The theatre program comes alive once again as they prepare for their upcoming musical “Young Frankenstein,” set to debut on Feb. 12. Set in 1934, “Young Frankenstein” depicts the story of Frederick Frankenstein (senior Ian Gibson), the grandson of the infamous Dr. Victor von Frankenstein (senior Ali Yuceer), the creator of the monster bearing the same name. After learning that he has inherited his grandfather’s castle, Frederick sets out for Transylvania where he begins to repeat the steps of his late ancestor. While it might look effortless to pull off a musical like this from the audience’s perspective, the amount of preparation needed behind the scenes can be extraordinary.
“Performing a musical like ‘Young Frankenstein’ brings a whole new level of complexity that takes a lot more time to prepare for,” junior Matthew Cheung (Igor) said.
For the cast, preparations began in November when they received not only the script, but the music for the over 20 songs sung throughout the musical. Rehearsals then started in December, when the cast worked with vocal teachers Zach and Keiko Halop, dance director Judy Scialpi and theatre director Danyelle Bossardet.
However, what sets the musical apart from the fall and spring plays is the presence of the pit orchestra. Led by music director Ben Case, the pit orchestra adjusts to the styles of music through varied instrumentation. Due to limited space in the pit area below the stage, the orchestra contains only a fraction of the number of musicians an orchestra normally has, with many who are able to play multiple instruments. The orchestra plays a crucial role in the performance, dictating and reacting to the character’s actions on stage with their musical cues.
“Pit is like a character in the play itself,” Case said. “If we slow down the music, we slow the actors on stage as well.”
Each aspect of the play is rehearsed independently from the others, with each scene then pieced together layer by layer. For example, a song could be choreographed before the song is well-rehearsed or the scene can be blocked before the choreography is created. Whichever way the scenes are layered, notes and edits are made during the rehearsal, like the edit of a line or an action needed to be performed.
“Before every rehearsal, the directors meet together and clarify every change or edit made in the previous rehearsal,” junior Skylar Wilk said. “This way, any edits are communicated with all the other directors so no time is wasted.”
Tickets are currently on sale for the showings of “Young Frankenstein” from Feb.12-18, and are available to purchase online at nhsirv.booktix.com.