Live Oak —
The Suwannee High School Theater Department is in full swing and is taking on a big musical production this year to be presented in March. It’s headed up by third year drama teacher, Emily Bass.
The department is slated to perform the Tony Award & Pulitzer Prize winning musical comedy, “How to succeed in business without really trying.”
There are 29 drama students this year.
“We have a lot of new people,” said Bass. “We had a lot graduate last year, but we have a lot of new ones this year which is great because it keeps the program going. We’ve got a lot of newbies, but they’re doing great.”
Bass admits that it’s exciting and a bit crazy because the production is so big this year. She said there are 29 cast members compared to 14 from last year.
“Lot of kids to deal with every night,” Bass laughed. “And they’re all in it. It’s a big chorus show and the kids, a lot of them, they’re on stage most of the time.”
She added, “It’s a good chaos.”
Bass said the school has a glee club which some of the drama students are part of too.
“It’s some of the same kids, it overlaps,” said Bass. “We use the glee club as sort of a ‘feeder’ program for our musicals.”
Bass explained that musicals require not only singers, but often dancers as well and glee club also has that covered.
“Caitlin Hester who’s a junior this year has been taking dance lessons from Shannon McCook,” said Bass. “She does our choreography.”
She added that Jennifer Santana, also a junior and former color guard captain of the school band, also works with Hester in choreography.
Bass said the group will perform two shows.
“Those two performances will be for the community,” said Bass. “The Friday night show will be at seven and the Saturday show will be at two. We’ll have some school shows too.”
Bass said that they usually have a school performance for the students the week before the community-shown performances.
“Sometimes we even have the young kids come over,” said Bass. “Last year all of the elementary schools came over and brought their kids.”
Bass wasn’t sure if that would be appropriate for this production as theme theme is a bit more adult-oriented and more acceptable for high school kids.
In every play production, obviously not every one who auditions gets to play the lead or depending on the play’s list of characters, makes it to the stage at all. Is there something for everyone to be involved with?
“I give them the option, I ask them when they come in to audition,” said Bass. “If they aren’t cast, would they still be interested in working back stage.”
Bass said that most of the students are ready to jump in where they can as there are plenty of positions and things to do for their productions like props, building and painting the sets, costumes and the list goes on.
Once a production has run the course, it certainly isn’t break time.
“We start the year before,” said Bass. “As soon as we finish a show, we choose the next one.”
Bass explained that the students will research and look for potential productions they want to do and then present them in a “pitch” meeting-type setting to her. Then they have a group discussion and choose the favorite the school year before.
“Before we leave for summer break, we pretty much have it down,” said Bass. “And then when we come back, we start working.”
Bass said that through choosing the production prior to the fall of the following school year gives them a head start. Also, having the kids in class everyday gives them the pre-production advantage to work out any potential issues long before they would become real problems.
“We research costumes and when we get a little further into it, they’ll be building the sets and painting them and doing all the work,” said Bass.
The performances are coming soon for the spring. How are the kids doing?
“I keep telling them, it’s not as much time as they think,” said Bass. “We have 40 odd days and it just flies by,” she smiled.
The performances will be at the SHS auditorium at 1314 Pine Ave. SW, Live Oak, on March 22 at 7 p.m. and March 23 at 2 p.m. General admission is $7.