Turning the spotlight on those behind the stage

| 30 Sep 2011 | 09:28

Goshen High School to perform World War II romance 'South Pacific’ Goshen — When the curtains open on the Goshen High School production of South Pacific on March 25, this year’s Tony for supporting cast should go to the stage crew. This is the third time the high school has produced “South Pacific.” The first time was in 1964, during the reign of Goshen’s very own Music Man, Paul Wright, who produced the first 30 years of Broadway in Goshen. The second time was in 1998, during current director Lori Fedor’s second musical for the high school, starring Goshen middle school music teacher Bill Greene, who was a Goshen High School junior at the time. But according to director Lori Fedor, the 2011 version of “South Pacific” will be very different. “This year’s musical will feature rolling scene changes,” Fedor said. “The stage hands, prop-meisters and lighting techs will all have to be in sync as they change the scenes while the action continues.” In a recent cast meeting, Fedor went so far as to tell her actors to “be extremely respectful and appreciative of the stage crew and to try and stay out of their way. They have an incredibly difficult job this year.” Fedor added that during most productions, elaborate scene changes are made while the curtain is closed and the action continues in front of the main curtain. But not this year. The only time the main curtain will close is at the end of each act. Many think the job of the stage crew lasts only a few weeks during the latter part of the rehearsal schedule. Not so, says Roy Reese, retired superintendent of schools who remains the lighting designer for Goshen’s musicals. Reese said that as soon as the show for the year has been decided in mid-autumn, a group of the adult perennial helpers sit around and start brainstorming about sets and creating a vision for the show. Then it goes to storyboards to represent each scene and corresponding sets needed and then construction so that the sets are ready for the students when they get to the point of full run-throughs during March. It’s a formula that has worked well for a long time. This is Goshen’s 52nd consecutive year of high school musicals, and Reese’s 27th year. As a testament to how the spring musical has become a community event, it’s interesting to note how many adults are actively involved each year, long after their children have graduated. The community at-large is very involved as well, providing materials needed, unusual props and incredible support in advertising as part of the 80-plus page playbill. Don’t get the idea that the adults do all the tough stuff. There are two student stage managers, seniors Conor Hughes and Samantha Musumeci. When asked why they enjoy being part of the stage crew each year, both can count “South Pacific” as their third production, Conor replied “because of the teamwork. We have no room for egos here, some things take longer than others to get right, but with a little persistence, we get it all done.” Musumeci added that she “loves the buzz in the headsets, hearing all the chaos behind the scenes and watching it turn into a great show.” She also added that she loves bossing people around because it feels like such a family, albeit a big family of 60 some stage crew members. Tickets still available Limited seating is still available for “South Pacific” at Goshen High School. Show times are 7:30 p.m. on Friday, March 25, and Saturday, March 26; and 1 p.m. on Sunday, March 27. All seating is reserved. Call the high school office at 615-6100 for more information and to make arrangements to get your tickets.