Klein Cain Theatre is set to perform their 3rd musical this January 24, 25, 30, 31, and Feb 1.
This past month, parts of Klein Cain Theatre, Orchestra, Band, and Choir have been tirelessly working in concert to prepare for January’s upcoming musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. Klein Cain Theatre is set to perform its 3rd musical on January 24, 25, 30, 31, and Feb 1. Shows start at 7PM on all dates.
The musical comedy—which is set to debut early January as a school preview and then as a real play the following weekend—features a fictional spelling bee set in Putnam Valley Middle School in which six quirky adolescents compete in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, run by three equally quirky grown-ups.
“All the kids in the musical are going through some kind of struggle but they all seem to bring it together in the Bee,” said Wilson Robinson, who plays Vice Principal Douglas Panch, a moderator in the spelling bee.
The company, which includes 12 cast members along with 17 backstage crew, will also boast a chorus of 27 and additional pit members that will play along with each song as the musical progresses. During the musical, one of Stage Manager Sara Davidson’s main tasks is to keep the all cast members and tech members on task and on schedule so that during January, the entirety of the company can perform error-free in front of hundreds of guests attending the show.
“So, as the stage manager, I am in charge of making sure that everyone is on task and working together to create the show to the best of their ability,” said Davidson. “I work with both tech and cast to make sure deadlines are being met, people are coordinating with each other, and that the directors are aware of what is going on.”
Based on the original musical, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, play written by both William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin, the musical, which features two acts, will be expected to have about 24 different musical numbers in which both the cast, chorus, and pit will play along with.
“So far, we’ve been practicing approximately three times a week but towards December, January, and the weeks leading up to the debut we practice every day,” said cellist Aidan Berg, who is excited to perform in the pit for his third time. “I’m most excited about performing. Musical performances are one of my favorite moments of the entire school year. It makes all of the rehearsing and practicing worth it.”
And with the variety of musical numbers included in the musical, there are many that Berg considers his favorites.
“So far, my favorite piece is Pandemonium because of the rhythmic variations in groove and feel,” Berg said.
In addition to pit members practicing nearly every day for the musical for up to two to three hours, other company members such as cast and crew also practice up to two to three hours after school as well as take time out of their weekends to practice from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.
“[Practice can] add up to at least 200 hours total,” said Charles Sexton, who plays William Barfee in the musical.
Other vital roles in the musical are the costume and prop designers, who spend countless hours planning, designing, and creating about fifty different costumes for each member to fit in with the set of the musical. By Jan. 10, those designers expect to be finished just in time before the first previews begin.
“It’s just a lot of planning and knowing exactly what people need,” said Ainsley O’Neil, who heads the design and creation of costumes for the musical.
And while designing costumes and props are imperative to the musical’s storyline, the set of the musical is also important, as it is what the guest first sees every time the curtain is unveiled. By unveiling to the audience their first glimpse of the story, the set also offers insight into how the characters will be set up in addition to important thematic details of the plot which not only keep guests engaged in the musical, but will also keep them guessing all throughout for hidden easter eggs.
“[My] responsibilities range from managing after school volunteers to making sure that the final set is both safe and practical, but the most important job of the set head is to make sure that the visions of the directors are carried out seamlessly,” set head Sohaib Raja said. “After musical rehearsals get started, I believe that it’ll take around a little over a month to build a majority of the set and compared to most musicals that is fairly quickly. The reason I believe this to be the case is because we now have a lot of students that take the time to come in after school to help with set construction, and, due to their commitment, I think that we’ll have the set ready a lot quicker than before.”
Raja said he also believes that during the process of building the set, both he and his team will work incredibly hard on set to fulfill the director’s vision of what the musical should look like.
“Our technicians will work very diligently in order to complete the set,” said Raja. “From my past experience in theatre, I have noticed that the people who come after school and the members of the crew all contribute a lot to the final set, so I assume that this time will be mo different and I will be very appreciative of my team and their work.”
Before previews begin, those such as Davidson as well as the company are aiming to make sure that everything ultimately plays out flawlessly on stage when previews and actual showings begin.
“I am nervous but excited about how the musical will come together,” Davidson said. “We have an amazing company and set of directors who all want the show to be a success so I just can’t wait to see how that plays out on stage. Musical season is one of my favorite times of the year because although it’s a lot of work, it is so fun and totally worth it.”
For more information on the musical or for pre-ordering tickets, visit KleinCainTheatre.net