The Road to Opening Night: Step One, Choosing the Show
Emmaus High School Junior Chrissy Cilento gives a behind the scenes look at the process of pulling together the EHS spring musical. It all starts with selecting the show.
Special to Emmaus Patch By Chrissy Cilento, Emmaus High School Junior
Everyone can describe a stage as seen on opening night, with lights glaring and energetic performers putting their all into a scene. What people aren’t as familiar with, however, is the long process leading up to opening night. As a junior at Emmaus High School and the proud secretary of the Drama Department, I like to think I have a pretty good grasp on how things work in our theater program.
It all starts out with picking the show. This step is designated for our directors Mrs. (Jill) Kuebler and Ms. (Rita) Cortez, however that doesn’t mean that we students don’t get involved. We speculate and brainstorm and reason until our heads explode from the anticipation of knowing what the show will be. Rumors fly freely, most of them false. In reality, we never really know what the show for the following season will be. Ms. Cortez and Mrs. Kuebler keep it all very hush-hush, discussing these top secret matters in low voices behind closed doors, with kids’ ears pressed up to the glass.
Having known Mrs. Kuebler and Ms. Cortez for several years, I know that their personalities and tastes aren’t identical. Luckily, Mrs. Kuebler says that this doesn’t get in the way of choosing shows, as their relationship remains respectful on both a professional and personal level at all times.
The fact that Ms. Cortez and Mrs. Kuebler have certain criteria that they look for in shows also helps keep the tension away. In general, they look for varied shows, both in mood and time period, so that we drama geeks can graduate familiar with a multitude of genres. In fact, they keep a running list of shows that they want to perform in future years. Ironically, Guys and Dolls was not on this list. It came to the directors out of the blue, but they recognized it as a great fit. With Sweeney Todd and Phantom of the Opera putting us in somewhat dismal moods, Guys and Dolls’ upbeat energy was a pleasant change for us all. In fact, the running joke this year is that no one dies in Guys and Dolls, which is definitely a new concept for us all.
As it turns out, Guys and Dolls really was a great choice. Now that the show is coming together, we all appreciate the lightheartedness and comedy in its plot and the relative simplicity of its harmonies, at least compared to the torturous numbers we were used to in Sweeney and Phantom. I can say with confidence that the show will be a blast to perform.
Guys and Dolls will run April 11-14 at 7 p.m. and April 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets are available in the main office or can be reserved online at www.eastpennsd.org/ehs. Prices are $10 for students/senior citizens and $12 for adults. EPSD Gold Card holders must present their Gold Card in the main office in person in order to receive a complimentary ticket for the matinee.
Chrissy Cilento, a junior at Emmaus High School, plans to study journalism in college. She is a periodic contributor to Patch.