Following the success of Peter and the Starcatcher, the theater department now sets its sights to prepare for this year’s spring musical, Something Rotten! As student actors study the script and master the blocking, Haverford’s community eagerly waits for another dazzling performance.
Like Peter and the Starcatcher, Director Mr. Darren Hengst chose Something Rotten! for its comedic moments.
“After a year like last year when there were no mainstage productions, I wanted to do a season of all comedies and feel-good plays, and Something Rotten! fits that role perfectly,” said Mr. Hengst. “To put it bluntly, the musical is hysterical.”
Despite being a comedy, the story has a message many can relate to.
“[The musical] takes place in the Renaissance, and it is about William Shakespeare and his rival, a fictional character, called Nick Bottom,” Mr. Hengst said. “It’s a wonderful story about staying true to yourself.”
In the last two weeks [of preparations], we’re called every night, and the last week is called ‘tech week,’ where we run a dress rehearsal every nightColin Kelly ’23
Musicals require additional planning because they involve many complicated parts, such as singing and dancing. As a result, rehearsals are becoming more frequent and structured as opening night approaches.
“Rehearsals are generally on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., as well as Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.,” Fifth Form lead actor Julian Caesar said. “They are separated into three categories: music, choreography, and staging.”
Despite the already demanding schedule, rehearsals will only grow in intensity as actors become more familiar with the material.
“Rehearsals will steadily become more intense, and we’ll start to have rehearsals where we just run an entire Act,” Fifth Form actor Colin Kelly said.
Kelly also notes that, as the final weeks of preparation approach, actors will rehearse nearly every day.
“In the last two weeks [of preparations], we’re called every night, and the last week is called ‘tech week,’ where we run a dress rehearsal every night,” said Kelly. “The last Sunday before the show is an eight-hour sitzprobe, from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., where the orchestra learns to time their music with the actors.”
The cast consists of not only Haverford students, but many students from nearby schools. With a large number of people on stage, certain aspects of rehearsal become slightly more complicated.
“In terms of staging, the difficulty is somewhat higher as there are way more people in the musical compared to the play,” Caesar said.
It’s surprising how we are almost halfway done; it felt like we started yesterday.Julian Caesar ’23
Additionally, specific musical elements also add difficulty to a typical rehearsal.
“Singing and dancing make every musical rehearsal a notch more intense because there are just so many more moving parts than there are in regular scenes. We need to coordinate with everyone else to make it seem as elegant as possible.” Kelly said.
Despite the difficulties, preparations have been fruitful and effective.
“So far, I think everything is going well,” Caesar said. “It’s surprising how we are almost halfway done; it felt like we started yesterday.”
Kelly shares a similar opinion.
“To my knowledge, all the leads have already memorized most of their lines, and the songs are also coming along very well.” Kelly said.
The musical is progressing smoothly, and there is no doubt that the cast and stage crew members will produce another excellent show.
“Come see the musical on March 11, 12, and 13,” Caesar said. “Everyone is working really hard to make this musical the best it can be.”