Salem Students Take Stage
Salem High Presents Thoroughly Modern Millie
by Madison Borden
Theater is a place for self expression and each year students are able to bring this concept to life on stage. For the past three months, Salem High students have been in the process of creating a piece of theatrical art, one that takes the audience back to New York during the 1920s. The cast of over 40 actors and actresses have been hard at work practicing for opening night. Although the first day of the show has been long-awaited, there is a lot of preparation that goes into creating a unique and utterly captivating spectacle.
On Monday, October 24th, and Tuesday, October 25th, students eagerly waited outside of the auditorium to audition for roles. Each audition time is determined by filling out a previously selected time slot. When it is your turn, you sing a short section of a song from a chosen musical in front of the production coordinators. After everyone has gone, all performers are called back into the auditorium and are asked to do either a scene or a dance number as a group. This giant group number is able to help the director pick the best role(s) for each actor. Once both days of auditions are complete, a call back list is posted for actors and actresses that could fit into more than one role. Students then take callback music or scripts and go to a final day of auditions. By the end of the week, a finalized cast list is posted along with the date of the first rehearsal.
From the first audition until the day of the show, the entire cast and crew is put into overdrive. With this years production focusing on the 1920s, there are certain elements that needed to be integrated into the show’s design, one of which was tap dancing. Miss Cynthia, a paraprofessional at Salem High, offered free tap lessons to students who wanted to go more in depth with their dance routines. Seven sessions were offered with each lasting about an hour. Then, of course, there was also the crucial task of learning lines and songs and memorizing blocking and cues.
In November and early December, practices were held each day after school from 3 o’clock to around 5 o’clock. Within the initial two hour practices, everything was still in the beginning stages of development. But as the weeks dwindled away and time became more scarce, the show began to take shape and turn into a reality. The stage crew and the actors started to work on creating the set pieces, which involved lots of paint and time in the woodshop. As the set went up, actors were piecing together all the parts and started to prepare for full run-throughs of the show. By December break, all hands were on deck to load in outside set pieces and a plan was beginning to be laid for where everything would go.
With only a couple more days until the big night, this week will be filled with many important practices. Crew will start to set up mics as well as lighting and sound cues while the actors do full run throughs on stage with hair, costumes, and props. Last minute details will be added and the special touch that each cast member adds will make the show different from all the others. All of this could not have happened without the hard work and dedication of the director, Ms. Lianne Goodwin, who spent countless hours bringing this show to life. This is just one of the many shows that she has directed and the amount of time, energy, and passion she puts into each performance is clearly visible in the final product. The cast, crew, and director should be very proud of their outstanding efforts!
Thoroughly Modern Millie is a fantastic story about a young woman’s hope to find herself in the big city. Want to see a show that contains an abundance of tap dancing, singing, and talented students? Then this is the show for you! The show dates are Friday, January 20th and Saturday, January 21st at 7:30pm and Sunday, January 22nd at 2:00 pm in the Salem High School auditorium. Tickets are $12 general admission and $8 for students and seniors. You will thoroughly enjoy Thoroughly Modern Millie!