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Take a trip on the wild side with: Madagascar the musical

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Major Copeland & Jordyn Seamans, Writer

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The theatre department is turning into wildlife for this year’s first fall production of Madagascar: A Musical Adventure. The musical has many intricate sets and props that the crew members built from scratch with little help from their teacher. The director and head of the theatre department, Maeghan Bishop, is a fan of this production and wanted to try something different.

“I chose this musical because I wanted to produce a show that is geared toward younger audiences (children and families), and because the movie is popular and the characters are so much fun,” Bishop said.

I chose this musical because I wanted to produce a show that is geared toward younger audiences (children and families), and because the movie is popular and the characters are so much fun”

— Meaghan Bishop

In any large production there are major details that go unnoticed during the show. Many of the off-stage crew members contribute a vast amount to the plays as well but are not seen by the audience.
The stage manager, Jaymee Higginbotham, takes care of all the small details that most people look over. Higginbotham is a junior and has been in tech theatre for two and a half years, but did not become stage manager until her sophomore year.

“I joined a club called Pawstars in sixth grade which got me into being behind the scenes,” Higginbotham said.

Another main component of the show is sound and light. Junior Evan Hausthor, the sound designer, has been in Advanced Tech Theatre since his sophomore year. He has learned more about sound effects and plans to put his talents to work for the play.

Because of the diverse sets in this production such as the zoo, Antarctica, and Madagascar itself, there will be many colorful lights, ranging from warm to cool toned colors. Rob Owens, the technical director, is in charge of making sure everything is perfect for the show.

Owens has been at Washburn Rural High School for 20 years, and has been technical director for 18 of them. He started in the professional industry, but then decided he wanted to teach the art of theatre to students. Some think the productions are just put on by teachers but that is not necessarily the case.

“Students are always put into leadership positions. We always have student stage managers and assistant stage managers,” Owens said. “Lights are usually designed by a student as well as sound and props.”

Most of the props they use are created beforehand during the advanced tech theatre classes.

“The Theatre III Advanced Stagecraft classes make up the core of each different crew,” Owens said.

The Play is like any other after school activity. Rehearsals for Madagascar last as long as regular sports: 3:15 – 5:30. Even though the cast and stage managers meet every day they still have to fight some obstacles including time.

“[They are] preparing this in 2/3 the amount of time we usually have for a production,” Bishop said.

That is not the only challenging aspect they face. In the original Madagascar: A Musical Adventure, the musical score was only written for piano, but in the school production it will include the pit orchestra. That will consist of six students playing a range of instruments including percussion, guitar, bass, trumpet, and saxophone. Marla Wiens, the piano accompanist, will help the students compose, and perform the songs. Everyone put in maximum effort to make this play a success.

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Take a trip on the wild side with: Madagascar the musical