SANDPOINT – Backstage in the greenroom, the pace is frantic. Actors and costumers speak in hushed tones about these shoes or that jacket.
On stage, performers are running through lines and completing their marks. The orchestra changes its pacing to accommodate the vocalists.
The overly loud whisper of a member of the stage crew is heard repeatedly shushing the cast behind the scenes.
It’s dress rehearsal for the spring musical, “Singin’ in the Rain,” and the cast and crew of the Sandpoint High School Mime and Masque drama group are hard at it in preparation for shows this week and next.
From the moment of selecting a play until just days from opening night, each student has put in more than 150 hours to bring the show to life.
When asked why she dedicates so much time to performing theater, sophomore Jessica Hillenbrand said, “I don’t want to lie: I wouldn’t be happy doing anything else.”
“Singin’ in the Rain” is directed by drama teacher Jeannie Hunter, but every aspect of the play – from choreography to set design, lights to sound – is handled by students. Thirty-three people make up the cast, supported by 75 others behind the scenes.
The play is technically challenging.
Senior and student choreographer Steve Teran had to learn to tap dance, then teach the rest of the cast. Sophomore David Meadows designed and built a rain machine. More than 100 costumes have been made, collected or modified by the lead costumer, senior Karli Garner-Smith, working with Hunter and other students.
The orchestra is composed of members of the Sandpoint High School band and adults from the area. The upbeat and sometimes zany music is directed by Aaron Gordon. Singers were trained by Jon Brownell.
“Singin’ in the Rain” is a lighthearted love story. Actor Don Lockwood (senior Chris Comstock) has a publicity-staged romance with his leading lady, silent-film star Lina Lamont (Hillenbrand). This false romance creates quite a problem when Lockwood meets out-of-work stage actress Kathy Seldon, played by junior Alexa Mortenson.
Seldon is Lockwood’s biggest fan, and her feisty nature has stolen his heart. But Lamont isn’t about to give up her future in pictures over something as trivial as a real romance.
Many of the students say they want to write, direct and act.
“For five minutes or however long you are on stage, you’re in a different world,” said Mortenson.
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