The theatre department at Jones College held a three-day weekend production of Disney’s “High School Musical” from April 8 to April 10.
According to Dr. Jennifer Bruton, the musical theatre instructor at Jones, musicals allow students to get involved in an activity as part of their education. The show also surrounds them with a group of students that they get to know, which helps them create special bonds.
Overseeing a musical can be incredibly stressful and multifaceted because it involves many aspects, including selecting the musical, applying for performance rights, executing a contract, and production aspects, from costume design to choosing sets and lighting.
“Producers are the ones who make the decisions and hire the team that creates a production,” Bruton said. “However, here at Jones, I am the only faculty member who teaches musical theatre, so I’m responsible in a hands-on way with making sure everything gets done. Fortunately, the Assistant Dean in our area, Bruce Smith, and our administrative assistant, Paula Harrison, do a lot to help me. Producing a musical is a lot like producing a movie, but it’s all done at once and live!”
Student Mya McLain, who played Taylor McKessie, said, “Preparing for the musical was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done. It took up most of my time, strained my relationships, and used up energy used for classes. I sang songs until I was hoarse and practiced the choreography until I was sore and practiced my lines until my roommates could repeat them back to me.”
Despite the challenges, McLain said she has made lifelong friends with her castmates, and her life has been so much better with them in it.
Bruton said, “The best part of producing the musical was the end result as well as watching the students grow and learn something new.”
Over 30 students were involved in the production, both as crew and cast members who rehearsed three to four days a week in addition to the normal MWF class time. Musicals often require over 200 hours of rehearsal time.
by Erin Fairchild