Musical preparation worth the work


Megan Breneman

Cast members take their final bows to the Monday night performance.

Keely Valdez and Lydia Flores

If one were to ask musical director and choir teacher, Mrs. Tarrant to describe “Once on This Island,” in just three words, she would say it is “heart-wrenching ,exciting, and tender.”  Running from November 6th to November 14th, this musical entertains audience members with its Caribbean feel and Haitian-style story. Until opening night, however, the Theater Department and others are working endlessly to prepare for their upcoming performances. They are taking whatever measures necessary to make this musical a “must-see show.”

A typical night of play practice lasts from the end of school to 5:30 in the evening. During this time, approximately 80 cast members sing their hearts out, act their hardest, and dance until their feet are worn. They are completely worn of their emotions, but return the very next day to do it all again.

High school senior, Mickey Roundtree plays the lead role of Andrea Deveraux and joins the cast for her fourth musical experience. Despite sometimes chaotic practices, she said what makes it all worth it is, “when the lights go up on show night and you perform everything to the finest you can. [It’s] when you do your best and you really feel like this entire piece by piece thing that you’ve been doing comes together.”

“Once on This Island” is also unique because a majority of the cast is composed of ensemble members. Though they may not have any lines, these cast members are dedicated to telling the story in a way that leaves the audience with emotions they probably never imagined they would get from a production. This show tugs on the heart-strings and audience members will be able to connect emotionally almost instantly. This show brings a lot of sentiment and makes almost everyone want to see it a second time because of the language characters are using and the way the actors are working hard for it to touch the audience.  

Being in the ensemble is a tough job. Much like the principle characters, they have to put the same amount of effort or more to make the show more emotionally appealing. A few members of the ensemble could say that their experience with this show is unlike any other. The members are being a family through dance and the music.

Taylor Pahl, a sophomore, said the musical has allowed him to meet new people and have fun at the same time. “You can express your feelings onstage without having anybody judge you,” he said.

The musical numbers in the show help to broadcast any or all emotion to the audience. The dance numbers are important as well because they help with the entertainment and this shows dance numbers are exotic and are exhilarating. They bring the most life to the show.  

Behind the scenes, a small army of students endeavor to perfect the technical details of the show. One such student, high school junior, Emily Wright, joins fellow classmate, Miranda Prows, to create the costumes of “Once on This Island.”

Acting in Aida the previous year, Wright possesses an interesting perspective between being on stage and being in the wings. She said, “Being in Aida, I didn’t quite realize how much work went into getting costumes. Being the person who is actually doing the costumes, I see that it takes a lot of hard work and there’s a lot of little techniques and details that I have to follow.”

“It’s a surprise type of musical, it’s not your typical musical that people would think. It’s ending up being one of my favorites that we’ve ever done here at Taylorsville,” said Mrs. Tarrant.  

If students wish to attend they may purchase tickets at the bookstore or tickets may be obtained from any cast member. Taylor Pahl said, “It’s really fun to watch and it should be a hit.”