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The student news site of ADM High School

Black & (Red)gister

The student news site of ADM High School

Black & (Red)gister

The Winter Musical is Newsies

Photo by Mason Willms
Planning for a musical production is work Mrs. Longman has been doing this for a long time. Longman said, ” I have had a lot of opportunities to grow and learn from every production.”

Newsies has been chosen as our schools 2024 winter musical. This is a very unique musical as it relies a lot on dancing. This is why they held auditions for not only singing but dancing as well. Because this is a very unique musical I asked the director of the musical Mrs. Longman about how this musical was chosen.

The process of picking a musical is not as simple as you might think. There is a lot of decision making that goes on in the background that not a lot on people know about.

Mrs. Longman said, “choosing a show especially when it is a musical requires a little bit of forethought, but one of my goals is to expose students to a variety of different types of musicals.” She also thinks about who will audition for productions.

After the production is chosen everything else needs to be planned. This normally happens over the summer, but there is still a lot of planning to be done.

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Mrs. Longman said, “I will do a lot of work on designing a set after thinking about the setting and our particular stage space and how I can best represent what is best for the show in the space that we have, and on our budget.” The musical also is different because it has casting be done the season before which helps the directors plan for choreography and blocking.

Mrs. Longman is not only the director of our schools theatrical productions. Mrs. Longman is also an English teacher, and balancing the two can be hard without proper planning.

Mrs. Longman said, “It is a big work load because even in the fall I tend to spend five to ten hours every week outside of rehearsal working on paperwork and planning for crew.” These productions are a big time investment and if we were to do a musical for every production than Mrs. Longman might honestly get burnt out. Mrs. Longman said “as far as how do I balance it is a little bit easier now that I have been teaching for a longer bit of time just because I don’t have as much content to build from scratch for what happens in my classroom.” her family does not see her much from August to November.

Newsies is an interesting choice for a musical, and the reason why it was pick is also quite interesting.

Mrs. Longman said, ” I fell in love with the original Newsies movie as a kid, so it has been on my bucket list for a long time, but it requires pretty strong group of male roles and it typically is done with a lot of dancing.” This sounds like a problem but in reality it wasn’t. Mrs. Longman said, ” we have a few more male performers than we have in the past, and I’m going to try to bring in a dance troop to fill that dance portion of the show.”

This production is different from previous production that ADM has done in the past. The reason it is different is because this production is heavy on dancing. Mrs. Longman was nervous because of this, but she had a plan.

Mrs. Longman said, “I am rehearsing a dance group that does not appear with the ensemble most of the scenes, but will only come into fill the dancing moments of those few key numbers.” There were a total of ten people who auditioned to be in this dance group.

Auditions are a big part of the process of a musical because they decide how the musical will look. Mrs. Longman takes a lot of time to consider who plays who.

Mrs. Longman said, “I have to not only think about who has the ability to act this role, but who also has the singing demand of that piece, and they are not always the same people.” Another big thing is that you get picked to play the role you’re best at which could be small or big. Mrs. Longman said, ” I always tell people who are doing this for the first time casting is never a list from most talented to least talented and then list roles from biggest to smallest you have to match what each persons strengths are and how well they can fit the character regardless of the size of a role.”

Scheduling is another challenge that the directors of these productions have to deal with. The reason this is a challenge is because you have to rely on other people. The directors sometimes have to make hard choices on how to schedule different things.

Mrs. Longman said, “Scheduling is hard because everyone in the show has another activity or job that they are trying to fulfill. I think it comes down to asking people to prioritize the show and compromise with other activity’s.” She usually tries to plan for evenings after athletic practices are done so people in sports can do both of their activities.

Mrs. Cassel has been helping Mrs. Longman with the musicals for as long as she has been teaching here. Mrs. Cassel is leaving next year and will be replaced with a new teacher. This could cause problems, but it probably won’t because this has happened before.

Mrs. Longman said, “I have worked with four different music directors and I think some people don’t realize this.” She was involved in interviews for the new director and is excited to work with him. She said, ” never have we had a transition to a new director and just completely crashed a burned, so while thing may feel different we are both committed to the show.

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