By Grace Walters
Winter is among us, meaning students and staff are in the throes of preparing for the 2018 spring musical, Me and My Girl.
Set in the 1930s, Me and My Girl pertains to the life of a character named Bill Snibson, a cockney man who unexpectedly learns that he is the 14th heir to Earl of Hareford. The musical was written by playwrights Douglas Furber and L. Arthur Rose and composed by Noel Gay. There is something for everybody in Me and My Girl; it incorporates a blend of romance and comedy while appealing to people’s musical appetites.
The AHS spring musical is jointly produced by Meagan Bessette, Madalyn Kitchen, and Michael Byrne. As the chief producer, Meagan Bessette is in charge of ordering the rights, scripts, and music scores. In addition, she coordinates the public committee and the stage managers and organizes sponsorships.
Madalyn Kitchen mainly produces the musical aspects of the production. She explains that her job consists of “working with soloists, company numbers, pitch accuracy, acting, staging, […] as well as delivery.”
Michael Byrne oversees the theatrics of the production; he manages sets, costumes, acting, choreography, staging, lighting, and more.
Auditions for the musical were held during the first two weeks of December, and the full cast list was posted on Thursday, December 20, 2018. Audition sign-up sheets are posted on the bulletin board outside of the drama room the week before the auditions. The first round of auditions consists of three parts: singing, acting and dancing respectively. Students are required to select a song and a monologue to perform in front of a panel of judges consisting of Michael Byrne, Madalyn Kitchen. Meagan Bessette, and the stage managers.
Most students put a lot of thought into their monologue and song choice. Senior Ben Horsburgh, who has been involved in every AHS musical since his freshman year, says he did some research prior to his audition; he found the character who he wanted to audition for, which was Bill Snibson, and explored websites such as StageAgent which have plot synopses and character overviews. “I found that [Bill Snibson] is quite a witty guy and a bit of a slob. I took those adjectives and then looked for comedic male monologues […] then I just put a cockney accent over it” says Horsburgh.
The dancing audition is similar to the singing and acting auditions. However, rather than performing privately, students must collectively report to the Lowe auditorium where they are put into groups of four and taught a choreographed routine. They then must perform the dance with their group on stage in front of the same panel of judges, as well as the rest of the auditioners.
Freshman Dylan Scopetski, who has been participating in musical theatre ever since his first production in sixth grade at the Ottoson Middle School, says he “never felt nervous” before his audition “because it was pretty chill and everything was really well-organized and I came into it feeling really prepared.” However, some students have different experiences. Senior Henry Walters says, “Before your audition, it kind of feels like someone tied a string to your heart and added bricks to the other end, one for each minute as the clock ticks by closer to your audition.”
After the first round of auditions is over, callback auditions are held the following week.
“We usually need to hold callbacks for some of the principal characters just to narrow down who would be the best fit,” says Madalyn Kitchen. “What we tell students is ‘We have a problem of who will be cast in the show and you are showing us how you can be the solution to that problem. Be the solution.”
The full cast list was posted shortly after the first and second round of auditions. Most, if not all of the auditioners are contributing to the musical in some way. “We want our students to do well and we try to include as many as we can,” says Kitchen. “Even if they are not cast, many of them remain involved by helping with publicity, set building, painting, stage managing, and more.”