Oklahoma!:Behind-the-scenes of the school production


The school production of Oklahoma! ran for three days.

Michelle Chong, Features Editor

Noise and chatter slowly wanes as the lights dim and the curtains are shut. Hushed voices chatter quietly as the audience waits for the performance to start.  But this is not really the beginning, but rather the final stretches of the journey: a journey to the end of the production cycle of Oklahoma!, the Fine Arts Department’s latest production.

The beginning starts with auditions for the appropriate cast, long after-school rehearsals and hours of work designing the set as well as setting up the appropriate lighting and sound for the play. 

The school production “Oklahoma!” ran from Feb. 2-4. The play documents the journey of a cowboy, Curly, who falls in love with a farm girl, Laurey, but must overcome the villainous Jud, the sinister farmhand for Laurey.

“I feel like [the musical] is about love and revenge and there is that dark character, Jud, that tries to break people apart,” sophomore and sound technician Ana Villagran said. “He is not really a bad person, so I can say that he is my favorite character. I just like how there is different stories going on at the same time and they all come together at the end and it is a really good show and the music is awesome.”

Auditions for the musical began in November of last year. From there, rehearsals began and the crew started to design the set for the stage. Members of the orchestra and band provided the music to accompany for all the performances.

According to senior Victoria Nation, who plays Aunt Eller, the audition process was intense and lasted a week in order to decide on the cast.

 “After many long deliberations the directors decide the cast list and post it on the call board,” Nation said. “Rehearsals begin the next day and we begin to learn the blocking of our scenes, lines, and dances. There is also a lot of behind-the-scenes work that goes on as well, like set, costumes, makeup, props, publicity, and lights and sound crew. It is a large collaborative process.”

During the long hours of rehearsing, all the  members of the production supported one another.

“It was often very stressful because I personally, have a very large work load,” Nation said. “For the most part though, everyone was very supportive of each other, including the directors, which was very helpful.”

According to Villagran, a first-time crew member, the effort involved in her work was  challenging but rewarding. For the sound crew, actors wore microphones while performing on stage in order to project their voices over the music.

“[In sound], specifically we monitor all the receivers and microphones and from those receivers we control the volumes depending on the songs,” Villagran said. “We need to be aware of all the changes with all the voices and all of that, and make sure the sound is as high quality as we can get it to be.”

The orchestra and band collaborated in order to provide the background music needed for the musical.

“The music wasn’t too hard to learn, and the rehearsals were always so much fun,” junior  and clarinet player Leslie Penick  said. “Although sometimes it meant staying up late to get homework done, it was really exciting being a part of it and getting to see how everything in theatre works. It was such a great experience.”

The cast and crew of Oklahoma! is made up of students from different extra-curricular activities with different schedules. According to junior Braden Baumbach, who was part of the chorus, rehearsing for the musical was often difficult, due to conflicting schedules of everyone involved.

“…We have [to run] everything out of order, go back to the beginning  [to] piece everything together and make it look nice,” Baumbach said.

In a way, the process of the production is quite similar to the story of the play; different parts of the student body come together to produce a play just as different plotlines come together to produce a story.

 “It takes a lot of blood, sweat and tears to finally synchronize our choreography with the orchestra, get our scene changes down to their fastest possible time and get all the lights and sound working smoothly,” Baumbach said. “But when we do, and we see how great our final product has become, it all becomes worth it.”

According to Baumbach, he would like to thank the play technology crew for their strong work ethic. After its first run, the musical was well-received by the audience.

“It has been a wonderful experience, and I would definitely do it again if I could,” Nation said.