The curtain rises on the fall musical

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Zachary Russell, Asst. Editor

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Your name is called and it is time for the audition. Shaking, you walk up, introduce yourself to the panel of directors, nod your head, and begin. You hear the first notes of the audition song, and in a flash, it’s over. The applause behind you muffles your thoughts and you sit back down, adrenaline rushing from your head all the way to your toes.

In the first week of school, 49 Milford students took on that challenge for the fall musical, Curtains. This musical mystery comedy follows a theatre group that is trying to make it big on Broadway. Suddenly, during the opening night of the performance, the star of the show, Jessica Cranshaw, is pronounced dead after bows. Following Lieutenant Frank Cioffi, detective and musical theatre aficionado, the audience is taken through an array of murders, rehearsal numbers, and love. This show captures the hard work and dedication of the entire cast.

On Broadway, Curtains opened on March 22, 2007 and ran for 511 performances before closing on June 29, 2008.

It can be quite overwhelming coming into the theatre program.

In the audition, you have to associate movements with songs—stylistic choices that can set a student apart from others. Specifically, freshman Tim Dawe

Zachary Russell
(Top left to right) Samantha McKay, Catharine Dittrick, Anna Lehrer, Miles Morris, Olivia Hubbell, (Bottom left to right) Rebekah Schwendenmann, Allison Smith, Sarah Nelson, and Olivia Berryman with their Curtains scripts.

mentions how “coming up with the movement in the audition was the toughest part. I had to constantly tell myself to add character, but overall I really enjoyed doing it.” Dawe, who was cast in the ensemble,  was the only freshman boy to audition for this production. He later said, “I am really looking forward to hanging out with everyone. It’ll be fun getting to know people of all classes.”

As a freshman, it can be difficult to adjust to high school, let alone audition in front of an intimidating group of students. Common questions during the audition include: Will I mess up? Will I be good enough? Freshman year is the time when new members can find their spot at Milford, and it takes a great amount of courage to audition for a high school show. A strong group of seven, the freshmen class is incredibly promising in their first high school production.

When committing to a show like this, sophomore Ryan Cleasby mentioned, “It takes serious memorization. You have to be willing to put in the effort and time, but it will pay off in the end.” Cleasby will play Oscar Shapiro in the upcoming production.

Whether it be acting, singing, or dancing, the members of Milford Theatre Company work night and day for their shows.

“It’s fun. I love the feeling of opening night where the audience can see what we have been preparing for months,” said Nathan Hubbell, sophomore, cast a

s Detective O’Farrell and ensemble.

The juniors have gained

more experience in performing throughout high school. It can be  discouraging to not be cast in productions, but Brianna Martin said that, “you have to go for whatever you want. You have to envision a character that resonates in your own character; if you don’t have the motivation to be cast, then your audition will suffer.”

Zachary Russell
Left to right: Stage Managers Faith Weickel and Allysa Decato, Director Megan Weeks, Miles Morris (Lt. Frank Cioffi), Rebekah Schwendenmann (Niki Harris), and Sean Hanlon (Daryl Grady) going through the staging of the production.

Competition is fierce, and it is important to make light out of the situation and don’t meddle around with self-deprecating feelings. Martin can be seen in the ensemble for the show. After three long years, the class of 2019 attacks Curtains with full force. Some students, such as Sarah Nelson, senior, who was cast as lyricist and leading lady Georgia Hendricks, have been performing with Milford Theatre Company from the beginning of their freshman year. Curtains will make Nelson’s 15th show, and she’s eager to perform.

“Taking the position as a lead role is an honor. I have always looked up to the juniors and seniors when I was a freshman and sophomore, but now it is interesting to see myself in their position.” After going through high school theatre, Nelson later talked about the difficulties that went into the musical.

“Finding a healthy balance in your life is difficult. You have homework from the day, your script and blocking and your social life in the midst of the lengthy rehearsals. It is hard to find that balance, but once you find it, you can really start enjoying the show.”

Other seniors are in their first high school production. It is never too late to audition, and that is exactly what Allison Smith was thinking when walking into it. For senior year, students have a different mentality. This may be their only chance to get up on that stage, and Smith decided to capture this moment.

“You just have to give it a try—you’ll never have an opportunity like this again,” said Smith, a part of the ensemble.

Throughout the school year, Milford Theatre Company is constantly working hours upon end to put on an incredible production. However, many students believe

the arts at Milford High School are discredited and this production  is an opportunity where the student body can see the hard work that the students have put in.

Zachary Russell
Milford Students rehearsing “Thataway!” in the CPA. It is a big chorus number of the show within the show.

Smith, involved in basketball and softball, explained, “We need to be reciprocated. There is so much support for the sports at our school, but it is hard to get people to come see the show. We are all doing incredible things, and it would be nice if the arts had more of a presence in the student body.”

Out of all the student success achieved through the opening weeks of the production, members of the show have made the steps toward atmospheric and leadership changes. 10 members of the program went to the Michigan Educational Thespian Association in August to discuss what needs to change in terms of leadership for the upcoming year.

They have all seen good and poor examples of leadership; their goal is to make sure that they create an environment where all people are welcomed while maintaining a professional attitude.  The intention of leadership is to establish influence—not superiority. In a close-knit group, collaborative leadership is necessary from all classes.

“It’s great when the students recognize that they want a peer environment better from within, allowing them to advocate for each other,” said director Megan Weeks. “We have a show that is relatively unknown and I love seeing it grow into something bigger—we’ll all love the final product that we put out there.”

With an established leadership team, Curtains is sure to be a huge Milford smash. Show dates are Nov. 16 at 7 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 1 and 7 p.m. in the CPA. Tickets can be purchased online at mhsperformingarts.com for $11 as well as at the door on show dates for $12 each. Students have the opportunity to purchase discounted tickets in the student section of the CPA for $10. There is not a bad seat in the theater, capturing the show at all angles.

“The show is very funny and very entertaining; although the title is unknown, it doesn’t mean that you won’t love it as an audience member. It has something for everyone,” said Weeks.


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