Making The Musical

An inside look at the ‘Matilda’ production


Photo: Grace McLaughlin

Ms. Wyatt and actors work on a scene.

Opening night is finally here. Finishing touches are done and the lights dim. Music starts playing and the curtains open. Despitethesmoothstart,theperformers are busy backstage.
“I’m usually running around like a crazy person, fixing people’s hair, making sure their mics are on and stuff like that,” Director Meleesa Wyatt said. “It’s exciting, thrilling and quite terrifying. Then the show starts and it’s so much fun.”
On May 12, the cast and crew of the spring musical performed “Matilda” for families and peers. Running the show without complications wasn’t just about what happened backstage during the performance, but the student’s preparation as well.
“Once the show is cast, we use class to rehearse. For a musical we start with the music,” Wyatt said.
While COVID-19 hasn’t been as big a concern as the last two years, it still has an effect on the rehearsals.
“The singing is kind of interrupted by the masks, but we work around it,” Abby Popchuk, the seventh grader playing Matilda, said.
A little under two weeks before the final show, some of the cast contracted COVID-19, meaning they would miss the week that the Stagecraft and Play Production students work together to rehearse cues and other technical elements.
“Having COVID made tech week a stressful situation.I missed the majority of it,” eighth grader Paige Johnson said.
COVID-19 wasn’t the only challenge the students faced. There were many parts to the production from the music, dancing and acting, and putting them together can be difficult.
“It’s a lot of plan, plan, execute the plan. There’s also all this magic that’s going on at the same time,” Wyatt said. “In my opinion, both things have to be there for it to be a successful production.”
The performers are only one side of the production.
“We [Stagecraft] build the set and set it up along with working with the actors,” Harlan Wise, an eighth grader in Stagecraft, said.
Making the musical come to life takes a lot of organizing and effort. Wyatt shared that with eighteen people in Play Production and twelve people in Stagecraft, making sure everyone works toward the same goal of telling the story was tough.
“It’s a very godlike undertaking,” Wyatt said. “You have your script, and you have the people you are working with, and you put those things together, and you make something that didn’t exist before.”