Twilight Players Presents: How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying

By: Matthew Seaver, Web Editor

The Twilight Players held their opening night for their spring musical, “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying” on Thursday.

The show follows J. Pierpont Finch and takes a satirical look at the climbing of the corporate ladder in the 1960’s.

Although the audiences saw the show for the first time on opening night, there is a lot that has to happen to make the show run smoothly.

The process begins the January of the academic year prior to show. This allows for there to be time to plan out what will be needed to make the show work — whether it be props or budgets.

Once the shows for the year have been decided on, the planning begins. This process includes figuring out what scripts will be needed and how they will be obtained and what research needs to be done to understand how the show will be laid out.

A majority of this research is devoted to deciding what elements of other productions worked or did not work and then taking that and creating the show.

To help the show run smoothly, there is also research on the era and history so the cast can better understand the show’s direction. For this particular musical, the show’s director, Gianna Fregosi, said that there was less an emphasis on that and more on the style for the show — in this case, the show was “Mad Men” styled.

When summer comes around, some of the most important parts of the show come together.

In this stage of the process, preparation of rehearsals for both the fall and spring shows begin. It is also when other theatres are contacted in hopes that the Twilight Player will be able to borrow some props for the shows if it is necessary.

Fregosi says, “Every show is different every show requires a different kind of approach.”

However, musicals are put together a little bit differently than a regular play.

Like any other play, the next step is set design. Set design is important because it decides what the space is that the actors will have to work with, and it may affect what kind of actors would be needed for the show.

Auditions begin and the cast is begins to take shape.

Fregosi says that, for a musical, she looks for three things during an audition: dancing, vocals and acting.

As the cast gets narrowed, they will begin to perform scenes and music from the shows before the final cast is decided.

“I had probably the strongest cast of student performers that have come out for auditions for the six years that I have been teaching here,” Fregosi said.

She also mentioned how it can be difficult to put a cast together even when you have great actors and actresses because the chemistry might not be right or their voices clash.

For rehearsals, Fregosi says, every director is different. Musicals, for Fregosi, are focused heavily on the songs and the choreography. She estimates that about two thirds of the rehearsal time is dedicated to the musical aspect of the show with the other third being scene work.

Over the course of the ten weeks of rehearsal, the final four weeks are the when the show is run in its entirety.

In the final stage of rehearsals, the cast will run the show like they would in front of a live audience. With full makeup hair and costume, Fregosi says that it helps the actors really figure out what their characters are and the nuances of the scenes.

The final stage creating of the show is the actual production. Before the show, the actors arrive at 5:30 p.m. Once they have arrived, they begin hair and makeup, get fitted for the microphones, then they finish all the costume and character appearance.

The longest part is sound check. Each actor has to have their sound checked individually, then as a whole, then against the band to make sure that both can be heard without drowning each other out.

At 7:15 p.m., everyone needs to be ready, and at 7:30 p.m., the show starts.

Because the show is a school production, there is a lot of student involvement. Fregosi estimates that there are upwards of 50 students involved in all aspects of this production.

One of those students is Andrew Clark. Clark is the assistant director for the production. In that role, he is responsible for giving the cast directions during rehearsals.

Clark says he dabbled in theatre as a child but did not really fall into it until his senior year of high school with the show “Hairspray”.

“It was really that one show that brought me back into theatre,” Clark said.

This is Clark’s first encounter with the musical “How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying”, but, he says, since learning about what the show was going to be, he has learned everything he can about the show.

The primary choreographer and an actress in the musical is Carina Alden. Alden plays the roles of secretary Kathy, a scrubwoman and Wickette Girl.

This musical is Alden’s first time doing choreography and she enjoyed doing it. She said the piece in the show that she is most proud of is the scene, “Brotherhood of Man.”

Alden said that one of the harder parts of acting is remembering the lines but that, “It helps when you meet up with a person you have scenes with.”

Alden says that it is a major part of theatre for actors and actresses that are working together to help each other with lines.

For Ryan Sweatt, this is his second show with the Twilight Players. He plays myriad roles from executive to television announcer.

He got hooked on the world of theatre when he got a lead role in the third grade and has been doing theatre ever since. Having done everything from production to acting he says, “The hardest part about doing a show is looking at the big picture and figuring out how you‘re going to build it with the time that you have.”

Senior Elizabeth Sousa, who plays Smitty, was first involved with theater in the sixth grade and did not transition from backstage to onstage until her freshman year at LSC in the production of “Pippin.”

The difficult part for Sousa is, “the confidence after going off book that you know all your lines and you know all your cues.”

The lead role of J. Pierpont Finch is played by freshman Travis Hunt.

Hunt began performing his junior year of high school with his most memorable performance being his final high school performance of “Rent”.

For Hunt, the hardest part of performance is, “The amount of songs and lines there are to memorize”, he continued saying, “The more I think about it, the more I get tripped up.”

The musical opened Thursday night and will run until Sunday.

The Friday and Saturday shows begin at 7:30 p.m. and the Sunday show begins at 2 p.m.

Admission is by donation and LSC students may attend for free.

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