Inside the Spring Musical
As many readers of The Light may know, this spring SUA is putting on the musical Mamma Mia! (music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus with some songs with Stig Anderson; book by Catherine Johnson; originally conceived by Judy Craymer). To take a closer look at what all goes into putting together a musical, I interviewed Ms. Hinkel, the director, Alex Serger '22, one of the leads, and Julia Koch '24 and Sam DeKors '24, two members of the crew.
What inspired you to choose Mamma Mia for the spring musical?
When Ms. Jennings, Mr. Dice and the rest of our staff choose a season we look at many different factors. It’s our goal to expose the Saint Ursula Community to as many types of shows as possible over their four year high school career. We consider all types of shows, contemporary pieces, period pieces, Golden Age musicals, concept musicals and more. Additionally, it’s important to us to choose shows that highlight female stories and characters as well as shows that will allow our students' talent to shine on and off the stage all while still giving them material that will challenge them to learn and achieve something new.
What has been the most challenging part of directing this musical?
The most challenging part of directing this particular musical had to be balancing the schedule. While it doesn’t have as many scenes as this past fall’s production of Puffs (which clocked in at 47 scenes) it is chock full of songs, dances and scenes that all need an adequate time to develop, learn and polish. With a musical that means time to learn and rehearse music, time teaching choreography and dances as well as the staging of the spoken lines. That meant we had to organize equal time for three to four adults to work with actors. All while also ensuring the crew has enough time to try on costumes with actors and show them the props they’ll be holding, design the lighting and more.
What has been the most rewarding part of directing this musical?
I think the most rewarding part of directing this show has been watching the students work so hard to perfect an aspect of the show. It could be the smallest thing onstage or off but the attention and care they’ve been showing to the show has been heartwarming. As each scene gets sharper and cleaner it’s rewarding to watch their hard work pay off and to watch as they try new things and adapt in the face of roadblocks.
What is your favorite scene in this musical?
That’s a tough question. It changes frequently, I’m always noticing something new a student is adding on stage which is so fun! I’d say right now I really enjoy what Momo Greenwell ‘23 and Fiona Mack ‘22 are doing with the scene and song “Slipping through my Fingers”. That or the whole cast’s work on the finale sequence. I don’t want to give anything away but it’s going to be spectacular.
Are you nervous for opening night?
We’ll definitely be prepared for Opening Night and ready to share the show with an audience. However, I tell the students all the time that if you’re not a little nervous for a performance in class or otherwise, I’d be a bit worried! So that applies to me too. It’s our first full musical (with live musicians, full set and all the bells and whistles) back since the fall off 2019 so that’s definitely a big hurdle to accomplish but we’ll be ready and there to support one another.
Alex Serger ‘24
What part do you play in the musical?
I play Rosie Mulligan.
How long have you been interested in theater?
I got into theater during my freshman year.
What is your favorite part about Mama Mia?
I really like the song "Take a Chance on Me."
What is your favorite part about Mama Mia?
I am definitely nervous but I am also very excited.
Julia Koch ‘24 and Sam DeKors ‘24
How long have you been on crew?
Sam: I've been on crew since late freshman year, I was nervous to join but it has to have been one of the best decisions I've made here.
Julia: I have been doing crew at Saint Ursula since the beginning of freshman year in Together We Raise Our Voices; however I really started pursuing my interest in it in 7th grade.
What are your specific roles within the crew?
Sam: My role in the crew is stage manager, which means I work closely with directors and do things like make sure the other crews are on track and to help actors with anything they may need before and during shows.
Julia: I'm on the lighting crew!
What is the most challenging part or crew?
Sam: The most challenging part of being on crew for me is keeping all of my interests level. There's so much that I like to do and balancing swim practices and also coming to theatre when I'm needed proves difficult.
Julia: The most challenging part is really time management, as half of the things we do (writing cues and focusing lights) take a long time and are difficult to do while other people are using the stage. This leaves us coming in rather frequently over the weekends.
Is crew a fun hobby or something you would like to pursue as a potential career?
Sam: Currently, I'm not sure. With all that I love to do, I'm always thinking about what I want to do in the future but I haven't fully committed yet to anything, I do think it would be fun though.
Julia: Crew is very fun and it would be amazing if I could do it as a full time job. Professional theatre is a very friendly environment that brings together so many people's artistic talents.
The show will premiere on April 7- 10, and tickets can be purchased throughout the week!