Crew of Xanadu

The different jobs and projects involved in making the spring musical

by Ella Sulwer, Social Media Manager


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The spring musical Xanadu takes place this week, on March 12, 13, and 14. As opening night approaches, the cast and crew are mixing the worlds of lighting, acting, and costumes for the first time. Even though the actors and actresses are who the audience see up on stage, there couldn’t be a show without people to paint the set, direct the actors, and set everything up. People who look a little closer see how detailed things actually are and what happens behind the scenes.

“We had great run-throughs this weekend,” Director Courtney Gibson said, “we were adding in all the elements and it’s going well. I couldn’t ask for a better time going into tech week.”

To capture the atmosphere of the show, the crew had to channel several prominent themes and color schemes. Xanadu takes place in both a mythological Grecian world and 1980’s Venice Beach, California. This led to many imaginative and bright set pieces.

“I did a lot of the more creative projects for the set,” sophomore Cheyenne Hayes said, “like I made the pegasus.. the telephone booth sign and the chair. There is this really cool lightning bolt chair that I got to cut up and work with.”

The set, a crucial part of any musical, takes a lot of consideration and effort to convey the essence of the show and those working on it put in their own touch through hard work and dedication. 

“There are only like around two people on the creative side of set,” Hayes said, “so we had like two set builds and Ms. Gibson called aside two artists to work on stuff and it was a lot of work, but it was worth it cause it looks cool.”

Aside from the actual set pieces, there’s the scrim, a type of fabric behind the set used to inspire different moods through the color lighting projected on it. 

“The set is kind of like different shades of beiges and browns and earthy colors,” Gibson said. “Then we have a lighting design that changes the scrim on the back wall to hot pinks and oranges then even blues for flashback scenes and things like that.” 

You couldn’t have a show like Xanadu without 80’s and Greek inspired costumes. While the set is important, costumes have to give off the same design or time through texture, color, and style. 

“So we have Grecian costumes that are also kind of 80’s that are all pastels, chiffons, rhinestones and trims with Greek elements,” Gibson said, “and then we have real world people which there are only like two in the cast that are real world all the time.”

Along with the elements of the tech and crew, there are people who don’t necessarily make something, but are helping backstage or will be getting everything ready to go for each performance. There are so many roles that go into one show- like Xanadu- and getting everything all organized is key. 

“I’m actually called the props mistress or the head of props,” freshman Emily Holtgrewe said. “I just have all the props at my table and organize everything and if we need to preset anything in a specific place I do that too.” 

Similar to Holtgrewe’s props-related job, the stage crew are the ones keeping everything organized and functioning during an actual performance. This is the crew’s first week of being fully incorporated into the show itself through tech week, and they are getting excited and preparing for Thursday. 

“With stage crew, it would normally be moving things on and off stage and making sure props get to the people who need them,” sophomore Cassidy Blanke said, “but for a lot of the show, actors do that themselves so we just make sure everything is where it should be.” 

While it still is just the beginning of tech week, a lot is happening and the cast and crew are working to make it the best they possibly can, even through the bit of chaos as everything is coming together. 

“Right now it’s kind of crazy,” Holtgrewe said, “but by the end of the week I think we will be pretty good.”