Harlie Delay, Jackson Welsh, and Abby Elliott as Wednesday Addams, Gomez Addams, and Morticia Addams, respectively.  

The Abilene High School musical has been a long term event that showcases all the fine art talents of AHS students.  Students do not have to be “theatre kids” to be able to participate in the musical.  The musical is meant to include all, meaning that there is no level of talent that is unwelcome.  Students do not have to be a professional singer or actor to participate.  In fact, students don’t even have to be musically inclined to help with the production because so much more goes into the musical than singers and actors to make it the illustrious event that is has become.  

Many students work behind the scenes with the stage lights, the sound effects, and the transitioning of scenes to make the musical run as smoothly as possible.  The background music that accompanies the main stage acts is also comprised of a collection of band students.  The musical is a literal amalgamation of AHS talent and hard work both onstage and behind the scenes, which is what makes each year’s production a must-see event.  

However, the audience may not completely recognize how much time and effort is actually put into the stage production.  The show may only last for approximately two hours over a span of a few nights, but that time put into comparison to the two full months of rehearsals prior to opening night is the truly amazing part.  

Rehearsals officially commenced on September 4th of this year, and the cast was introduced to their assigned character, which had been posted on the cast list after school on August 31st.  Rehearsals typically start off with reviewing the script independently and then as a group.  As students begin to memorize their lines and songs, stage blocking (the coordinated arrangement of where actors stand and move to and from) is soon introduced.  Dance numbers are then meticulously choreographed and set to music as rehearsals progress towards opening night.  When asked how rehearsals were progressing, senior Jackson Welsh commented, “[The rehearsals]  are coming along alright.  The music sounds really good.  We have a very vocally talented ensemble so when we all sing together it sounds great.”  

The students managing the lights and sounds are also quickly trained to recognize cues and the students in the pit are conditioned to play music that adds to the intended tone of the scene.  Costumes, backdrops, and props are all crafted and painted by students or else donated by the local theatre.  

Rehearsals can last from around 6:30 pm to late in the night.  Many of the cast members are juniors and seniors, meaning that they have quite the workload from school already, and some cast members have part time jobs on top of all that.  The musical plus school plus work most often equals late nights and little sleep.  To be a part of the musical is not for the faint of heart.  It takes finely tuned time management skills, flexibility, and perseverance to balance the workload.