By Ariel Moyal
The Alameda High School musical, “Guys and Dolls,” premiered March 6 in the historic Kofman Theater to rave reviews. The production, set in the 1950s, is a period piece centered around two romantic leads and a lot of gambling, with flashy costumes, colorful sets and big group numbers.
To get the intricate production audience-ready, the actors, ranging from brand new beginners to seasoned veterans, practiced for months straight, even rehearsing from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. the weekend before the premier. An Oak Leaf reporter shadowed the cast and crew as they rehearsed. Following is an account of what she witnessed.…………………………………………………………………………….
It’s two weeks until show. People run on and off stage in a panic. Megan McKinley, the musical’s director, shouts direction and instruction from the house as the stage crew rushes to follow the cues. The piano plays the bare bones of the songs as people sing in their street clothes. In the months before the show opens, rehearsals progress from separate dance and music rehearsals to full-blown run throughs.
Senior Anvita Lakshmish explains the routine of rehearsals closer to the show. “ We come here and do dance warm-ups, vocal warm-ups and then full run-throughs of the show. We usually have three hours of rehearsal but closer to the show we have around five to six hours.”
“[The musical] is extremely overwhelming. It’s hard to find time to do anything else,” explained Cody Adams, a senior who has been in every musical since his freshman year here.
Some performers have dedicated even more of their after-school time to activities on top of the demanding musical schedule. Many students, such as Ada Hoch-Schneider, Terrence Li and Elma Tudjinovic, have an additional practice before rehearsal.
Tudjinovic, a sophomore and second-year drama student, says, “It is a little overwhelming because I also do track and I have a lot of homework. But it’s all working out. I make sure to do my homework before I do anything else.”
Freshman Terrence Li comes straight from swim practice to rehearsal, which ends at 10. “I basically spend 14 hours at school.”
Senior Ada Hoch-Schneider is involved in the dance class at AHS in addition to her role in the musical. “I’m actually in the dance show for AHS as well. Two days out of the week I get out of school and go to dance rehearsals until 5 and then theater rehearsal from 5 to 10. Then, after 10, I either cry or do my homework.”
The cast, filled with seasoned actors as well as newcomers to the stage, is united through their love of performing. Adams explained that he “lights up” everytime he gets a laugh from the audience.
“I joined drama freshman year and I just kind of fell in love with being onstage and being around such talented people and learning from them,” Lakshmish said. “I love going piece by piece and seeing how the final product comes out.”
The long rehearsals are not all business. A lot of the students cited making bonds with the people in the show and spending time with friends as their favorite part of the whole production.
“The cast really feels like family. They’re always really supportive and they’re fun. I look forward to coming to rehearsal every night,” said Li.
For the students who started this long process more than four months ago, the grueling hours are made worth it by the bonds between the cast members and the hope at the end of the tunnel, the exhilarating feeling of performing before an audience.