Today, this paper will talk about the more technical side of musicals, such as the directing, the acting, and the work done to prepare musicals for performances. The SHSU Department of Theater and Musical Theater is performing Sweeney Todd and The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. This play takes place in the Showcase theater located in the University Theater Center; performances will be shown from April 27th to April 29th. This musical will be free for all students and will cost $15 for non-students and faculty.
The first technical side that’s going to be discussed will involve the directing side of the show, which was conducted by the director, Penelope Hasekoester. Ms. Hasekoester is an Associate Dean and a professor for the acting department of Sam Houston. She is in charge of the show as the director and has helped make the musical possible. When asked what was her favorite experience working in Sweeney Todd, she stated, “It’s a very difficult script to work on, because you have some very stereotypical characters that really aren’t so stereotypical; they are much deeper and much more involved, so working with the actors has been extremely exciting, as has working as a creative team with the actors.” Ms. Hasekoester is in charge of several things, such as the casting of the show, auditions, rehearsals, and meeting with actors and actresses to discuss their characters in depth.
Directing is just a portion of the work required to make a musical; other common departments include the actors, the costume crew, the set crew, the lighting crew, sound design, light design, the painting crew, and so on. Some musicals will also require the assistance of a choreographer since they often contain an abundance of dancing.
As the name implies, musicals involve a lot of music, and one person working on Sweeney Todd is the musical director, Keith LaLonde. Mr. Lalonde is in charge of the musical side of the musical, as he helps the actors and actresses in their musical scenes. Mr. LaLonde has four years of musical directing experience and many more as a choir teacher since he’s a piano accompanist for Sam Houston. When Mr. Lalonde was asked how many musical rehearsals everyone had compared to the acting rehearsals, he commented, “Normally I would have a lot less, but for this show it was almost the same honestly; the beginning of the process was very music-dominated, for three or maybe four weeks.”
As previously mentioned, musicals involve a lot of crews who do numerous jobs, and one such person is Carley Strauser. Ms. Strauser is a theater major student at Sam Houston, and she is working on the costume running crew at Sweeney Todd. When asked what a costume runner does, she stated, “I am on the costume run crew, which means I help with quick changes, I help with any change that needs to happen in the course of the show, and I help the actors get prepared for the next scene.”