When the curtains open on opening night, McNicholas’ annual musical will be at a new venue and during a different season. McNicholas students will perform Damn Yankees on Jan. 22-25 at The Anderson Center. Director Teresa De Zarn believes that there are many reasons why the musical had to be moved. “We were dictated by availability. We had to think outside the box and think of a place where we could have the musical since we couldn’t find an available time to perform the musical in the gym. So we decided to flip the winter play and spring musical and relocate the musical to The Anderson Center.”
Last school year, the State Thespian Conference took place just a few weeks before the musical. However, students will not have to worry about the musical and conference conflicting since the State Thespian Conference will take place in March. “When we did it in the spring, there were some conflicts regarding rehearsing for the musical along with rehearsing individual event’s and the shows that we took to the Thespian State Conference,” said senior actor Max Bartel. “I think that we will be able to prepare a lot more and focus more on the one thing rather than having two main tasks at hand.”
Moving the musical to The Anderson Center and moving the performance times to January brings many new opportunities for the theatre program at McNicholas. Junior Thespian Mitchell Hartwell said, “The Anderson Center looks and feels more professional than the gym does. It shouldn’t be much an issue for us to adjust to the new space because it is all part of being actors and actresses.” The Anderson Center has state of the art audio, visual, and lighting systems and contains comfortable seats for 223 audience members. In years past, McNicholas held its musicals in the school gym and had to rent lighting and sound effects. “Even though it ruins the tradition, I like the idea of not having to turn a gym into a theater,” De Zarn said.
However, the changes to the musical also bring many new challenges to the cast and crew. The Anderson Center is three miles away from McNicholas High School. This means that the theatre program will have to transport sets and costumes and students will have to commute to Anderson in order to rehearse in the weeks leading up to the musical. De Zarn said, “It brings its own set of new realities. We will have to get use to performing in a different venue and working with new lights and new sound system.” The musical always bring conflicts with studying habits and other events. Having the musical in January doesn’t solve any issues for student life outside of school. “One thing I don’t like about the musical being in January is how busy this time of year gets, especially with the seniors applying to colleges. A lot of our Christmas break will be filled with rehearsals. I also liked how the musical would end the school year with a ‘bang,’ the musical being the biggest of our productions,” said senior actress Allie O’ Keefe.
If the cast and crew of Damn Yankees wants the musical to be a “home run,” they will have to adjust to the changes and embrace the new opportunities “We hope to have good support for the musical. Damn Yankees is a great musical, especially for people who enjoy baseball. I want to encourage everyone to audition and work on the crew because we will definitely need the support.” Auditions for the musical will take place in October and students should pay attention to their email and announcements for more information on the auditions.